Home > business, community development, landlord/tenant, Real Estate, Uncategorized > A Lawyer’s Perspective: the Tension Between Encouraging Real Estate Entrepreneurship and Keeping Families in Affordable Housing.

A Lawyer’s Perspective: the Tension Between Encouraging Real Estate Entrepreneurship and Keeping Families in Affordable Housing.

2017-09-14 15.04.09If you are reading this, you may know that I am a lawyer.  I love working with entrepreneurs – a large number of my clients invest in/manage real estate.

As the current Chairman of the Board of Mel Trotter Ministries, I also care very deeply about the homeless, hurting, and hungry.


I was in court recently on behalf of an investor client. The client purchased real estate at foreclosure sale, redemption period had come and expired months ago, and I was filing suit to terminate any “possessory rights” of anyone occupying the Property.

In this specific case someone was residing at the Property, without any lawful claim, not paying any money to stay there, for months/years. My client needed immediate possession of the Property to begin work to bring the Property in good condition, to ultimately rent to a willing tenant.

I read this article from the ABAJournal:

Couple must sue to evict stranger who moved into their vacant home

It sounds kind of strange, right? Why would someone need to sue to evict someone who has no business being there in the first place?

This question illuminates  the “flip side” of the housing crisis (not enough affordable housing is causing families to be homeless.)

The flip side:

There are entrepreneurs who revitalize blighted real estate. These entrepreneurs pay money to own property, invest real money into purchasing, renovating, and leasing the property to individuals/families who can afford to pay rent. (Depending on the level of development of the property, some might call this “gentrification”)  There are people living in these homes they cannot afford. So they live there, rent free, until a court orders them to leave. At that point – they are rendered homeless, or struggling to find housing they can afford.

After obtaining a possession judgment for my client – my job ends.   But my “Mel Trotter” hat keeps my mind going…

What becomes of these people? Maybe they end up sleeping in their car. Hopefully they end up receiving help – to meet them where they are at. Places likeMel Trotter Ministries, that will take in families and care for them –  provide them time to get into affordable housing. Since January 1, MTM has put 37 families into permanent homes.   

I see firsthand the tension:

 We should encourage entrepreneurs to revitalize blighted property – we should do everything we can to place families in affordable housing.

There is a tension: and it needs to be embraced.

I get these words of wisdom – to “embrace the tension” we see in our daily lives from a man I admire named Fred Keller – founder and Chair of Cascade Engineering.

For me, the answer isn’t ignoring the tension on complex matters – which is why I am writing this post. I embrace it.


e-mail: Jeshua@dwlawpc.com

Twitter: @JeshuaTLauka



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