HomeUS News updateBlack couple settles lawsuit after value of their California house allegedly soared...

Black couple settles lawsuit after value of their California house allegedly soared when white friend feigned ownership

A black couple settled their lawsuit against a real estate company that estimated the pair’s Northern California home would be worth about $500,000 less after a white friend pretended to own it, plaintiffs said Wednesday. Was.

Tanisha Tate-Austin and Paul Austin sought to refinance their mortgage in late 2020, so they brought in Janet Miller and her firm, Miller & Perotti Real Estate Appraisers, who did an appraisal of the couple’s Marin City home, according to the plaintiffs’ citizen. Value assessed to be $995,000. Complaint.

The black couple, believing their race played a part in the estimate, then saw a different appraiser walk through the house.

But this time, “the Austins obliterated any evidence of their racial identity inside their home, removing family photos and African-themed art” and, according to a statement, “with photographs of their family” in a Introduced the white friend as the owner. The Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California supported the couple’s lawsuit.

The couple claimed that second appraisal, done several weeks later for the fake white homeowner, came in at $1,482,500.

“Decades after the Fair Housing Act of 1968, we still find evidence of substantial housing discrimination,” Fair Housing Advocates for Northern California supervising attorney Julia Howard-Gibbon told NBC News on Wednesday.

As creative a plan as it seemed, Howard-Gibbon said the move is a well-known one within African American real estate circles.

“We’ve heard from a lot of black homeowners and it’s kind of a known thing,” she said. “We’ve been hearing black homeowners have been doing this for years. They know how to take pictures of their families and have a white friend stand in for them.”

The settlement agreement “includes an undisclosed monetary amount” and requires the defendants to watch a documentary, “Our America: Lowballed,” attend a training session about the history of racial discrimination in real estate and “not to discriminate in the future.” Gotta promise. According to the plaintiff.

Howard-Gibbon said that while the Marin City homeowners refinanced their mortgage, the time it took to get a second appraisal resulted in higher interest rates, which cost the couple some money.

“Having to erase my identity in order to get a better appraisal was a terrifying experience,” homeowner Tenisha Tate-Austin said in a statement.

“We know of other Black families who either could not get a loan because of discriminatory appraisals and therefore either lost the opportunity to buy or sell a home, or had to sell their home because they had an unaffordable loan.”

Miller, his attorney and representatives for Miller & Perotti Residential Real Estate Appraisers did not return multiple telephone and email messages Wednesday seeking his comment.

Donna Mendel Contribution,



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