ATLANTA – State Representatives Sandra Scott (D-Rex), Kim Schofield (D-Atlanta) and Viola Davis (D-Stone Mountain) will hold a public hearing on housing and homeownership on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2:30 – 5 p.m., in room 406 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building (18 Capitol Sq. SW) in Atlanta.
“Too many residents are under the threat of losing basic city services, and even their homes, from failing to pay bills on time,” said Rep. Scott. “No one should lose their home because of a water bill, trash bill or homeowners association fees. If residents are paying their mortgages and their taxes, they should be able to stay in their homes. We are working on legislation to address these issues, but we need to hear directly from homeowners to ensure their rights are protected.”
During the hearing, attendees will have an opportunity to provide testimony regarding problems and threats of evictions and foreclosures due to homeowners and condo association rules and regulations, unfair business practices of banks, overbilling of water and sewer fees, among other housing issues. Reps. Scott, Schofield and Davis plan to utilize this testimony to draft legislation for the 2023 legislative session, which will begin in January.
“Helping renters become homeowners is vital for the future of Georgia housing,” said Rep. Schofield. “The two major issues are the level of transparency and removal of longstanding barriers, including systemic racism, gender, cultural biases, financial and credit. We must pass legislation that would remove these major barriers to equity and housing stabilization. Secondly, we need to address the lack of regulations around HOAs, some of which are known for bullying and reneging on contractual obligations, causing people to lose their homes.”
“This is a property rights issue that pits homeowners against investors, especially investors making ‘big’ money as part of the $540 billion dollar industry, which includes short term rentals,” added Rep. Davis. “We are working to score a balance between the property rights of the investors/corporations and homeowners. Investors have a right to make a profit on their investment. However, homeowners sign a warranty deed that gives them a right to quiet enjoyment of their property. In the end, we certainly need to determine the standards for single-family residential neighborhoods and protect the American dream of homeownership.”
To testify at the hearing, members of the public may contact Rep. Davis’ Capitol Office at 404-656-0109.