Habitat for Humanity is commonly perceived to be a purely altruistic organization that uses volunteer labor to provide free homes to the less fortunate or economically disadvantaged. In reality, the idea that Habitat for Humanity gives away free homes could not be farther from what actually happens. Even the website for Habitat for Humanity of Broward County (“HHBC”) notes that is a myth. Based on its own statement, “Habitat for Humanity offers a homeownership opportunity to families unable to obtain conventional house financing – generally, those whose income is 40 to 80 percent of the area’s median income.” These purportedly affordable mortgage payments are supposed to offer a “hand up, not a hand out” in the form of a mortgage. Specifically in Broward County, it appears that Habitat for Humanity’s idea of a “hand up” to the less economically able is to offer a “homeowner opportunity” in the form of a mortgage with a minimum monthly payment of $950.00, closing costs of about $2,000.00, in addition to the intended homeowner’s contribution of 300 hours of “sweat equity” i.e. free labor to work on their intended home or other Habitat for Humanity homes. The irony in offering a mortgage of $950.00 or more to someone already having financial difficulties is self-evident.
In many cases, homeowners with Habitat for Humanity mortgages are at an even greater disadvantage than homeowners who have a conventional mortgage. The reasons for this are two-fold. Firstly, Habitat for Humanity mortgages may be more restrictive than conventional mortgages in that the mortgage may contain terms and conditions requiring homeowners to waive certain rights that they would otherwise have. Secondly, Habitat for Humanity homeowners are at a further disadvantage as the organization is not regulated by the laws such as RESPA, that offer certain protections for homeowners whose mortgages are being held by the banks. It may also be more difficult to obtain a modification of the mortgage terms if the homeowners fall behind on the mortgage payments.
In the event of a default, Habitat for Humanity can and does foreclose. In 2017, HHBC filed approximately nine (9) foreclosure cases in Broward County. Habitat for Humanity of Citrus County filed approximately seven (7) foreclosure cases in Citrus County, Florida, during the same time period. Once the judgment is obtained, Habitat for Humanity has been known to attach a statutory interest rate of 18%, the highest legal interest rate in Florida.
If you have a mortgage with Habitat for Humanity and are being foreclosed on, we may be able to help. For more information about the FDCPA please visit our website here.
Loan Lawyers has helped over 5,000 South Florida homeowners and consumers with their debt problems. We have saved over 1,800 homes from foreclosure, eliminated $100,000,000 in mortgage principal and consumer debt, and have collected millions of dollars on behalf of our clients due to bank, loan servicer, and debt collector violations, negligence and fraud. Contact us for a free consultation to see how we may be able to help you.