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Fair housing groups turn up heat over BofA’s REO practices

Lawsuit: Disparities in maintenance and marketing of bank-owned properties hurting property values

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Fair housing groups have added more cities and new evidence to a complaint filed one year ago today against Bank of America that claims that the bank hasn't been diligent in maintaining and marketing bank-owned properties in minority neighborhoods. Bank of America's practices have undermined property values and discouraged purchases by owner-occupants in favor of investors, the lawsuit claims. In April 2012, the National Fair Housing Alliance released a study that concluded that lenders were violating the Fair Housing Act in their handling of many properties they'd repossessed in African-American and Latino neighborhoods. The homes, the study claimed, were not being maintained or marketed as diligently as homes in predominantly white neighborhoods. The group's evaluation of more than 1,000 homes repossessed by lenders in nine markets found that properties in white communities “generally appeared inhabited, well-maintained, and attractive to real estate agents and homebuyers,...