FHC joins National Fair Housing Alliance and 18 Fair Housing Organizations to charge Deutsche Bank, Ocwen Financial and their Preservation Maintenance Companies with Housing Discrimination based on Race and National Origin

[ A+ ] /[ A- ]

 

Today, the Fair Housing Center of the Greater Palm Beaches joined the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and 18 fair housing organizations to  announce the filing of an amended administrative complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Complainants allege that Deutsche Bank AG, Deutsche Bank National Trust, Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, Ocwen Financial Corporation, and Altisource Portfolio Solutions, Inc. fail to provide required routine maintenance on bank-owned homes in middle- and working-class African American and Latino neighborhoods, while Deutsche/Ocwen/Altisource consistently provide routine maintenance on similar bank-owned homes in white neighborhoods in 30 metropolitan areas throughout the United States.

 

 

Poorly maintained bank-owned properties create a harmful and dangerous environment for the local community. They also drive down the property value of homes owned by neighbors–causing the overall community to be economically depressed. The practice of neglecting bank-owned properties in African American and Latino communities increases the economic divide, perpetuates segregation, and denies the people who live in these communities the right to fair and safe housing.

NFHA filed its original complaint against Deutsche Bank, et al. on February 26, 2014. The complaint now adds Ocwen and Altisource as respondents in the 30 metropolitan areas. Deutsche Bank contracts with Ocwen and Altisource to provide preservation maintenance and marketing for the overwhelming majority of properties for which the Bank is listed as owner of record.

The evidence presented in this complaint includes approximately 30,000 photographs of Deutsche Bank-owned homes in communities of color and predominantly white neighborhoods in 30  metropolitan areas. This  substantial photographic evidence shows a stark pattern of discriminatory conduct in the maintenance of bank-owned homes in communities of color. The amended administrative complaint brings to 1,100 the number of Deutsche-owned homes investigated by NFHA and its partners.

Poorly maintained bank-owned properties have a negative effect on the health of a local community. According to a report by Mariana Arcaya, Sc.D., M.C.P, of the American Heart Association, living near a foreclosed home can increase a person’s blood pressure “due in part to unhealthy stress from residents’ perception that their own properties are less valuable, their streets less attractive or safe and their neighborhoods less stable.”

 

Windows, doors, and holes left open, unsecured, or broken at vacant bank-owned properties allow for water to accumulate and stagnate. As a result, Deutsche Bank’s poorly maintained homes serve as the perfect environment for mold and discoloration to develop. In fact, a recent study conducted by Midwest Aerobiology Labs found 36 molds specific to foreclosed homes and also concluded that 88 percent of foreclosed homes contained a dangerous mold capable of causing childhood asthma and other diseases in humans.

Stagnant water and overgrown grass were frequent issues at homes for which Deutsche Bank is the owner of record, in African American and Latino neighborhoods.  These provide a fertile habitat for mosquitos, rodents, termites, roaches, and other pests. These pests often carry diseases such as Zika and Hantavirus and present serious health risks to nearby residents. These vermin infestations commonly spread to nearby homes.

 

 

“Just imagine the health impact the families in communities of color experience living near these poorly maintained Deutsche Bank homes,” said Smith.  “By neglecting their properties, Deutsche Bank, Ocwen, and Altisource are putting at risk the health of African American and Latino residents living near these properties.”  Smith added, “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.”

This isn’t a new problem for Deutsche Bank. In June 2013, Deutsche Bank settled a lawsuit with the City of Los Angeles for $10 million after it was accused of allowing hundreds of bank-owned properties to fall into slum conditions, leading to the destabilization of communities.  “It’s my understanding that Deutsche Bank required its preservation maintenance companies to pay most of the $10 million to resolve that case, so you would expect Deutsche/Ocwen/ Altisource to monitor maintenance to ensure these shameful, discriminatory practices of neglecting routine maintenance in middle/working class communities of color ended.  Unfortunately, we still find these horrid conditions at too many bank-owned homes in communities of color,” said Smith.

Click here to View Data of the Greater Palm Beaches

Click here to View Map of affected Communities

Click here to View Complaint

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter
Copyright © Fair Housing Center of the Greater Palm Beaches 2013. All Rights Reserved. 1-877-910-FAIR (3247)