M&S FILES EXPANDED HOUSING DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT ON BEHALF OF 12 FAIR HOUSING ORGANIZATIONS AGAINST BANK OF AMERICA
Mehri & Skalet, representing the National Fair Housing Alliance and 11 fair housing centers across the nation, filed an expanded HUD complaint adding five new cities on claims that Bank of America maintains and markets foreclosed homes in majority white neighborhoods significantly better than foreclosed homes in majority black and Latino neighborhoods.
As M&S Partner Janell Byrd told the Washington Post:
“This discriminatory treatment discourages purchasers from buying homes in minority communities,” said Janell Byrd, a housing lawyer. “It reinforces the difference in property values between majority-white and majority-minority communities. And it exacerbates a gross disparity between the wealth of whites and minorities.”
The complaint was initially filed one year ago with NFHA and other organizations. The expanded complaint adds five new cities: Memphis, TN; Denver, CO; Las Vegas, NV; Tucson, AZ; and Philadelphia, PA.
Read more about M&S’s efforts to crack down on housing discrimination here.
M&S SECURES VICTORY FOR OLDER HOMEOWNERS IN REVERSE MORTGAGE CASE
In another victory for homeowners this fall, Mehri & Skalet worked with the AARP Litigation Foundation to secure a win on behalf of elderly reverse mortgage-holders. In Bennett, et al v. Shaun Donovan, Secretary, HUD, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that HUD violated federal law by failing to protect the surviving spouses of reverse mortgage-holders.
The Court agreed with Plaintiffs that the death of one spouse does not mean that the other should be subject to foreclosure and eviction, as HUD insisted. The statute states that spouses are to be treated as “homeowners” regardless of whether they are borrowers on the loan. This is a vital protection of the program, because mortgage brokers have routinely deceived seniors into signing away their interest in their homes, often without their knowledge. The Court has ordered HUD to determine an appropriate remedy for the problem.
Mehri & Skalet originally filed suit with its co-counsel, AARP Foundation Litigation, in 2011.