United States history: WRITTEN BY: The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica Title: squatter’s rights.

Preemption, also called Squatter’s Rights, in U.S. history, policy by which first settlers, or “squatters,” on public lands could purchase the property they had improved. Squatters who settled on and improved surveyed land were at risk that when the land was surveyed and put up for auction speculators would capture it. Frontier settlers seldom had much cash, and, because they held no title to their land, they even risked losing their homes and farms to claim jumpers prior to the government auction.

Squatters pressured Congress to allow them to acquire permanent title to their land without bidding at auction. Congress responded by passing a series of temporary preemption laws in the 1830s. Bitterly opposed by Eastern business interests who feared that easy access to land would drain their labour supply, the preemption laws also failed to satisfy the settlers seeking a permanent solution to their problems.

In 1841 Henry Clay devised a compromise by providing squatters the right to buy 160 acres of surveyed public land at a minimum price of $1.25 per acre before the land was sold at auction. Revenues from the preemption sales were to be distributed among the states to finance internal improvements.

The Pre-Emption Act of 1841 remained in effect for 50 years, although its revenue-distribution provision was scrapped in 1842. The law led to a great deal of corruption—nonletters acquired great tracts of land illegally—but it also led to the passage of the Homestead Act of 1862 by making preemption an accepted part of U.S. land policy. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition.

The Land

Opportunity Zones 101

Q: What are Opportunity Zones? 
A: Opportunity Zones are economically-distressed communities, designated by states and territories and certified by the U.S. Treasury Department, in which certain types of investments may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. The tax incentive is designed to spur economic development and job creation in distressed communities by providing these tax benefits to investors.  Effective June 14, 2018, Treasury certified Opportunity Zones of all states, territories and the District of Columbia. Opportunity Zone designations certified by Treasury will remain in effect until December 31, 2028. 

Opportunity Funds and Businesses

Q: What is an Opportunity Fund?
A: A Qualified Opportunity Fund is any investment vehicle organized as a corporation or partnership with the specific purpose of investing in Opportunity Zone assets. The fund must hold at least 90% of its assets in qualifying Opportunity Zones property. 

Q: Who can create an Opportunity Fund?
A: Any taxpaying individual or entity can create an Opportunity Fund, through a self-certification process. A form (expected to be released in the summer of 2018) is submitted with the taxpayer’s federal income tax return for the taxable year.  

Q: What can Opportunity Funds invest in?
A: Opportunity Funds can invest in any Qualified Opportunity Zone property, including stocks, partnership interest or business property (so long as property use commences with the fund, or if the fund makes significant improvements to the qualifying property).

Q: Will Opportunity Zone businesses need to conduct most of their business within Opportunity Zone tracts, or will it be sufficient if the majority of the business’ assets are located in Opportunity Zone tracts (property, equipment, etc.)? For example, would a trucking business based in an Opportunity Zone, but serving a whole region, qualify for Opportunity Fund financing?
A: To qualify as an eligible Opportunity Zone Business, a business must demonstrate that substantially all its tangible business property is located within a Qualified Opportunity Zone. No such stipulations have been made regarding the service area of the Opportunity Zone Business in the statute, but this may nonetheless be an item that the IRS chooses to address in future guidance or regulations.

Q: What happens if a business located in an OZ moves? Is there a recapture risk?
A: There is no recapture risk, but an opportunity fund that fails to meet the 90% asset requirement of the fund will be required to pay a penalty for each month it fails to meet the requirement. The penalty is not designed to be catastrophic, but rather, to ensure that funds stay within the zone’s parameters. Once an asset no longer qualifies, there will be a period of time in which the asset can be disposed of before incurring penalties.

Q: Can an Opportunity Fund make investments in multiple Opportunity Zones?
A: Yes, so long as an Opportunity Fund has at least 90% of its assets in Qualified Opportunity Zone property, the fund may invest in as many qualified tracts as desired.

Q: Can an investor invest directly into an Opportunity Zone business to qualify for associated tax incentives?
A: No, an investor must invest in an Opportunity Zone business through a Qualified Opportunity Fund in order to qualify for associated tax incentives.

Q: What tax benefits are available for investors that invest into an Opportunity Fund? 
A: There are primarily three benefits available to investors that invest previously realized capital gains into an Opportunity Fund, with increasing benefits the longer the investment is held in the Fund:

  • Deferral of capital gains taxes. An investor that re-invests capital gains (within six months of realizing the gains) into an Opportunity Fund can defer paying federal taxes on those realized gains until as late as December 31, 2026. 
  • Reduction of capital gains taxes. Investors that hold the investment in the Opportunity Fund for at least five years can reduce their tax bill on the deferred capital gains by 10%.  This reduction increases to 15% for investors that hold the investments in the Opportunity Fund for at least seven years.
  • Elimination of taxes on future gains. Investors that hold the investment in the Opportunity Fund for at least ten years will not be required to pay federal capital gains taxes on any gains realized from the investment in the Opportunity Fund. 

Q: Can Opportunity Zones tax incentives be realized beyond 2026?
: The tax incentive itself does not expire in 2026.  Investors in Opportunity Funds that hold investments for at least 10 years will still be able to take advantage of the favorable tax treatment of gains related to the investments into Opportunity Funds, even if realized after 2026. 

Q: Are there minimum or maximum investments? 
A: There are no minimum or maximum investments required by Opportunity Zone legislation.

Q: What kind of returns are investors likely to expect?
A: We anticipate a broad range of investor return expectations.  On one end of the spectrum, Opportunity Funds may raise capital from socially responsible, high net worth investors that would otherwise be contributing to donor-advised funds with a principal preservation focus and a low return expectation (e.g., less than 5%).  On the other end of the spectrum are private equity fund investors that are expecting double-digit returns based on the risk of providing equity capital to real estate or business investments.  In the middle are preferred equity investment models with 6-10% annualized return expectations.

Q: Once an Opportunity Fund is established, is there a timeframe within which investments must be made?
A: This timeframe will be determined in the IRS rule making process.  Based on the legislation, an Opportunity Fund may need to have 90% of its capital invested in Opportunity Zone Property within the first six months of the taxable year of the Opportunity Fund.  There may be some timing relief in the rule making to enable a 12-month investment window.  Also, to receive the tax benefits, the investor must deploy their capital into an Opportunity Fund within six months of realizing the capital gain being invested.

Q: Do you anticipate the creation of single-use or single-purpose funds? For example, could a developer that does business in an Opportunity Zone create an Opportunity Fund for a specific project?
A: Yes, given the expected ease of certifying an Opportunity Fund and the timing constraints of investing the capital in Opportunity Zone Property, we anticipate that single-asset funds will be utilized.

Q: Will Opportunity Zones be compatible with LIHTC and NMTC investments?
A: As of today, we think Opportunity Zone investments could be combined with the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and New Markets Tax Credit, though we won’t know for sure until the Treasury Department releases its guidance.

Expiration of state eviction protections led to 434,000 extra COVID-19 cases, study finds

Dhara Singh·ReporterDecember 1, 2020·4 min read

The expiration of state eviction protections led to 433,700 additional coronavirus cases and 10,700 excess deaths from March to September, according to a new study.

“We expected there to be a relationship between moratoriums lifting and COVID-19 outcomes,” said Kathryn Leifheit, an epidemiologist who was a lead researcher on the study. “But the size of that difference and the number of deaths associated was larger than we expected.”

Read more: Rental aid: Here’s where you can find help in every state

The study, in the process of being peer-reviewed, draws on data from the COVID-19 Eviction Moratoria and Housing Policy Database from Princeton University’s Eviction Lab and was authored by researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles, John Hopkins University, Wake Forest University, Boston University, and the University of California at San Francisco.

Photo by: STRF/STAR MAX/IPx 2020 9/2/20 The CDC bans evictions in the United States through the end of the year due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. STAR MAX File Photo: 8/20/20 A March on Billionaire Landlords is seen in New York City. Protesters want rent relief and/or a rent freeze during these challenging economic times brought on by the Coronavirus Pandemic. Protesters assembled at the New York Public Library and then headed east on 42nd street towards Madison and Park Avenue - home to some of the priciest real estate in Manhattan.
The CDC bans evictions in the United States through the end of the year due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. A March on Billionaire Landlords is seen in New York City. (STAR MAX File Photo: 8/20/20)

The pandemic could be exacerbated next year when the national moratorium on evictions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lifts on January 1, according to Lefiheit.

“We’re on a course to be lifting protections nationwide during a time when COVID rates are soaring, with colder temperatures and people spending more time indoors,” Leifheit said. “In this context, effects on the spread of COVID could be stronger.”

Nearly 150,000 excess cases were preventable in Texas

Forty-three states and the District of Columbia instituted an eviction moratorium as early as March 13 and as late as April 30, but 27 lifted them during the seven-month study period. Seventeen states had moratoriums during the entire study period and served as a comparison group.

Read more: Here’s how to negotiate with your landlord if you’re facing eviction

In Texas, the moratorium lift resulted in the largest number of excess cases and deaths in the U.S., the study found.

“Texas has the largest increase of cases and deaths in the study,” Leifheit said. “They lifted their moratorium fairly early on May 18 and our analysis found nearly 150,000 excess cases which were preventable and this resulted in 4,500 excess deaths in Texas alone.”

Detroit, Michigan, USA - August 20, 2014: An evicted house at a suburban street with left belongings on the lawns near the 8 mile road, in the city of Detroit.
Detroit, Michigan, USA – August 20, 2014: An evicted house at a suburban street with left belongings on the lawns near the 8 mile road, in the city of Detroit.

Stats on average had 2.1 times higher incidence and 5.4 times higher mortality rates 16 or more weeks after lifting their moratoriums.

That’s due to a variety of factors, including evicted tenants using public transportation to visit social service agencies and scrambling to find shelter, often doubling up with other households, according to Eric Dunn, director of litigation at the National Housing Law Project, a nonprofit housing and legal advocacy center.

“We applaud the researchers who have empirically confirmed the connections between residential evictions and the increased transmission of COVID-19,” Dunn said. “Only with stable housing can renters and their families practice proper hygiene and social distancing.”

‘People call evictions the Scarlet E’

Housing activists erect a sign in front of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker's house, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020, in Swampscott, Mass. The protesters were calling on the governor to support more robust protections against evictions and foreclosures during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Housing activists erect a sign in front of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s house, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020, in Swampscott, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

An eviction record can make it harder for tenants to secure housing again during the pandemic even if they have the financial wherewithal.

“So many people call evictions the Scarlet E and future landlords can look whether you’ve been evicted and deny you housing,” Leifheit said. “Families will find themselves living in homes that are less safe and neighborhoods that are less healthy.”

Read more: Here’s what you need to know about the new eviction moratorium

Many renters also are employed in industries that are more vulnerable to exposure to the virus, doubling their risk of infection if they are evicted.

“I have personally provided legal assistance to essential workers who work in the retail and restaurant industries who were already facing eviction due to reduced hours or unemployment and were ultimately diagnosed as COVID-19 positive,” said Aisha Thomas, managing attorney at AJT Law Firm in Atlanta.

‘It is now more clear than ever we must extend the CDC order’

While Congress remains at a stalemate when it comes to another stimulus aid package to help struggling Americans, rental experts and health researchers alike say government action on evictions is needed soon to prevent even more Americans losing their homes in 2021.

“It is now more clear than ever that we must extend the CDC order banning evictions,” said Noelle Porter, NHLP’s director of government affairs. “NHLP and the National Low Income Housing Coalition have asked the current administration to extend their order for at least 90 days and it’s imperative that the Biden-Harris administration issue a more clear and broad moratorium.”

Highlighting Heirs’ Property Ownership and Land Loss

by Teresa Jackson, SRS Public Affairs  •  July 30, 2020

A USDA Forest Service publication on heirs’ property ownership across the southern U.S. highlights a kind of land ownership prevalent among lower wealth, African Americans in the Black Belt South, central Appalachian whites, and Hispanic Americans in U.S. southwest colonia communities.

A meeting co-hosted by the Southern Research Station and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in July 2017 addressed heirs’ property challenges in the South.

The adoption of the Uniform Partition of Heirs’ Property Act by additional states has assisted farm and ranch heirs’ property owners in accessing assistance from the federal government. Photo by Jennie Stephens, Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation.

Proceedings from the meeting were compiled into a General Technical Report co-edited by Cassandra Johnson Gaither, research social scientist, and a diverse group of colleagues.

The report addresses heirs’ property both inside and outside of the Black Belt South—in places such as predominantly Hispanic colonia communities in the U.S. southwest, in central Appalachia, and on tribal lands. It includes presentations by grassroots and legal service organizations that work directly with families to get clear title to their property.

Heirs’ property is real property and a subset of ‘tenancy-in-common’ ownership. It is typically inherited land owned by two or more family members – who acquire the property via state laws of intestate succession, rather than by formal means. This happens when someone dies without a will, and state laws (which can vary) determine how their interests in property are distributed among surviving family members.

“Landowners with unclear titles are typically not eligible for land improvement and other federally funded programs,” says Johnson Gaither. “The lack of title also limits property owners’ ability to access credit and to sell natural resources, which results in both land and wealth loss for affected families. However, recent legislation such as the 2018 Farm Bill contains provisions to help eliminate barriers to USDA programs.”

The 2019 SRS publication is based on findings presented at a 2017 conference that brought a diverse group of stakeholders together to address heirs’ property challenges in the South. USFS photo.

The report includes chapters that focus on parcel data sources, in-depth investigations of heirs’ property owners, research on cultural aspects of heirs’ property ownership, estimations of the extent of heirs’ property in the South, and both actual and proposed ideas for legal reform to make heirs’ property ownership more viable and valuable.

Johnson Gaither’s co-editors include Ann Carpenter, director of policy and analytics for community and economic development at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Tracy Lloyd McCurty, executive director of Black Belt Justice, and Sara Toering, senior fellow with the Center for Community Progress.

The report has received significant recognition since it was published and was most recently featured on VICE news, a documentary series that airs on the Showtime network. The April 26 episode, Losing Ground, highlighted the vulnerabilities of African American landowners who hold heirs’ property and have suffered from involuntary land loss.

“It was wonderful to see an SRS publication highlighted on the program,” exclaims Johnson Gaither. Since the show aired, we’ve received direct feedback from landowners who shared that the publication provides a tangible source of information and reference for them as they attempt to resolve heirs’ property issues.”

It is conservatively estimated that there are more than 1.6 million acres of heirs’ property with a value of $6.6 billion in counties of the demographically defined Black Belt of the South. A first step to decreasing these numbers is a better understanding of the extent and characteristics of these properties, to help American landowners more fully realize the value of their lands.

Read the full text of the report.

For more information, email Cassandra Johnson Gaither at

Access the latest publications by SRS scientists.

Selling a House? Avoid Taxes on Capital Gains on Real Estate in 2020

The money you make on the sale of your home might be taxable. Here’s how it works and how to avoid a big tax bill.Tina OremAugust 5, 2020

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

It feels great to get a high price for the sale of your home, but watch out: The IRS may want a piece of the action. That’s because capital gains on real estate are taxable sometimes. Here’s how you can minimize or even avoid a tax bite on the sale of your house.

How does a capital gains tax work?

  • The IRS and many states assess capital gains taxes on the difference between what you pay for an asset — your basis — and what you sell it for.
  • Capital gains taxes can apply to investments, such as stocks or bonds, and tangible assets like cars, boats and real estate.

The good news about capital gains on real estate

The IRS typically allows you to exclude up to:

  • $250,000 of capital gains on real estate if you’re single.
  • $500,000 of capital gains on real estate if you’re married and filing jointly.

For example, if you bought a home 10 years ago for $200,000 and sold it today for $800,000, you’d make $600,000. If you’re married and filing jointly, $500,000 of that gain might not be subject to the capital gains tax (but $100,000 of the gain could be).

The bad news about capital gains on real estate

Your $250,000 or $500,000 exclusion typically goes out the window, which means you pay tax on the whole gain, if any of these factors are true:

  • The house wasn’t your principal residence.
  • You owned the property for less than two years in the five-year period before you sold it.
  • You didn’t live in the house for at least two years in the five-year period before you sold it. (People who are disabled, and people in the military, Foreign Service or intelligence community can get a break on this part, though; see IRS Publication 523 for details.)
  • You already claimed the $250,000 or $500,000 exclusion on another home in the two-year period before the sale of this home.
  • You bought the house through a like-kind exchange (basically swapping one investment property for another, also known as a 1031 exchange) in the past five years.
  • You are subject to expatriate tax.

Still not sure whether you qualify for the exclusion? Our tool might help; otherwise, scroll down for ways to avoid capital gains tax on a home sale:

If it turns out that all or part of the money you made on the sale of your house is taxable, you need to figure out what capital gains tax rate applies.

  • Short-term capital gains tax rates typically apply if you owned the asset for less than a year. The rate is equal to your ordinary income tax rate, also known as your tax bracket. (What tax bracket am I in?)
  • Long-term capital gains tax rates typically apply if you owned the asset for more than a year. The rates are much less onerous; many people qualify for a 0% tax rate. Everybody else pays either 15% or 20%. It depends on your filing status and income.

How to avoid capital gains tax on a home sale

  1. Live in the house for at least two years. The two years don’t need to be consecutive, but house-flippers should beware. If you sell a house that you didn’t live in for at least two years, the gains can be taxable. Selling in less than a year is especially expensive because you could be subject to the short-term capital gains tax, which is higher than long-term capital gains tax.
  2. See whether you qualify for an exception. If you have a taxable gain on the sale of your home, you might still be able to exclude some of it if you sold the house because of work, health or “an unforeseeable event,” according to the IRS. Check IRS Publication 523 for details.
  3. Keep the receipts for your home improvements. “The cost basis of your home not only includes what you paid to purchase it, but all of the improvements you’ve made over the years,” says Steven Weil, an enrolled agent and president at RMS Accounting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. When your cost basis is higher, your exposure to the capital gains tax is lower. Remodels, expansions, new windows, landscaping, fences, new driveways, air conditioning installs — they’re all examples of things that can cut your capital gains tax, he says.

About the author: Tina Orem is NerdWallet’s authority on taxes. Her work has appeared in a variety of local and national outlets. Read more

Estate Planning: A 7-Step Checklist of the Basics

Here’s what estate planning is and 7 things you can do to get started.

KAY BELLNov. 14, 2020Estate PlanningIncome TaxesInvestingPersonal TaxesTaxes

Estate Planning Basics: A 7-Step Checklist

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

You don’t have to be rich to need estate planning. Your estate includes everything you own, and it can be any size, which is why it can be worth taking time to plan for what happens to it.

What is estate planning?

Estate planning is the process of designating who will receive your assets and handle your responsibilities after your death or incapacitation. One goal is to ensure beneficiaries receive assets in a way that minimizes estate tax, gift tax, income tax and other taxes.

Estate planning can help establish a platform you can fine-tune as your personal and financial situations change. The key question to ask yourself is: How do you want your assets distributed if you die or are incapacitated?

Seven steps to basic estate planning

1. Inventory your stuff

You may think you don’t have enough to justify estate planning. But once you start looking around, you might be surprised by all the tangible and intangible assets you have.

The tangible assets in an estate may include:

  • Homes, land or other real estate
  • Vehicles including cars, motorcycles or boats
  • Collectibles such as coins, art, antiques or trading cards
  • Other personal possessions

The intangible assets in an estate may include:

Once you inventory your tangible and intangible assets, you need to estimate their value. For some assets, outside valuations like these can help:

  • Recent appraisals of your home
  • Statements from your financial accounts

When you don’t have an outside valuation, value the items based on how you expect your heirs will value them. This can help ensure your possessions are distributed equitably among the people you love.

2. Account for your family’s needs

Once you have a sense of what’s in your estate, think about how to protect the assets and your family after you’re gone.

  • Do you have enough life insurance? This may be important if you’re married and your current lifestyle — and monthly mortgage payment — requires dual incomes. Life insurance may be even more important if you have a child with special needs or college tuition bills.
  • Name a guardian for your children — and a backup guardian, just in case — when you write your will. This can help sidestep costly family court fights that could drain your estate’s assets.
  • Document your wishes for your children’s care. Don’t presume that certain family members will be there or that they share your child-rearing ideas and goals. Don’t assume a judge will abide by your wishes if the issue goes to court.

» MORE: Learn how the gift tax works

3. Establish your directives

A complete estate plan includes important legal directives.

  • A trust might be appropriate. With a living trust, you can designate portions of your estate to go toward certain things while you’re alive. If you become ill or incapacitated, your selected trustee can take over. Upon your death, the trust assets transfer to your designated beneficiaries, bypassing probate, which is the court process that may otherwise distribute your property.
  • A medical care directive, also known as a living will, spells out your wishes for medical care if you become unable to make those decisions yourself. You can also give a trusted person medical power of attorney for your health care, giving that person the authority to make decisions if you can’t. These two documents are sometimes combined into one, known as an advance health care directive.
  • A durable financial power of attorney allows someone else to manage your financial affairs if you’re medically unable to do so. Your designated agent, as directed in the document, can act on your behalf in legal and financial situations when you can’t. This includes paying your bills and taxes, as well as accessing and managing your assets.
  • A limited power of attorney can be useful if the idea of turning over everything to someone else concerns you. This legal document does just what its name says: It imposes limits on the powers of your named representative. For example, you could grant the person the power to sign the documents on your behalf at the closing of a home sale or to sell a specific stock.
  • Be careful about who you give power of attorney. They may literally have your financial well-being — and even your life — in their hands. You might want to assign the medical and financial representation to different people, as well as a backup for each in case your primary choice is unavailable when needed.

4. Review your beneficiaries

Your will and other documents may spell out your wishes, they may not be all-inclusive.

  • Check your retirement and insurance accounts. Retirement plans and insurance products usually have beneficiary designations that you need to keep track of and update as needed. Those beneficiary designations can outweigh what’s in a will.
  • Make sure the right people get your stuff. People sometimes forget the beneficiaries they named on policies or accounts established many years ago. If, for example, your ex-spouse is still a beneficiary on your life insurance policy, your current spouse will get the bad news — and none of the policy’s payout — after you’re gone.
  • Don’t leave any beneficiary sections blank. In that case, when an account goes through probate, it may be distributed based on the state’s rules for who gets the property.
  • Name contingent beneficiaries. These backup beneficiaries are critical if your primary beneficiary dies before you do and you forget to update the primary beneficiary designation.

5. Note your state’s estate tax laws

Estate planning is often a way to minimize estate and inheritance taxes. But most people won’t pay those taxes.

  • At the federal level, only very large estates are subject to estate taxes. For 2020, up to $11.58 million of an estate is exempt from federal taxation. In 2021, up to $11.7 million is exempt.
  • Some states have estate taxes. They may levy estate tax on estates valued below the federal government’s exemption amount. (See which states have an estate tax here.)
  • Some states have inheritance taxes. This means that the people who inherit your money may need to taxes on it. (Learn more about inheritance tax here.)

6. Weigh the value of professional help

Whether you should hire an attorney or estate tax professional to help create your estate plan generally depends on your situation.

  • If your estate is small and your wishes are simple, an online or packaged will-writing program may be sufficient for your needs. These programs typically account for IRS and state-specific requirements and walk you through writing a will using an interview process about your life, finances and bequests. You can even update your homemade will as necessary.
  • If you have doubts about the process, it might be worthwhile to consult an estate attorney and possibly a tax advisor. They can help you determine if you’re on the proper estate planning path, especially if you live in a state with its own estate or inheritance taxes.
  • For large and complex estate — think special child care concerns, business issues or nonfamilial heirs — an estate attorney and/or tax professional can help maneuver the sometimes complicated implications.

Land Patent?

Types of Land Patents

Cash Entry: An entry that covered public lands for which the individual paid cash or its equivalent.

Credits: These patents were issued to anyone who either paid by cash at the time of sale and received a discount; or paid by credit in installments over a four-year period. If full payment were not received within the four-year period, title to the land would revert back to the Federal Government.

Homestead: A Homestead allowed settlers to apply for up to 160 acres of public land if they lived on it for five years and proof of cultivation. This land did not cost anything per acre, but the settler did pay a filing fee.

Indian Patents: Under the general Allotment Act of February 8, 1887, and certain specific laws for named tribes, allotments of land on reservations were made to individual Native Americans residing on the land. There are two kinds of patents that allowed resale by the Native Americans:

  • Indian Trust Patents were issued and held in trust for a period of twenty-five years. When the twenty-five years expired a direct sale of the land could be made.
  • Indian Fee Patent was the actual title to the property of land entirely owned by an individual and their heirs.

Military Warrants: From 1788 to 1855 the United States granted military bounty land warrants as a reward for military service. These warrants were issued in various denominations and based upon the rank and length of service.

The Land

Mineral Certificates: The General Mining Law of 1872 defined mineral lands as a parcel of land containing valuable minerals in its soil and rocks. There were three kinds of mining claims:

  • Lode Claims contained gold, silver or other precious metals occurring in veins;
  • Placer Claims are for minerals not found in veins; and
  • Mill Site Claims are limited to lands that do not contain valuable minerals. Up to five acres of public land may be claimed for the purpose of processing minerals.

Private Land Claims: A claim based on the assertion that the claimant (or his predecessors in interest) derived his right while the land was under the dominion of a foreign government.

Railroad: To aid in the construction of certain railroads. The Act of September 20, 1850, granted to the State alternate sections of public land on either side of the rail lines and branches.

State Selection: Each new State admitted to the Union was granted 500,000 acres of public land for internal improvements established under the Act of September 4, 1841.

Swamp: Under the Act of September 28, 1850, lands identified as swamp and overflowed lands unfit for cultivation was granted to the States. Once accepted by the State, the Federal Government had no further jurisdiction over the parcels.

Town Sites: An area of public lands which has been segregated for disposal as an urban development, often subdivided in blocks, which are further subdivided into town lots.

Town Lots: May be regular or irregular in shape and its acreage varies from that of regular subdivisions.

Hud Virtual Homelessness Conference

Dear Stakeholder,
Hope all is well with you.
I am writing to invite you to attend the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development  (HUD) Region IV Homelessness Virtual Conference that will be held on Tuesday, December 15, 2020. The Virtual Conference will be held using Teams Live Platform. This year for the first time, Tennessee Field Offices are collaborating with 8 other Field Offices in Region IV to host a regionwide Homelessness Conference. We plan on over 500+ individuals attending the Homelessness Conference. Attached is our Save the Date Flyer that provides information about the event. Our targeted audience is Mayors, Federal employees, State and Local agencies, Public Housing Authorities, Community Development Grantees, Homeless Providers, Property Managers and Landlords.
Registration information and the Teams virtual conference link will be sent separately next week.
We hope that you will be able to participate in this distinctive event. Should you have questions or need additional information feel free to contact:
George Brown
Asset Management Division Director
Cell: 202-355-8636
Office: 678-732-2813

‘What Realtors did was an outrage’: National association apologizes for role in housing racial discrimination

Nov. 19, 2020 at 2:10 pm Updated Nov. 20, 2020 at 4:47 pm


The real estate industry contributed to racial inequality and segregation in housing, an “outrage” that merits a historic apology, the incoming president of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said.

“What Realtors did was an outrage to our morals and our ideals,” Charlie Oppler said Thursday during a virtual fair-housing summit hosted by the group. “It was a betrayal of our commitment to fairness and equality.”

It was the first time the association, with 1.4 million members, has apologized for its role in fomenting housing discrimination, a legacy that has contributed to widening economic and racial inequality. The homeownership rate among Black Americans was 46% as of Sept. 30, compared with 67% for all U.S. households and 76% for white Americans, Census Bureau data show.

"Let Me Find Your Next Property"
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The NAR opposed passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968 and allowed exclusion of members based on race or gender, according to a statement from the group. That discrimination was part of systemic residential racial segregation, led by the federal government and supported by the U.S. banking system through practices like redlining, the NAR said.

Home equity is the biggest source of household net worth, according to Federal Reserve data, putting minorities at a disadvantage generation after generation. Black homebuyers continue to face hurdles, such as lower credit scores and less money for down payments, which limit their ability to get on the American Dream escalator of homeownership. A “Black tax” averages $13,464 during the life of their home loans to cover such costs as mortgage insurance and higher interest rates, according to a study by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology group.

The NAR opposed passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968 and allowed exclusion of members based on race or gender, according to a statement from the group. That discrimination was part of systemic residential racial segregation, led by the federal government and supported by the U.S. banking system through practices like redlining, the NAR said.

Home equity is the biggest source of household net worth, according to Federal Reserve data, putting minorities at a disadvantage generation after generation. Black homebuyers continue to face hurdles, such as lower credit scores and less money for down payments, which limit their ability to get on the American Dream escalator of homeownership. A “Black tax” averages $13,464 during the life of their home loans to cover such costs as mortgage insurance and higher interest rates, according to a study by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology group.

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