The National Fair Housing Alliance has added Philadelphia to a housing-discrimination complaint against Bank of America, which it says neglected and failed to market foreclosed homes in non-white neighborhoods, while taking better care of the houses in white communities. In a study of 27 Bank of America real-estate-owned homes in greater Philadelphia, the Alliance found that houses in communities of color were two times more likely to have "substantial amounts of trash," and three times more likely to have no hand-rails on their front steps or to have damaged steps. In communities of color, 78 percent of Bank of America real-estate-owned homes were missing for-sale signs.
They also documented, in communities of color, boarded up windows, overgrown lawns, undersize for-sale signs and front doors left unlocked.
Philly was one of five cities added to a complaint against Bank of America originally filed one year ago. The others were Denver, Memphis, Tucson and Las Vegas. The federal Fair Housing Act makes it potentially illegal to fail to market or maintain homes based on a neighborhood's ethnic or racial composition.
The Housing Alliance says it first notified Bank of America of the problem in 2009, but it hasn't acted to resolve the issue. The result, they argue, is further decline in non-white neighborhoods.
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