WVXU/NPR: Man files federal complaint alleging racial discrimination in Cincinnati property appraisal

WVXU/NPR, February 27, 2023, Man Files Federal Complaint Alleging Racial Discrimination In Cincinnati Property Appraisal

Terry Horton was going to refinance a North Avondale apartment building he rented to predominantly Black residents, about half of whom use Section 8 vouchers, in order to buy another building he would also offer as affordable housing. 

But Horton, who is also Black, was taken aback at the low appraisal he got. He believes racial bias played into the initial appraisal, and last week he filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition, an economic equity group, joined him in his HUD complaint. NCRC counsel for fair housing enforcement Jake Lilien says the organization believes the factual discrepancies in the initial appraisal make Horton’s case clear-cut.

“It appears that the appraiser went out of his way to arrive at the lowest possible valuation for Mr. Horton’s property,” Lilien says. “There were clear, objective factual and methodological errors in the appraisal. They got the square footage of the property wrong. They got the rental income wrong. When the errors were addressed, the appraiser chose not to revise the valuation.” Lilien says appraisal discrimination is a pervasive problem across the country, pointing to studies like one NCRC conducted in Baltimore.

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