Faculty Profile: Heather K Way
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Heather K. Way joined the Texas Law faculty in 2006, where she co-directs the Housing Policy Clinic and teaches in the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic. A national expert in affordable housing and community development and a frequent commentator in the media, Professor Way focuses on increasing housing stability, opening paths to economic opportunity, and fostering equitable and inclusive communities.
Professor Way’s work has contributed to many high-impact legal reforms at the state and local levels including, most recently, laws to facilitate the creation of community land trusts and broaden heir property owners’ access to property tax relief programs. Professor Way is also the co-founder of the Uprooted Project, which provides resources and strategies for addressing displacement in gentrifying neighborhoods in Texas.
Her current work includes a focus on increasing the housing stability of homeowners with heirs’ property (for example, here and here) and addressing substandard housing. Other recent work includes a community toolkit on preserving historic places with ties to African-American heritage and an analysis of the property tax breaks available for affordable housing complexes sponsored by public facility corporations. Professor Way is also the author of Real Property for the Real World, a book of hands-on case studies for law students in property law courses.
Since Fall 2021, Professor Way has served as the ABA Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section Advisor for the Uniform Law Commission’s Tenancy in Common Ownership Default Rules Drafting Committee. She is also the co-chair of the Community Development Practitioners and Legal Educators Practice Group for the American Bar Association’s Affordable Housing and Community Development Forum.
After graduating from The University of Texas School of Law, where she co-founded the Public Interest Law Association and was Grand Chancellor, Professor Way clerked for the Honorable William Wayne Justice of the Eastern District of Texas and served as a Skadden Fellow representing tenants and community groups at Legal Aid of Central Texas in Austin. Following her fellowship, she co-founded and directed Texas Community Building with Attorney Resources (Texas C-BAR), a statewide program that has delivered millions of dollars in pro bono transactional legal resources to community organizations.
Most Recent Media
Read more Heather K Way In the News posts.
November 9, 2022
Speaker at TACDC's 2022 Texas Community Economic Development Policy Summit
June 16, 2022
Panel Organizer and Moderator for Webinar: Only the Rich Can Play: A discussion of David Wessel’s book about Opportunity Zones
Webinar hosted by the Community Development Practitioners and Legal Educators Committee, American Bar Association Affordable Housing and Community Development Forum
May 26, 2022
Panel Organizer and Moderator: “Addressing Evictions: "How Affordable Housing Providers Can Change Their Ways to Tackle the Country’s Eviction Crisis"
American Bar Association Affordable Housing and Community Development Forum, Annual Conference
ABA Section Advisor (RPTE) for the Uniform Law Commission's Tenancy in Common Ownership Default Rules Committee
April 1, 2022
Presenter at City Forum on Opportuniites and Pitfalls of Using Texas Tax Tools to Create Affordable Housing
March 30, 2022
Panelist for Webinar: “Code Enforcement and Demolitions in San Antonio"
Hosted by St. Mary’s University School of Law, Center for Legal and Social Justice
March 28, 2022
Presenter and Panelist on "Heirs' Property and the Racial Wealth Gap"
Texas Association of Community Development Corporations, annual conference
December 11, 2021
Presenter at "Punishing the Poor: A Community Response to San Antonio Code Enforcement in Community of Color"
Webinar hosted by the People’s Academy, partnership between Esperanza Peace and Justice Center and UTSA, in collaboration with the Historic Westside Residents Association and the Westside Preservation Alliance.
April 15, 2021
Presenter, "Hot Topics in Affordable Housing"
Annual Land Use Conference, UT Law CLE
April 8, 2021
Speaker at community education webinar, "Preventing and Resolving Heirs Property: Untangling the Ties of Multiple Owners," sponsored by the City of San Antonio
March 26, 2021
Presenter on "Access to Property Tax Relief for Heirs"
CLE presentation to the Cameron County Bar Association
February 23, 2021
Organizer and presenter of webinar on "Black and Latino Heirs’ Property and Access to Property Tax Relief in Texas"
December 27, 2020
Interviewed for Wall Street Journal article, “’Startup City’: Accelerated Growth Strains Austin"
September 1, 2020
Lead author, "Public Facility Corporations and the Section 303.042(f) Tax Break for Apartment Developments"
This report examines the 100% property tax exemption available for apartment developments through a special type of public facility corporation structure under Section 303.042(f) of the Texas Local Government Code. While the exemption received little notice when it was adopted by the Texas Legislature in 2015, the use of this exemption is rapidly growing and delivering annual property tax breaks to apartment developers of close to $1 million per property on average.
July 15, 2020
Moderator of Panel, "Homes for All? The Future of Public Housing"
New Cities Virtual Conference: New Housing Solutions Live
May 14, 2020
Quoted in Texas Tribune article, "Eviction proceedings and debt collections can resume this month, Texas Supreme Court orders"
April 7, 2020
Quoted in Texas Observer story on community land trusts
February 24, 2020
Guest on Texas Public Radio's program, the Source
Guest on hour-long radio program discussing the UT Law Entrepreneurship and Community Clinic's report on San Antonio's vanishing mobile home parks
February 14, 2020
Panelist at ABA Mid-Year Meeting, for Panel on "Legally Stolen Lands: Impacts and Remedies for Historically Disadvantaged People"
December 9, 2019
Interviewed by Houston Public Media on the Uprooted Project and New Anti-Displacement Website
Houston Public Media
October 14, 2019
"Place Matters: The Role of Public Housing Authorities in Expanding Inclusion in the US"
Paper co-authored with UT colleagues Elizabeth Mueller, Jake Wegmann, and Deidre Zoll presented at the International Forum on Housing and Community Development
September 4, 2019
Presenter, Community Benefits Agreements: What's All the Buzz About?
Poverty Law Conference — State Bar of Texas
May 23, 2019
Panelist, "Residential Preference Policies and the Fair Housing Act"
American Bar Association Affordable Housing and Community Development Forum Annual Conference
May 17, 2019
Presenter, "How to advocate for more equitable uses of tax increment financing and other tax subsidies to support community development and fair housing goals."
May 9, 2019
Presenter: Gentrification and Displacement Mitigation Tools
City of Dallas Housing Policy Taskforce, Neighborhood Quality of Life Committee
May 8, 2019
Presentation on Community Land Trusts
The Real Estate Council, Dallas, Texas
March 5, 2019
Panelist, "Local Strategies to Address Displacement in Gentrifying Neighborhoods"
Texas Association of Community Development Corporations, 2019 Annual Conference
June 15, 2018
Presenter at the conference: Heirs Property in the South: Fostering Stable Ownership to Prevent Land Loss and Abandonment
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Presentation on "From Cities to Colonias: Strategies to Stop the Regeneration of Heirs' Property"
April 10, 2018
Quoted in Atlantic Monthly article on predatory lending with seller financing products
"A House You Can Buy, But Never Own: African Americans in the same neighborhoods decimated by subprime lending are now being targeted with new predatory loan offerings, a lawsuit argues," by Alana Semuels
February 6, 2018
Interviewed on Houston Matters, Houston Public Media, on Houston's dangerous apartment epidemic
"Update: UT Report Cricizes How City of Houston Conducts Apartment Inspections"
February 6, 2018
Quoted in Houston Chronicle article on Houston's dangerous apartment epidemic
"Houston's apartment safety measures 'severely inadequate' UT study finds"
September 2, 2017
Interviewed on NPR's All Things Considered on clouded titles impacting natural disaster victims
"How Clouded Titles Affect Victims of Natural Disasters"
April 14, 2017
Presenter on "Strategies to Combat Substandard Rental Housing"
State Bar of Texas 2017 Poverty Law Conference
April 3, 2017
Presenter on "Fair Housing and Issues in Community Development"
Texas Association of Community Development Corporations Annual Conference
February 21, 2017
Quoted in Houston Chronicle
"Putting numbers on Houstn's demand for affordable housing," by Lydia DePhillis
February 20, 2017
Invited Panelist on Affordable Housing Priorities for Harris County and Houston
Houston and Harris County Housing Conversation Summit
August 15, 2016
Invited Testimony before the Texas Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee on Fair Housing in Texas
June 1, 2016
Quoted in article on PBS NewsHour's Rundown Blog
"Here's why low-income households may gamble with homeownership"
May 23, 2016
Presentation on "Healthy, Sustainable and Quality Communities" at Texas Access to Justice Foundation Meeting
May 10, 2016
Quoted in New York Times article on contract for deed issues
"Contract for Deed Lending Gets Federal Scrutiny," by Matthew Goldstein and Alexandar Stevenson.
April 22, 2016
Moderator of Panel on "United Our Dividing City: Closing the Racial Wealth Gap"
LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas
February 20, 2016
Quoted in New York Times Article
"Market for Fixer-Uppers Traps Low-Income Buyers," by Matthew Goldstein and Alexandra Stevenson
February 19, 2016
Quoted in Austin American-Statesman Article
"Poor tenants vs. development: Case microcosm of changing East Austin," by Shonda Novak
Fall 2015 to Spring 2016
Organizer of series of UT Opportunity Forum events on "Uniting Our Divided City"
As one of the most segregated cities in the U.S., Austin has a long history of inequity that has left deep divisions across many sectors of our community. How has the city reached this point, and what can be done to address these persistent divides? This Opportunity Forum series explored a number of issues related to Austin's racial and ethnic inequalities, including wealth divides, educational divides, and health disparities.
October 15, 2015
Roundtable Leader on "The Multiple Meanings of Blight: from injustice and social disorder to reclamation of vacant properties and urban regeneration"
Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning Annual Conference
July 27, 2015
Quoted in Austin American-Statesman Article
"Report: Austin program to track, improve unsafe housing isn't enforced," by James Barragan and Lilly Rockwell
July 27, 2015
Quoted in KUT News Story
"Report Calls for Action on 'Repeat Offender' Properties"
Co-Author of “An Analysis of Austin’s Repeat Offender Program and Efforts to Address Dangerous Rental Properties.” The report expands on the Clinic’s prior work in this area and outlines a number of policy recommendations to improve Austin’s programs for addressing dangerous properties. The report follows a series of tragedies involving hazardous conditions at local rental properties, which have led to the displacement of dozens of low-income tenants, as well as deaths.
May 8, 2015
Presenter and Panelist, "Low-Income Homeowners and the Problem of Tangled Titles: Innovative Strategies to Secure Homeownership Assets," at the ABA/NLADA Equal Justice Conference
Speaker on "Legal Hot Topics in Community Development"
Texas Association of Community Development Corporations Annual Conference in Houston
Op-Ed Author, "Texas must do more to create inclusive affordable housing," published in the Austin American-Statesman and San Antonio Express News.
August 13, 2013
Addressing Problem Properties: Legal and Policy Tools for a Safer Rundberg and Safer Austin
Report and Executive Summary: www.utexas.edu/law/clinics/community/workhighlights.php
October 26, 2012
Opportunity Forum Gentrification Series: Protecting Tenants Displaced from Redevelopment Projects
LBJ School of Public Affairs
October 21, 2012
Informal contracts still put many Texas homeowners at risk, UT study shows
September 12, 2012
Breakdown of Austin's 2012 Tax and Fee Increases
August 31, 2012
Tenant Displacement in Austin
A Policy Report Analyzing the City of Austin's Tenant Relocation Policy at Shoreline Apartments with Recommendations for a City-Wide Policy Approach
August 31, 2012
The Contract for Deed Prevalence Project
A Final Report to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA)
March 22, 2012
Expanding Fair Housing Opportunities for Low-Income Minority Families
UT School of Law
Access Heather K. Way's PowerPoint presentation and video of the panel here.
February 2, 2012
Next Generation of Smart Growth: The Mueller Community
New Partners for Smart Growth Conference
October 1, 2011
LBJ School of Public Affairs and William Wayne Justice Center Collaborate on a ‘Contract for Deed’ Study in Texas Colonias
April 30, 2011
Fair Housing Legal Toolkit for Permanent Supportive Housing Providers: Addressing Local Opposition to PSH Developments
Prepared by the Community Development Clinic
January 31, 2011
Linking Transportation and Affordable Housing
Presentation for the City of Austin's Affordable Housing Forum
August 31, 2010
Furthering Fair Housing Choices for Voucher Tenants: A Report for HousingWorks
A report written by the Community Development Clinic.
November 30, 2009
Texas Problem Properties Toolkit: A Resource to Help Texas Communities Address Problems Created by Abandoned and Vacant Properties, 2010 Edition
A toolkit created by the Community Development Clinic.
September 16, 2009
Expanding the San Antonio Toolkit to Create Sustainable & Affordable Housing Opportunities: Models from Austin and Beyond
San Antonio Community Development Summit
May 20, 2009
The Texas Two-Step: Local Resources and Regulations that Increase Affordable Housing
American Bar Association, Forum on Housing and Community Development Law, 18th Annual Conference:
November 30, 2007
Building Hope: Tools for Transforming Abandoned and Blighted Properties into Community Assets: A Report on Dallas, Texas
A report prepared for Builders of Hope by the Community Development Clinic.
March 31, 2007
Preserving Austin's Multifamily Rental Housing: A Toolkit
A toolkit prepared for HousingWorks Austin by the Community Development Clinic.