Philly Real Estate Company to Pay $25K to Resolve Racial Steering Allegations

A Philadelphia-area real estate company recently agreed to a $25,000 settlement to resolve allegations that employees steered white testers posing as rental applicants to neighborhoods they described as safer, while directing black testers to areas agents considered “rough.”

The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to discriminate in the terms, conditions, or privileges associated with the sale or rental of a dwelling on the basis of race, including steering potential renters or homebuyers to different neighborhoods.

The case came to HUD’s attention when the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), a national fair housing organization that receives HUD funds to combat housing discrimination, filed a complaint accusing the company of unlawfully denying housing opportunities to African-American prospects. Specifically, NFHA alleged that agents steered black testers to one of its properties in a high-crime, less desirable neighborhood, while telling white testers about a different property in an area they considered to be safer.

The settlement requires the company to pay $25,000 in damages, get fair housing training for all of its leasing agents and managers, and establish a nondiscrimination rental policy.

“Testing remains one of our most effective tools for exposing unlawful housing discrimination,” Bryan Greene, HUD's General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, said in a statement. “HUD will continue to enforce the Fair Housing Act to ensure that no family has their housing options limited because of their race.”

Source: HUD