Reforming Property Law To Benefit Disadvantaged Owners: A Community-Centric Approach

Project Lead

Thomas Mitchell

University of Wisconsin Law School

Community Partner

Heirs' Property Retention Coalition


This project involves an effort to reform a particular state property law that has been the source of a great deal of land loss and loss of real estate wealth among poor and disadvantaged property owners in many different states. These property owners have been disproportionately (though by no mean exclusively) minorities. Representatives from a number of local, regional, and state-based public interest law firms and community-based organizations have worked hand in hand with me in our efforts to reform this particular property law. As part of our work, we submitted a proposal to the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) — the organization in this country with the longest record of drafting model state statutes — requesting the ULC to form a drafting committee to develop a model state statute to reform the particular property law in question. Not only was our proposal accepted, but also we worked closely together to draft the model statute and have continued to work closely together to get the model statute enacted into law in various states across the country.