New study shows systemic real estate discrimination in African-American and Latino communities

Apr 5, 2012
A recent investigation uncovered discriminatory real estate maintenance in African-American and Latino communities

According to the Fair Housing Act, property owners and financial institutions that own or foreclose upon pieces of real estate are legally responsible for maintaining these properties to the best of their abilities regardless of the race, national origin, sex, religion, disability or familial status of individuals in that neighborhood.

However, a recent press release describes how an undercover investigation undertaken by the National Fair Housing Alliance regarding the maintenance and marketing practices of American financial organizations found that Real Estate Owned (REO) properties in communities largely populated by African-American and Latino individuals are negligently cared for when compared to real estate in largely Caucasian communities.

"This report [entitled The Banks Are Back, Our Neighborhoods Are Not: Discrimination in the Maintenance and Marketing of REO Properties] 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," said the National Fair Housing's President and CEO, Shanna Smith in the release.

For example, after evaluating 1,000 REO properties across the country, it was discovered that REO properties in communities of color were 82 percent more likely to contain damaged windows than properties occupied by Caucasians.

Moreover, the report states that proper real estate marketing was far inferior in African-American and Latino communities, diminishing the likelihood of re-occupying those areas.

Considering these statistics, residents subjected to the negligence of a financial institution or real estate agency may be suffering as improper property maintenance in their neighborhood decreases the value of their homes, which they may go to great lengths to maintain the property themselves.

Consequently, any individuals in Missouri who have experienced damages because of this systemic discrimination can turn to an experienced Kansas City attorney to pursue the negligent parties for their illegal actions in the courtroom.