Foreclosed homes in black, Latino neighborhoods get little maintenance, according to report

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Foreclosed homes in heavily-black and Latino neighborhoods are far more likely to be left with inadequate maintenance than those in majority-white neighborhoods, according to a recent investigation by the National Fair Housing Alliance.

Investigators from the group looked at more than 1,000 foreclosed homes in nine major metropolitan areas around the country, including Atlanta, Baltimore and Oakland and found patterns of unequal treatment of the foreclosed homes across the country.

“While REO (real-estate owned) properties in predominantly White neighborhoods were more likely to have neatly manicured lawns, securely locked doors, and attractive “for sale” signs out front, homes in communities of color were more likely to have overgrown yards littered with trash, unsecured doors, broken windows, and indications of marketing as a distressed sale,” the report concludes, “REO properties in communities of color generally appeared vacant, abandoned, blighted and unappealing to real estate agents who might market the unit to homebuyers.”

The alliance argues that not maintaining these homes will hurt minority neighborhoods, both discouraging people from buying the foreclosed homes, and driving down the value of other residences in those neighborhoods.

The report is the latest illustration of the damage caused by the foreclosure crisis, particularly among African-Americans.