On June 23, 15 Democratic Senators sent a letter to seven Administration officials, calling on the Administration to investigate alleged disparities in the way foreclosed homes in minority communities are maintained and marketed. Such differential treatment would potentially violate the Fair Housing Act if based on the racial makeup of the community.
The letter, organized by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), cites a 2014 report published by the National Fair Housing Alliance that found that real estate owned (REO) properties in minority communities “were much more likely to have a higher number of maintenance and marketing deficiencies, leading to destabilizing outcomes for families and neighborhoods.” REO properties in these communities were more than twice as likely to have large amounts of trash and debris on the premises, and unsecured, broken, or damaged doors when compared to properties in predominately white communities.
The letter urges the Administration to take appropriate actions to address this problem, including “consulting with fair housing advocates and representatives of the affected communities to identify additional regulatory, supervisory, or enforcement steps that might be needed to cure existing disparities and prevent future deficiencies.”
NLIHC supports the Senators’ letter, along with several civil rights and affordable housing advocates, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP, and the National Fair Housing Alliance.
The National Fair Housing Alliance report is at http://www.mvfairhousing.com/pdfs/2014-08-27_NFHA_REO_report.PDF