Article Courtesy of The Orlando
By Mary Shanklin
September 2, 2016
Four years after a national housing group complained
that Bank of America neglected foreclosed houses in Orlando minority
areas, the group on Wednesday said conditions have worsened.
The National Fair
Housing Alliance and nine local fair housing
organizations on Wednesday released details of new
complaints about the bank's care-taking practices,
particularly in neighborhoods with mostly
African-American and Latino residents. The coalition
showed what it described as new signs of neglect at
foreclosures in Orlando and other cities.
South of downtown Orlando last month, an
abandoned-looking house owned by Bank of America was
unsecured and showed signs of squatters living inside,
black plastic bags of trash and tree-limb debris piled
up in open carport bays. Photos released four years
earlier show the same house was vacated but not used as
a dumping ground and camp for vagrants.
"The property was poorly maintained on each visit, but it is actually in
even worse shape in 2016 — seven years after the National Fair Housing
Alliance put Bank of America on notice about its problems maintaining
foreclosures," according to a report released Wednesday by the alliance.
Bank of America officials have said the bank shares concerns about
neglected, foreclosed properties but stands behind it property
David Baade, president of the Melbourne-based nonprofit Fair Housing
Continuum Inc., said conditions of foreclosures in Orlando and elsewhere
have eroded as complaints have languished with the federal government
and the Bank of America.
"We don't think any of the lending institutions are taking it seriously,
other than Wells Fargo," Baade said Wednesday.
The fair-housing coalition added Orlando to its eight-city complaint in
2012 and added six new cities this week to the complaint filed with the
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
In 2013, the group's concerns led Wells Fargo to announce it would
invest $39 million to support home ownership, neighborhood
stabilization, property rehabilitation and housing development in 45
communities throughout the U.S., according to HUD. The settlement came
through the federal agency.
On Tuesday, HUD spokesman Brian Sullivan said the agency takes the
complaints seriously and continues to review the condition of bank-owned
homes in various types of neighborhoods to determine whether Bank of
America or other institutions are discriminating in their maintenance of
HUD had closed an investigation into U.S. Bank maintenance practice but
is taking another look based on the group's continued concerns, he