The National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) has filed fair housing complaints against three real estate providers for discriminating against prospective Asian American clients.
The complaints, filed July 27, 2021, with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), allege that the three real estate firms demonstrated a preference for working with White clients, rather than Asian American clients.
The complaints against Douglas Home Consulting Real Estate in Douglas, Wyoming, River Realty in Afton, Wyoming, and Keller Williams The Knick Team in Ann Arbor, Michigan, were based on tests conducted by NCRC that found three real estate agents, one at each of the firms, responded to inquiries from testers with “White-sounding names,” but did not respond similarly to inquiries from testers with “Asian-sounding” names. NCRC tests found all three agents discriminated against testers with traditional Asian names on multiple occasions.
NCRC regularly conducts matched-pair tests to determine whether housing providers and lenders treat clients equally, without regard to their race or other protected characteristics. For example, two testers – one White, and the other a person of color – might be hired to contact the same real estate agency on the same day, and ask about the availability of the same home.
HUD reviews complaints to determine if an investigation is warranted, and if so then the agency attempts to have parties settle complaints through a mediation process. If mediation is not successful, then HUD determines if any violations of the Fair Housing Act occurred, and if so then it can issue fines and require staff training to prevent further discrimination. HUD has not yet issued a response to these complaints.
As a remedy, NCRC is seeking an end to the discriminatory practices and civil rights training for all of the agents.
“There is no excuse for agents to discriminate on the basis of race,” said Tracy McCracken, NCRC’s director of fair housing. “The Fair Housing Act has been in force for 53 years now. When people of color are denied the opportunity to view homes, it contributes to segregation in communities, and to racial and socio-economic inequities that deny equal access to housing and other opportunities. Hate crimes and verbal attacks against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders nearly doubled in the past year. For far too long, systemic discrimination against these communities went unnoticed or unaddressed by public officials and the private sector. We must take a stand, and refute prejudice wherever we see it, particularly when it prevents people from living in the communities of their choice.”