Exam Type: No Exam. A final paper will be required in lieu of an examination.
This course will provide an introduction to U.S. housing law and policy with a focus on low- and moderate-income tenants and homeowners. We will examine the state of public housing and federal housing subsidies; code enforcement; foreclosures and neighborhood stabilization; gentrification and displacement; affordable housing development; fair housing and racial segregation; and evictions and access to justice. The class will draw on students' experiences in clinical placements and other professional settings as well as the perspectives of a variety of players in the housing market -- among them developers, tenants, organizers, lobbyists, judges, government officials, and practicing lawyers -- who will appear as guest panelists. Through this course, students will develop the background necessary to understand and evaluate the various strategies that housing advocates and activists are using – or might use – to address America’s affordable housing crisis.
The impact of housing law and policy on real people and communities is best understood through a combination of classroom work and practice in the field. Students are therefore encouraged, before or during this course, to apply for membership in the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (during the Spring of 1L year) or to enroll in the Housing Law Clinic or the Predatory Lending and Consumer Protection Clinic at the WilmerHale Legal Services Center. The course is appropriate for students pursuing graduate work in other disciplines, including government, design, education, and business, and cross-registrants are welcome.