Bank Accused of Discrimination in Maintenance of Foreclosed Orlando Homes
A coalition of housing rights groups claims Bank of America is failing to properly maintain foreclosed homes in African American neighborhoods in Orlando. The groups led by the National Fair Housing Alliance are filing a complaint against the bank with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The National Fair Housing Alliance investigated 14 homes in several zip codes around Orlando including the central city and Pine Hills
Peter Romer-Friedman, an attorney for the group, says in mainly African American neighborhoods, Real Estate Owned- or REO- properties had more problems than REO homes in predominantly white communities.
“Trash on the property, overgrown leaves, broken locks, missing shutters or hanging gutters," said Romer-Friedman.
"There is simply no legal justification for failing to address these basic maintenance problems in communities of color, while fixing them in white communities.”
Romer-Friedman says failing to maintain or market foreclosed homes in African American neighborhoods is a classic form of discrimination.
The Fair Housing Alliance identified hundreds of homes in eight other cities across the US in a complaint against Bank of America lodged in September. Today the group added homes in Orlando and Charleston to the list.
In a statement, Bank of America denied the allegations and said it stands behind its home maintenance and marketing practises.
The statement said the bank is "committed to stabilizing and revitalizing communities that have been impacted by the economic downturn, foreclosures and property abandonment."
"We actively address the needs of such communities through existing programs, partnerships with non profits and governments and continued investment in innovative programs," the statement said.