The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) has announced that Brotman Enterprise LLC, a Philadelphia-area real estate company, will pay $25,000 as part of a Conciliation Agreement resolving allegations that its agents discriminated against African-American prospective renters. The Brotman employees allegedly steered white testers posing as rental applicants to neighborhoods they described as safer, while directing black testers to areas agents considered “rough.”
The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to discriminate in the terms, conditions, or privileges associated with the sale or rental of a dwelling on the basis of race, including steering potential renters or homebuyers to different neighborhoods.
“Testing remains one of our most effective tools for exposing unlawful housing discrimination,” said Bryan Greene, HUD's Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD will continue to enforce the Fair Housing Act to ensure that no family has their housing options limited because of their race.”
The case came to HUD’s attention when the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), a national fair housing organization that receives HUD funds to combat housing discrimination, filed a complaint with HUD alleging that Brotman Enterprise was unlawfully denying housing opportunities to African American homeseekers. Specifically, NFHA alleged that agents from the company, based in Feasterville-Trevose, northeast of Philadelphia, steered black testers to one of its properties in a high-crime, less desirable neighborhood, while telling white testers about a different property in an area they considered to be safer.
Under the terms of the Conciliation Agreement, Brotman Enterprises will pay the National Fair Housing Alliance $25,000 in damages, get fair housing training for all of its leasing agents and managers, and establish a non-discrimination rental policy.