A major lawsuit has been filed that claims Fannie Mae treats black and Latino neighborhoods differently than white neighborhoods when it comes to foreclosures. It's a push that could dramatically revamp the way some neighborhoods look in Palm Beach County.
Palm Beach County is one of 20 places across the country that are part of the lawsuit against Fannie Mae. Plaintiffs claim that the feds take better care of foreclosed homes in white neighborhoods, while letting those in black or Latino neighborhoods go to ruin.
The Fair Housing Center of the Greater Palm Beaches claims in neighborhoods predominately occupies by minorities, Fannie Mae has not kept up busted doors and windows, making it easy for squatters to get in. The Fair Housing Center also claims Fannie Mae has not kept up many of those homes' grass or shrubs and failed to fix holes that allow animals such as rats in.
Fair Housing authorities say in those cases, Fannie Mae isn't doing its job.
"If a house has been foreclosed, it is owned by somebody," said Vince Larkins, President and CEO of the Fair Housing Center of the Greater Palm Beaches. "It is owned by somebody whose job it is to maintain those properties, to cut the grass, to make sure that the windows are secured, that the doors are secured." Larkins went on to say,"In doing so, that home along with the neighborhood, the value of that neighborhood has not diminished."
Those filing the lawsuit say the homes in the minority neighborhoods that haven't been taken care of can become unsafe for those living nearby. They say the homes also bring down property values for other homes nearby.