In a new investigative report published by the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), six major banks have been accused of actively engaging in discriminatory practices in the maintenance and marketing of foreclosed Real Estate Owned (REO) properties in predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods. That translates into foreclosed homes in Black and Latino areas across the country less likely to be as well kept and marketed as those in white neighborhoods.
CEO and President of the NFHA, Shanna L. Smith, said in a press release that the report “offers evidence that banks responsible for peddling unsustainable loans to communities of color and triggering our current foreclosure crisis are continuing to damage those communities by failing to properly maintain and market the properties they own.”
The report looked at nine cities and cited “extremely troubling disparities.” For instance, in Philadelphia, PA, 41 percent of foreclosed homes in African American communities were cited with more than 10 distinct maintenance or marketing problems. In contrast, not one property in a predominantly white community was cited with the same. And in Phoenix, AZ, 73 percent of REO properties in Latino neighborhoods were missing a “For Sale” sign. The same could only be said for 31 percent of homes in predominantly white neighborhoods.
Marred by disrepair and neglect, the report goes on to state that the abandoned homes, “degrade the quality of life in these neighborhoods.”
Under the federal Fair Housing Act, it is illegal to engage in discriminatory practices with regards to real estate-related transactions. The NFHA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development plan to file administrative complaints against the banks in question.
Other cities that were part of the report include Dallas; Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; Miami/Fort Lauderdale; Oakland, Calif. Per the Fair Housing Act, it’s illegal to engage in discriminatory practices with regards to real estate-related transactions. Both the NFHA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development plan to file complaints against the accused banks.