New app helps flooded homeowners with title problems
Flood Proof: Free Legal Help for Homeowners with Title Problems launched a new iPhone app to streamline the process for homeowners seeking to obtain a clear title to inherited property.
“Homeowners who were affected by the August floods and lack clear title to their home need to gather information and documents to prove title. The Flood Proof App is a tool that will allow flood victims to do exactly that from their home or place of temporary residence, and hopefully minimize the number of times that they have to take off of work or arrange child care in order to make multiple trips to an attorney’s office,” said Judy Perry Martinez, Special Advisor to the newly created American Bar Association Center for Innovation and former chair of the ABA Presidential Commission on the Future of Legal Services.
Many homeowners living in homes passed down from family members are unable to qualify for federal or state recovery aid due to the floods, loans to repair their homes, or insurance proceeds because they cannot prove they own their property. This typically happens when a loved one dies and a relative still living in the home then has legal rights to the inherited property. Title does not automatically pass to the relative as a legal matter until he or she takes legal action to open a succession, file documents with a court and obtain a judgment of possession.
“From making repairs to their homes, to finding new schools for their children, to caring and taking in loved ones, victims of the August floods already have so much that they have to wrap their heads around,” said Martinez. “The goal of this overall project and of the app is for homeowners to begin the process necessary to obtain a clear title to their homes in the quickest and most efficient way possible and afford free legal services to those who qualify. We already are seeing results.”
As of March 3, almost 130 individuals had begun the process of obtaining clear title by attending legal fairs hosted by Flood Proof attorneys or by calling the 1-844-244-7871 hotline number. People affected by the August 2016 flooding can use the app to find out what information they will need, quickly and safely upload relevant documents, and find out if they are eligible for free legal services.
Flood survivors can download the app by searching for “Flood Proof: Louisiana Legal Help” in the iTunes App Store or by visiting the Flood Proof: Free Legal Help for Homeowners with Title Problems website. The app is also available for download for Android users in Google Play.
The Flood Proof app was developed with support from Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, the American Bar Association’s Center for Innovation, Stanford University Law School and the LSU Law Center. The project is led by Southeast Louisiana Legal Services in collaboration with the Baton Rouge Bar Foundation, Southern University Law Center, LSU Law Center, Louisiana Appleseed, and the American Bar Association’s Center for Innovation. Generous support funding the project is provided through grants from the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Louisiana Bar Foundation, the Equal Justice Works Foundation, and the Greater New Orleans Foundation.