Saturday, June 08, 2013

Real Estate Brokerage Left Holding The Bag On $29K HUD Fair Housing Settlement Alleging That Since-Fired Sales Agent Inadvertently Left Voice Message With Black Prospective Homebuying-Customer Indicating Belief That White Neighbors Would Panic At Prospect Of Him Moving In

From the Department of Housing & Urban Development:
  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced [] that LLB&B, Inc., a real estate company based in Mobile, AL, will pay $29,000 as part of a Conciliation Agreement resolving allegations that one of its agents refused to show a condominium to a prospective homebuyer because he is African American.

    The homebuyer alleged that he learned of the discrimination when the real estate agent inadvertently left a message on his telephone voicemail indicating her belief that white neighbors would ‘panic’ at the prospect of an African American neighbor.

    The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to discriminate in the sale or rental of housing based on, race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. It also prohibits refusing to show a condominium to a prospective buyer and making statements that discriminate because of race or color.
  • Under the terms of the agreement, LLB agreed to pay the man $29,000, require fair housing training for all its employees, and include the fair housing logo in all its advertising.

    The case came to HUD’s attention when a man filed a complaint with HUD, alleging that a real estate agent with whom he inquired about the sale of a condominium inadvertently left a voicemail with him indicating she did not wish to deal with him because he is African-American.

    In the message, the real estate agent, referring to the white neighbors who lived near the condominium, allegedly stated, “Those people will panic when they see a black person drive up and look at it.” She added: “I called him back. He didn't answer so that was good! If I didn’t call him back he could sue me for prejudice.”

    The man shared the recording with a HUD investigator, who then shared it with the real estate company. Upon hearing the message, the owners of LLB&B terminated the agent’s employment.