Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank have let foreclosed homes in black and Latino neighborhoods lapse into disrepair, while bank-owned homes in mainly white neighborhoods are better cared-for, according to housing advocates.
The National Fair Housing Alliance, a non-profit group, brought a formal complaint to the Department of Housing and Urban Development last week alleging that Wells Fargo violated the Fair Housing Act by failing to keep up homes in minority neighborhoods. Today, the group announced they are also filing a second complaint, against U.S. Bank.
Earlier this month, the group released a survey, which was funded in part by HUD, of more than 1,000 unoccupied, foreclosed homes across the country owned by unspecified banks. When a house is foreclosed upon, the bank that takes it over is responsible for maintaining it. The report cites evidence — photos and interviews with neighbors — showing houses becoming dilapidated under banks' watch.
The complaint against Wells Fargo claims that among more than 200 homes surveyed, those in black and Latino neighborhoods were much more likely to have yards filled with trash, broken doors, damaged windows, and other signs of neglect. Fewer homes in those neighborhoods had "for sale" signs visible. For example, 68 out of 149 homes in black and Latino neighborhoods had damaged roofs, compared to only nine out of 69 properties in white neighborhoods.
The study looked at homes owned by Wells Fargo in Washington D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, Dallas, Miami, ...