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Addressing Tangled Title Issues


August 19, 2022

Homeownership holds substantial promise as a strategy to promote health and racial equity. Owning a home can provide individuals and families with residential stability and the opportunity to build wealth. However, despite its potential benefits, homeownership has remained out of reach for many low- and moderate-income families and people of color. 

Abt’s recent project, Using Homeownership to Advance Health and Racial Equity, explores a wide range of policies, programs, and actions that can expand access to affordable, sustainable homeownership opportunities for these communities.  The project produced four policy briefs as well as a landscape analysis and summary of recommendations. These materials explore options for making  homeownership more accessible and beneficial, which can help policymakers, advocates, researchers, and other stakeholders better understand the barriers to homeownership in their communities and identify action steps for addressing them.

This brief focuses on strategies for addressing tangled title issues. A “tangled title” or “clouded title” occurs when an individual is not recognized as the legal owner of their home. This situation often arises when an individual inherits a property from a family member without going through the full process for transferring ownership rights. Without a clear title, residents lose out on much of the wealth-building potential and security that homeownership can provide. In the brief, we highlight programs and policy solutions that communities can use to help their residents avoid and resolve title issues.