Metro Atlanta woman says lease-to-own program stole her own house from her

SOUTH FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — A South Fulton County woman said a popular home rental company stole her home from her.

Ciara Anderson reached out to Channel 2 Action News because she says the company, Invitation Homes, isn’t honoring the lease-to-own contract she signed with them.

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Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Ashli Lincoln learned the company is now trying to evict her. Anderson said it’s been a years-long battle fighting for her home.

“They came to my door and told me to stop the pursuit of getting my home back,” Anderson said.


Anderson, surrounded by rental housing advocates, claims the company misled her into thinking she would be able to purchase her home back from them.

She says she fell behind on her mortgage in 2013 and the house was placed up for auction. Invitation Homes bought it. Soon after, a representative showed up on her front steps and offered her a two-year lease-to-own program so she wouldn’t have to move.

“Two years came, and I approached them and asked them about the buyback option and they told me they never told me that,” Anderson said.

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She said when she began challenging the terms in her lease, the company started going after her with evictions.

Rental advocates said this is a predatory practice where corporations pressure naive tenants into entering leases they presume are rent-to-own contracts.

“These companies and others are crossing state lines,” a rental advocate said. “They’re doing this across the country.”

The City of South Fulton mayor, Khalid Kamau, said more federal oversight is needed against these corporations.

“It is ridiculous that we are letting residents try to go into court pro se and try to argue these complex cases when we, as governments, haven’t figured out how to regulate these agencies,” Kamau said.

According to a Fulton County judge, the home no longer belongs to Anderson. A judge ruled in favor of Invitation Homes, ordering Anderson to evict the property. Anderson said she plans to file a federal lawsuit against the company.