An 80-year-old Cincinnati veteran has become homeless after selling his home to a company offering a sale-leaseback arrangement. This situation highlights the importance of understanding the risks and potential pitfalls associated with such deals to avoid falling victim to unscrupulous practices.

The Veteran's Experience

The veteran, identified as Mr. Smith, had owned his home for 25 years before selling it to a company called American Homes 4 Rent (AH4R) in 2018. Under the sale-leaseback agreement, Smith sold his home to AH4R for $150,500 but agreed to continue living in the property as a renter. The initial monthly rent was set at $1,500, an amount that would have exhausted all the proceeds from the sale within eight years.

Financial Distress and Eviction

However, Smith's financial situation deteriorated due to rising expenses and health issues. He fell behind on his rent, and AH4R proceeded with an eviction. In August 2022, Smith was forced to leave the home he had lived in for over two decades.

Lack of Legal Protections

Sale-leaseback arrangements often lack strong legal protections for homeowners, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation. In Smith's case, he discovered that the contract he signed allowed AH4R to increase his rent by up to 3% annually, regardless of any financial hardship he might face.

Predatory Targeting

Sale-leaseback companies typically target homeowners who are facing financial distress or are approaching retirement age. They offer quick cash and the promise of continued occupancy, appealing to those who may not fully understand the implications of such agreements.

Warning Signs

There are several warning signs that homeowners should be aware of when considering a sale-leaseback arrangement:

  • High monthly rent: The rent payments should be affordable and sustainable over the long term.
  • Lack of equity: Homeowners may lose all equity they have built up over time.
  • Limited flexibility: The agreements often restrict the homeowner's ability to make alterations to the property or sublet it.
  • Eviction risk: If the homeowner fails to meet the rent payments, they face the risk of eviction.

Protecting Homeowners

To protect homeowners from predatory sale-leaseback schemes, the following measures can be taken:

  • Educate homeowners: Raise awareness about the risks and pitfalls of these arrangements.
  • Strengthen legal protections: Legislators should implement stronger regulations to protect homeowners' rights and provide them with legal recourse in case of violations.
  • Provide financial assistance: Government and non-profit organizations can offer financial assistance programs to help struggling homeowners avoid eviction and foreclosure.


The Cincinnati veteran's experience is a cautionary tale about the potential dangers of sale-leaseback arrangements. Homeowners should be well-informed and proceed with caution when considering such schemes to avoid losing their homes and facing financial hardship. By raising awareness, strengthening legal protections, and providing financial assistance, we can protect homeowners and ensure that they have access to safe and affordable housing.

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