|HUD No. 13-077
May 21, 2013
HUD AND ALABAMA REAL ESTATE COMPANY SETTLE CLAIM ALLEGING AGENT DISCRIMINATED AGAINST AFRICAN AMERICAN HOMEBUYER
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today 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.
"No one should be denied the opportunity to purchase a home because of their race," said John Trasviña, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "The company has taken steps to resolve this matter, provide relief to the potential homebuyer and prevent a recurrence."
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.
Persons who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed by going to www.hud.gov/fairhousing, or by downloading HUD's free housing discrimination mobile application, which can be accessed through Apple devices, such as the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov. You can also follow HUD on twitter @HUDnews, on facebook at www.facebook.com/HUD, or sign up for news alerts on HUD's News Listserv.