Sen. Charlane Oliver’s first bill seeks to limit unsolicited texts, calls from property buyers
‘Corporate greed’ driving investors to harass homeowners in older, established neighborhoods, senator says
NASHVILLE — Are you looking to sell your property? Do you know anyone who may want to sell a property or land?
Many homeowners in Middle Tennessee have grown accustomed to unsolicited texts, phone calls and postcards from someone asking if they’re willing to sell their property. It’s not unusual for a person to get multiple solicitations every day.
Sen. Charlane Oliver, D-Nashville, says this predatory behavior is shrinking the area’s supply of affordable housing and taking advantage of longtime homeowners who may not know what their home is worth.
With her first piece of legislation, the new senator is seeking to limit the practice.
“Tennesseans are being displaced due to rising housing costs, driven by corporate greed, unchecked growth and gentrification. I’m filing anti-harassment legislation to enact penalties on predatory developers who pressure homeowners into selling their property,” Sen. Oliver said. “We must help families protect their most valuable asset and those who want a path to homeownership.”
Sen. Oliver said she’s pushing this new consumer protection after she witnessed schemers targeting older homeowners in established neighborhoods following the March 2020 tornado.
“People had just lost their homes to a natural disaster and investors were already pushing them to sign away their property for much less than what it was actually worth,” Sen. Oliver said. “My goal is to make sure no one in Tennessee is tricked or pressured into selling their family’s most valuable asset.”
Senate Bill 234 limits the number of times an investor and their employees are permitted to contact a property owner with an unsolicited offer to buy the property owner’s home or land. The legislation would also allow a property owner who believes an investor has violated the limitation to submit a complaint to the consumer affairs division in the office of the attorney general.
“No one should suffer incessant harassment just because they own a home,” Sen. Oliver said. “It’s time for the legislature to create some guardrails to protect Tennesseans, and especially our senior citizens, from these deceptive, high-pressure tactics.”