Los Angeles County has ended its controversial PACE home improvement loan program, a decision that follows years of criticism that the county enabled predatory lending and put people at risk of losing their homes.
County officials — who launched the PACE program in 2015 to fund energy- and water-efficient home improvements — said they made the decision after determining the program lacked adequate consumer protections.
Homeowners repeatedly alleged the private home improvement contractors who signed them up for PACE misrepresented how the financing would work, saddling them with loans they could not understand or afford.
The county also faced lawsuits alleging that government authorities failed to properly oversee the private lenders it partnered with to issue loans that, if unpaid, could lead to foreclosure.
The criticisms mirror complaints directed at other Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, programs across California that fund environmentally friendly home improvements such as solar panels, heat-blocking roofs and low-flush toilets.
In response to widespread concern, both the county and state instituted reforms in recent years, including requiring that an ability-to-repay analysis be conducted and phones calls be made with homeowners to ensure they understood the financing.
Complaints over fraud, however, continued, including instances in