Deutsche Bank, Ocwen Financial and real estate management firm Altisource are being accused of failing to maintain bank-owned homes in African-American and Hispanic neighborhoods across the country, including in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
The National Fair Housing Alliance amended a complaint filed in 2014 with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, alleging racial discrimination in 30 U.S. metros. NFHA is claiming that Deutsche, Ocwen and Altisource were lacking in the routine maintenance provided to properties in predominantly minority neighborhoods compared to the upkeep in mostly white neighborhoods.
Garbage, debris, overgrown landscaping, broken windows and doors, graffiti and other damage was prevalent in homes the German bank foreclosed on following the housing crash in 2008, NFHA is alleging, according to the Miami Herald. Failing to maintain the houses led to other issues that bought in police, fire and other city resources.
The housing advocate collected evidence of such discrimination in the 30 metros. In the Miami and Fort Lauderdale area, the Housing Opportunities Project for Excellence nonprofit found that nearly 75 percent of the 63 Deutsche-owned homes in neighborhoods of color had “substantial amounts of trash on the premises” and 55 percent had broken or boarded windows, according to the Miami Herald. More than 40 percent of the bank’s homes had a damaged fence.
Shanna Smith, president of NFHA, said the investor-owned homes change a neighborhood’s demographic, raising interest and insurance rates as a result. [Miami Herald] – Katherine Kallergis