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The Fair Housing Center Joined the National Fair Housing Alliance and 18 Other Fair Housing Organizations to File a National Housing Discrimination Complaint Against Deutsche Bank, Ocwen Financial, and Altisource

On July 26, 2017, The Fair Housing Center joined the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and 18 other fair housing organizations to announce new evidence in support of allegations that Deutsche Bank, Ocwen Financial, and Altisource companies continue to discriminate against communities of color in 30 metropolitan areas across the United States. An amended administrative complaint filed with HUD accuses Deutsche Bank AG, Deutsche Bank National Trust, Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, Ocwen Financial Corporation, and Altisource Portfolio Solution, Inc. of failing to provide required routine maintenance on bank-owned homes in middle- and working-class African American and Latino neighborhoods, while consistently providing routine maintenance on similar bank-owned homes in white neighborhoods. 1,100 homes were investigated across the U.S., and approximately 30,000 photographs reveal a stark pattern of discriminatory conduct.

“We can’t expect to rebuild our community if banks don’t take responsibility for keeping their properties in decent condition,” commented Michael Marsh, President and CEO of The Fair Housing Center. “By failing to perform basic tasks like mowing the lawn or fixing broken windows, Deutsche, Ocwen, and Altisource are directly contributing to the blight and instability in our neighborhoods of color. This is what we fight for every day: to make sure all families in our community have the same opportunity to live in safe, thriving neighborhoods, and to hold banks accountable for the role they play in that.”

Poorly maintained bank-owned properties create a harmful and dangerous environment for the local community. They also drive down the property value of homes owned by neighbors – causing the overall community to be economically depressed. The practice of neglecting foreclosed properties in African American and Latino communities increases the economic divide, perpetuates segregation, and denies people within these communities the right to fair and safe housing.

NFHA asserts that Deutsche Bank’s properties in predominantly white working- and middle-class neighborhoods are far more likely to have the lawns mowed and edged regularly, invasive weeds and vines removed, windows and doors secured or repaired, litter and trash removed, leaves raked, and graffiti erased from the property. “Yet, Deutsche Bank-owned homes in predominantly middle-and working-class African American and Latino neighborhoods are more likely to be left neglected with debris and trash on the property, wildly overgrown grass, and invasive plants covering the yards. Windows and doors are often unsecured, left wide open, or boarded, and graffiti as well as dead animals are left on the premises,” said Shanna Smith, President and CEO of NFHA.

She added, “Poor maintenance destroys a home’s curb appeal and invites vandalism or squatters because the home appears to be abandoned. Also, the blight caused by this neglect results in declining home values for African American and Latino families who live nearby, deepening the racial wealth gap and inequality in America.”

View photos of the properties here.

View a map of affected communities at nationalfairhousing.org/community-map/.

Highlights of Significant Racial Disparities in Toledo

Between 2012 and 2016, The Fair Housing Center investigated 25 Deutsche Bank foreclosures in African American, Latino, and White neighborhoods in metro Toledo.

  • 4% of the Deutsche Bank homes in African American neighborhoods had unsecured or broken doors, while only 18.8% in predominantly white neighborhoods had the same problem.
  • 6% of the Deutsche Bank homes in African American neighborhoods had damaged steps or handrails, while none of the Deutsche properties in white neighborhoods had the same problem.
  • 7% of the Deutsche homes in African American neighborhoods had broken or boarded windows, while only 31.3% of the Deutsche properties in white neighborhoods had the same problem.
  • 7% of the Deutsche Bank homes in African American neighborhoods had broken or hanging gutters, while only 12.5% of Deutsche properties in predominantly white neighborhoods had the same problem.


Below is a list of the 30 metro areas involved in the investigation:


Baltimore, MD
Baton Rouge, LA
Chicago, IL
Cleveland, OH
Columbus, OH
Dallas, TX
Dayton, OH
Denver, CO
Detroit, MI (suburban communities)
Gary, IN
Grand Rapids, MI
Greater Palm Beaches, FL
Hampton Roads, VA
Hartford, CT
Indianapolis, IN
Kansas City, MO
Memphis, TN
Miami, FL
Milwaukee, WI
Minneapolis, MN
Muskegon, MI
New Orleans, LA
Orlando, FL
Philadelphia, PA
Prince George’s Cty, MD/Washington, D.C.
Providence, RI
Richmond, VA
Tampa, FL
Toledo, OH
Vallejo, CA

Detailed statistics and photos are available at www.nationalfairhousing.org.

 

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