Bank of America is currently facing a complaint that the company is failing to properly take care of and market homes that have been foreclosed on in minority neighborhoods while spending more money and effort in the upkeep of homes in white neighborhoods. According to the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) which filed the complaint last year, this trend can be observed in cities across the nation.
A growing problem
When a home is foreclosed on, it’s the lender’s responsibility to take care of the home until it is auctioned off. That includes regular maintenance of the home and property and keeping out squatters. Alarming evidence suggests that Bank of America and other banks are only taking the responsibility with homes in predominantly white areas. Meanwhile foreclosed homes in ethnic neighborhoods are left to deteriorate.
The problem goes beyond neglected homes. When a neighborhood has a number of homes that fallen into disrepair, the neighborhood becomes unsightly. Foreclosed properties are often targeted by squatters and trash piles up quickly. These abandoned properties cause the cost of homes in the area to drop which in turn leads to people looking to invest in a second property to buy homes that will not be inhabited.
Bank of America’s response
According to the Bank of America, the NFHA’s complaint doesn’t paint a fair picture of the situation. A spokesman for Bank of America claims that NFHA’s report didn’t account for the condition of the property when it became the bank’s possession. Furthermore, many of the properties cited by the NFHA were the responsibility of other entities. For instance, some properties already in poor condition were donated to local groups which failed to clean them up.
The complaint was filed with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) which funded the NFHA’s investigation of the Bank of America in an attempt to fight discrimination in housing markets.
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