This Real Estate Company Will Pay $46,000 For Discriminatory Practices

The National Fair Housing Alliance has settled a case with a Mississippi realty group for discriminatory real estate practices. The Clarion-Ledger reports that Lorgroup LLC, doing business as RE/MAX Alliance, kept white home buyers away from mixed and predominately black neighborhoods, and black potential buyers often did not receive calls back from their realtors at all. 

A recent survey found that 78% of home buyers believe their realtors were a useful source of information. Obviously, that can’t be true when a potential buyer is discriminated against by their real estate agent. As a result of the settlement, Lorgroup will pay $46,000 to Washington-based NFHA. They will also be required to attend a fair housing training and hang fair housing signage in their realty offices, The Clarion-Ledger Reports. The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity will oversee the settlement. 

The Clarion-Ledger reports that the investigation began in 2015. The NFHA’s investigation involved telephone and in-person testing of how black customers were treated compared to white customers. They found that the real estate company gave white customers a wealth of information about predominately white neighborhoods, and were often not shown more diverse or mostly black neighborhoods. As for the black customers, they often did not even receive a call back when they left messages about purchasing homes. 

Lee Garland, a realtor with Lorgroup LLC said in 2015 and now that the company does not allow discrimination in their practices. 

“In 2015 when NFHA filed a complaint of discrimination against us, we were dumbfounded,” he said in a statement to The Clarion-Ledger. “Discrimination on any level is forbidden within our company and certainly never appropriate.”

Real estate segregation, or “snob zoning,” has become a national issue, and efforts like that by the NFHA are meant to make housing more equal. 

“This victory should send a strong message to real estate agents in the Jackson area that racial steering will not be tolerated and that their practices are being monitored,” Shanna Smith, president of NFHA, said in a statement to The Clarion-Ledger. “Furthermore, African-American homebuyers should expect equal treatment and services when they are buying homes.”

She added that anyone who things they have been discriminated against by their real estate agent or company should contact the NHFA at 1-800-910-7315 or 202-898-1661.

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