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National Fair Housing Alliance settles race discrimination case with Mississippi real estate agents

Accused Jackson agents of discriminating against minorities

The National Fair Housing Alliance announced this week that it reached a settlement with a group of Jackson, Mississippi real estate agents over allegations that the agents discriminated against both whites and blacks.

According to the NFHA, an investigation found differences in the way that Lorgroup, DBA RE/MAX Alliance, and The Lee Garland and Rita Jensen Team (collectively Lorgroup) treated races with discrimination when they inquired about purchasing a home.

Specifically, the NFHA said that its investigation found that when “potential White homebuyers sought housing in integrated and predominantly African American neighborhoods, they were steered away.”

According to the investigation, white buyers were provided with a “plethora of information and assistance to help them buy a home in a predominantly white area,” while African American buyers “often never even received a call back from an agent after leaving messages about purchasing a specific home in Jackson.”

After conducting its investigation, NFHA filed a federal housing discrimination complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development against the agents and companies, which led to this settlement.

Under the terms of the settlement, Lorgroup will pay $46,000 to NFHA, participate in fair housing trainings, and display fair housing signs in its offices. Additionally, Lorgroup agreed to promote fair housing in the communities where it does business and agreed to expand equal housing opportunities for all consumers, NFHA said in a release.

“The differences in treatment uncovered in NFHA’s investigation are examples of how Whites and Blacks are steered to different housing opportunities based on the racial composition of a neighborhood,” NFHA’s president and CEO, Shanna Smith, said in a statement.

“Steering intentionally perpetuates residential segregation and is illegal under the Fair Housing Act,” Smith said. “This is why it is imperative that real estate companies work to expand equal housing opportunities for everyone. When people choose where they want to live without artificial and illegal barriers, our communities and neighborhoods are stronger.”

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