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Locals Travel to S.C. to Protest Predatory Land Contracts - The Vindicator

A group of 45 activists affiliated with Youngstown neighborhood revitalization groups traveled to this South Carolina city Saturday to confront the leadership of a company dealing in what they say are local predatory land contracts.

The group had ties to Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. and the Alliance for Congregational Transformation Influencing Our Neighborhoods.

It wanted to pressure Alex Szkaradek, CEO of Vision Property Management, and John Buerkert, the chief business development officer, into signing a community agreement that included provisions to protect current renters of Vision properties from eviction and bar Vision from buying other city properties, among other issues.

While not all land contracts are exploitative, many of the contracts linked to Vision Property Management target vulnerable renters, luring them into agreements where they believe they’re renting to own but are never given ownership of their home.

Impacted tenants often report paying mortgages far higher than their houses’ actual value.

According to Ian Beniston, executive director of YNDC who has been sparring with Vision Property for years and participated in the negotiation, the leadership of Vision refused to sign the agreement, prompting a walk out from the Youngstown group. To read the full story from The Vindicator, click here.