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Civil Rights Group Amends Complaint on Property Maintenance Bias

Phil Hall
Jul 26, 2017
The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) has filed an amended administrative complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development charging Deutsche Bank, Ocwen Financial Corp. and Altisource Portfolio Solutions with discriminatory practices in

The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) has filed an amended administrative complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development charging Deutsche Bank, Ocwen Financial Corp. and Altisource Portfolio Solutions with discriminatory practices in predominantly non-white communities within 30 metropolitan areas.
 
In its complaint, the NFHA accused the three companies of failing to provide required routine maintenance on bank-owned homes in middle- and working-class African American and Latino neighborhoods, while consistently ensuring there was routine maintenance on similar bank-owned homes in white neighborhoods. NFHA first a complaint against Deutsche Bank on Feb. 26, 2014, and the new complaint adds Ocwen and Altisource as respondents.
 
“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,” said Shanna Smith, President and CEO of NFHA. “Windows and doors are often unsecured, left wide open, or boarded, and graffiti as well as dead animals are left on the premises. 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.”
 
John Lovallo, a spokesperson for Ocwen, said, "We strongly deny the National Fair Housing Alliance’s allegations, and believe they lack credible evidence and have no merit. The company will vigorously defend itself against these allegations. Ocwen cares about communities, and is committed to equal maintenance and marketing of bank-owned homes no matter where they are located in the U.S. We believe we have in place the necessary quality control standards designed to ensure that all properties are handled consistently regardless of their location. NFHA has made these same allegations against at least eight other institutions."

 
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