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Housing groups say Deutsche Bank neglected its vacant homes in black, Hispanic areas

0 July 30, 2017 in Farah News by noura

Housing groups say Deutsche Bank neglected its vacant homes in black, Hispanic areas

Douglas Allen has lived in the same three-bedroom home in a quiet West Kendall suburb for 23 years. When the late-night parties at the vacant house next door started, he called police.

"We could smell marijuana and hear noises and loud music,” said Allen, 74. "The police would come and shut the parties down and everyone went home. But then a week or two later, it would happen again.”

Allen says the revelers were able to get into the property because the front doors weren’t locked and some of the windows had been smashed. So he called the county commissioner’s office in Kendall to complain. A few days later, the broken panes were boarded up. A digital turnkey lock used by Realtors was placed on the front door. A new gate barring access to the rear of the property was installed.

But the house, which is currently listed for auction on the real estate website hubzu.com, remains vacant. The front lawn is rocky and unkempt. Chunks of exterior molding are missing. The wooden front door is cracked and rotted.

According to Miami-Dade public records, Deutsche Bank and Ocwen Financial acquired the home in foreclosure for $232,800 in Feb. 2017. The previous owner purchased the house in November 2006 — just before the financial recession and housing crash — for $380,000.

Deutsche, Ocwen and the real estate management firm Altisource are the targets of an expanded complaint alleging racial discrimination filed by the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA). The complaint, originally filed in 2014 with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, was amended this week. It charges that the companies failed to keep up bank-owned homes in African-American and Hispanic neighborhoods in 30 U.S. metro areas, including Miami-Fort Lauderdale, with the same routine maintenance they provided properties in predominantly white neighborhoods.

NFHA, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit advocate for equal housing opportunities, claims Deutsche, Ocwen and Altisource failed to clear garbage and debris from the targeted homes, which were foreclosed after the housing crash in 2008; lawns and shrubbery were not maintained; broken windows and doors were not repaired; graffiti, water damage and peeling paint were left unchecked.

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