Banks Neglect Seized Homes in Minority Neighborhoods, Report Says

John W. Schoen, MSNBC, April 5, 2012

Banks are doing a much better job maintaining homes seized in foreclosures in predominantly white neighborhoods than in mostly black and Latino neighborhoods, according to an investigation by an advocacy group.

The National Fair Housing Alliance said it inspected more than 1,000 foreclosed properties in white and minority neighborhoods in nine major U.S. metro areas and found a wide disparity in the level of upkeep. Houses in white neighborhoods were generally well maintained while those in minority neighborhoods typically looked abandoned and were in various stages of disrepair, the report said.

The group, a consortium of more than 200 groups, agencies and individuals, said it plans to file complaints with federal housing authorities, alleging discrimination under the Fair Housing Act, against banks that are not maintaining properties. The group did not identify the banks.

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The investigation, conducted between May 2011 and February 2012, was funded in part by a grant from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. The report compared white and minority neighborhoods in Atlanta; Baltimore; Dallas; Dayton, Ohio; Miami-Fort Lauderdale; Oakland, Calif.; Philadelphia; Phoenix; and Washington. Smith said government mortgage agency Fannie Mae is providing additional funding to extend the inspections into other areas.

The reviewers looked at 39 criteria in rating the level of property maintenance, including accumulated trash, overgrown weeds, damaged windows, steps or roofs, graffiti, peeling paint, missing shutters or gutters, and other visible signs of disrepair. Homes surveyed in minority neighborhoods were 82 percent more likely to have boarded-up or broken windows, for example.

The group said lack of adequate maintenance can have a lasting impact on neighborhoods because potential home buyers considering living there are put off by streets lined with run-down houses.

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  • IstvanIN

    They are afraid to send inspectors, gardeners, workmen and cleaning ladies in to maintain them.  They don’t want them shot, raped, and mugged.  They do not want the work trucks stolen or the tools and supplies.  Probably cheaper to let the house fall down.

  • Mitigating concern:  The foreclosed homes in “minority” (read: black and Hispanic) neighborhoods were never that well tended or cared for by their owners, nor any of the surrounding homes.  The banks don’t have to take care of foreclosed homes in minority neighborhoods, because they’ll fit right in.  Too, if they do spend money to maintain it, the remaining denizens will tear them all up anyway, meaning the money was wasted.

  • ncpride

    The group said lack of adequate maintenance can have a lasting impact on neighborhoods because
    potential home buyers considering living there are put off by streets lined with run-down houses.

    Wrong! They are put off by WHO is living there and their lasting impact on those neighborhoods.

  • Why in the hell would ANY bank dump money into a house that is just going to be torn down by the same minorities??  This is truly madness!  Why should the bank waste it’s money and the safety of the people it will have to send to fix these homes??  Remember Derek Vinyard’s father was killed trying to put out a fire in a crack den in compton…..

  • They know those homes are lost causes. It would be a shame to put money into it to make it nice and have a meth lab set up in it and be condemed

  • Are they claiming that the houses in the white neighborhoods had windows broken out and gang graffiti sprayed on and the banks cleaned those up? Maybe the houses in the white neighborhoods were not vandalized, so the banks didn’t have to maintain them.

  • This_Name_Doesnt_Exist

    If my neighbor’s house went into foreclosure, I’d mow the lawn and paint over graffiti before I’d let a sore fester on the other side of my fence line.

    It’s the people living in a neighborhood that determine its character.  There’s not a word in here to prove that it’s the banks doing this.  Perhaps homeowners’ associations chip in to keep up these houses.  Perhaps the people living next door to these foreclosed homes in upscale neighborhoods are leaning on the banks to keep them up, and without that it wouldn’t be happening.  Perhaps not.  These figurers don’t seem to have dug that deep in compiling their study.  They decided their hypothesis was true before they performed their study, just like they always do. 

    Any time the government and media find an excuse to stir up the racial hornet’s nest they ignore facts.  Those are for thinking people, not the types that eat this garbage up.

  • 1proactive2

    Articles with these complaints have me convinced of 2 absolutes:

    1.  The complainers do not have a clue as to what local street people do to clean but empty homes in black or brown neighborhoods.  When said street vermin see a neat and orderly home, a trigger goes off in what they have for a brain and the destruction begins.  Childlike envy and resentment are but two of the primary motivators among 3rd world street destroyers.  And then there’s destruction just for the fun of it. An empty home in a minority neighborhood is the ultimate money pit.

    2.  Or the complainers just want to continue to generate hostility which results in a handsome payday for the them.  The lawsuits fly and some “activiss” (ebonics) organization gets a gubmint grant to squander.  Works every time. 

  • bluffcreek1967

    This is a no-brainer. The banks don’t maintain the seized properties of Blacks because they know that any improvements they make will be destroyed or vandalized by other Blacks in the community. They know some of the properties have ‘squatters’ on them or are used as ‘crash houses’ in which drugs are used and sold. They also know that any respectable White person who tries to make any improvements will be targeted for crime.

    Moreover, the article also subtly tells us something about the differences between Blacks and Whites. Even when Whites are unable to pay for their homes and thus forced to forclose, they generally leave them in a liveable and maintained condition. Blacks, on the other hand, often destroy or ruin almost everything valuable they possess. It’s not merely the dwellings they’re given via Section 8 Housing, but even when many of them are able to actually pay for their homes they end up dilapidated and in shabby conditions. The proof of this is seen in virtually every community that’s dominated by Blacks – and whatever exceptions one might point to only demonstrates the truth of this point.   

  • occam24

    The article is conflating poverty and crime.  They’re not the same; in fact they’re more like opposites.   Professional criminals have plenty of money.

    Graffiti and broken windows result from crime; the other ‘symptoms’ result from insufficient money. 

    I live in a white working-class neighborhood that’s about as safe and crime-free as you can get in an urban area.  Lots of houses have peeling paint or broken gutters, but there’s zero graffiti and zero broken windows, even on the few obviously abandoned houses.