Rent-to-own homes are a fast-growing market that give landlords the profit of the business sans the responsibility of maintenance. While these businesses claim their making home ownership possible for millions of Americans who have bad credit or who can't get mortgages because of market conditions, the flip side is the risk these tenants incur.

Alexandra Stevenson and Matthew Goldstein broke down how these businesses work, speaking with Vision Property Management, a leader in this strategy.

These rent-to-own agreements reside in a gray area of the law. An examination by The New York Times of contracts and court filings, as well as interviews with housing lawyers and more than a dozen of Vision’s customers across the country, found that these deals are risky, lack consumer protections and may not be enforceable in some states.

Most tenants walk away with nothing, having sunk money for rent and repairs into homes they had once hoped to own. Others faced surprise evictions, having signed a contract that did not disclose what repairs were needed, yet set a deadline for making sure the home was up to local housing code. As different tenants move in and out of the same property over the course of years, many homes fall further into disrepair.

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