This course will provide an introduction to housing law and policy through an analysis of issues facing advocates for low- and moderate-income tenants and homeowners. We will discuss government policies on public housing and subsidies; code enforcement; rent control; foreclosures and neighborhood stabilization; and the processes of abandonment and gentrification, and how these policies do or should affect the strategies employed by attorneys and activists striving for effective intervention in the lower income housing market.
The class will draw on students' experiences in clinical placements (and elsewhere) as well as the perspectives of a variety of players in the housing market -- among them developers, tenants, organizers, lobbyists, judges, government officials, and a variety of practicing lawyers -- who will appear as guest panelists. A series of reflection papers will be required in lieu of an examination.
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, in conjunction with this course, to apply for membership in the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (during the Spring of 1L year) or to enroll in the Post-Foreclosure Eviction Defense Clinic or the Predatory Lending/Consumer Protection Clinic at the WilmerHale Legal Services Center.