Bank of America intentionally failed to maintain foreclosed homes in black and Latino neighborhoods across the country, according to a sweeping federal lawsuit.
The lawsuit, filed by 20 housing groups including the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), accuses the banking giant of violating the Fair Housing Act by neglecting properties in minority neighborhoods in 37 metro areas, while consistently maintaining similar properties in white neighborhoods, according to a report by The Virginian-Pilot. The lawsuit also names Bank of America contractor Safeguard Properties Management.
The NFHA said that a multiyear investigation of more than 1,600 homes that Bank of America foreclosed on showed obvious discrimination. In black and Latino neighborhoods, foreclosed homes consistently showed signs of neglect, including overgrown grass, graffiti, damaged steps and handrails, unsecured door and windows – even dead animals in the yards.
“Bank of America-owned homes 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, debris and trash removed, leaves raked, and graffiti erased from the property,” the NFHA said.
Bank of America said in a statement that the allegations were without merit. Safeguard accused the NFHA of waging a continued campaign of attack against it, The Virginian-Pilot reported.
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