The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that Brotman Enterprise, LLC will pay $25,000 as part of an agreement resolving allegations of discrimination. The Philadelphia-area real estate company settled with HUD as part of a Conciliation Agreement.
The company was charged with discrimination after employees allegedly steered white testers posing as potential rental applications to neighborhoods they described as safer, while directing black testers to areas agents considered "rough."
HUD noted in a release, "The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to discriminate in the terms, conditions, or privileges associated with the sale or rental of a dwelling on the basis of race, including steering potential renters or homebuyers to different neighborhoods."
"Testing remains one of our most effective tools for exposing unlawful housing discrimination," said Bryan Greene, HUD's Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "HUD will continue to enforce the Fair Housing Act to ensure that no family has their housing options limited because of their race."
HUD began to investigate Brotman Enterprise after the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), a national fair housing organization that receives HUD funds to combat discrimination, filed a complaint with HUD. The complaint alleged that Brotman Enterprises was "unlawfully denying housing opportunities to African American homeseekers," HUD said.
Specifically, the complaint alleged that agents from the company, based in Feasterville-Trevose, northeast of Philadelphia, steered black testers to one of its properties in a high-crime less desirable neighborhoods. Meanwhile, white testers were told about a different property in an area considered to be safer.
Under the terms of the Conciliation Agreement, Brotman Enterprises, LLC will pay the NFHA $25,000 in damages, get fair housing training for all of its leasing agents and managers, and establish a non-discrimination rental policy.