Real estate brokerage firm Redfin has settled a lawsuit alleging housing discrimination. Under the agreement, Redfin will change its minimum housing price policy and pay $4 million to settle the suit brought against it by the National Fair Housing Alliance and nine other fair housing organizations in 2020.
Under the settlement that was reached April 29, Redfin promises to expand housing opportunities for consumers in communities of color in numerous major cities.
The lawsuit accused Redfin of systematic racial discrimination by offering fewer services to homebuyers and sellers in minority communities. This is considered a type of digital redlining, say fair housing advocates.
Redlining is a now-illegal discriminatory practice in which banks withheld services from potential customers who reside in neighborhoods with significant numbers of racial and ethnic minorities, and low-income residents.
The housing organizations conducted a two-year investigation and said they found that Redfin was vastly less likely to offer realtor services, professional photos, virtual tours, online promotion, or commission rebates for homes listed in minority dominated neighborhoods than it was in predominately white ones, ABC News reported.
The complaint alleged that Redfin offered no services in non-white ZIP codes at a disproportionately higher rate than in white ZIP codes in Baltimore; Chicago; Detroit; Kansas City, Missouri; Kansas City, Kansas; Long Island, New York; Louisville, Kentucky; Memphis, Tennessee; Milwaukee; Newark, New Jersey; and Philadelphia.
Redfin operates in 95 markets in the U.S. and Canada and has generated $195 billion in home sales.
In the lawsuit, the fair housing advocates claimed that homes in minority neighborhoods were likely to stay on the market longer and sell for lower prices.
“Redfin’s policies and practices operate as a discriminatory stranglehold on communities of color, often the very communities that have been battered by a century of residential segregation, systemic racism, and disinvestment,” the lawsuit stated.
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