AP

Redfin settles lawsuit alleging housing discrimination

May 2, 2022, 8:27 AM | Updated: 8:28 am
FILE - A Redfin "for sale" sign stands in front of a house on Oct. 28, 2020, in Seattle. The Nation...

FILE - A Redfin "for sale" sign stands in front of a house on Oct. 28, 2020, in Seattle. The National Fair Housing Alliance on Friday, April 29, 2022, announced a settlement agreement to resolve a lawsuit against Redfin that will expand housing opportunities for consumers in communities of color in major cities. Under the agreement, Seattle-based Redfin will change its minimum housing price policy, alter other practices, and pay $4 million. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

Fair housing advocates on Friday announced a settlement agreement to resolve a lawsuit against real estate brokerage Redfin that will expand housing opportunities for consumers in communities of color in numerous major cities.

Under the agreement, Seattle-based Redfin will change its minimum housing price policy, alter other practices, and pay $4 million to settle the suit brought against it by the National Fair Housing Alliance and nine other fair housing organizations in 2020.

The changes will increase access to Redfin’s real estate services across the country and help counter redlining and residential segregation that NFHA and the other plaintiffs alleged Redfin’s policies perpetuated. Redlining is a now-illegal practice in which banks would refuse to make home loans to someone because they live in an area deemed to be a poor financial risk.

“Our goal was to ensure that all neighborhoods are treated fairly and have access to the full range of services provided by any real estate company,” said Lisa Rice, president and CEO of NFHA. “The steps Redfin has agreed to take are a positive move toward stamping out some of the nation’s most harmful practices, like redlining and appraisal bias.”

The lawsuit alleged Redfin’s minimum home price policy violated the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against sellers and buyers of homes in communities of color. NFHA and the other plaintiffs alleged that policies that limit or deny services for homes priced under certain values can perpetuate racial segregation and contribute to the racial wealth gap.

Redfin said in a statement that it preferred to spend money on advancing fair housing rather than on litigation, and that the settlement was not an admission of liability.

“Our commitment to broadening the price range of the homes we can sell is why, every year, by design, we lose money selling low-priced homes,” the company said. “As part of the settlement, we will increase our investment in serving buyers interested in low-priced homes in communities that have historically been underserved by the real estate industry … Redfin hasn’t broken the law and we continue to stand behind our business practices.”

Redfin has agreed to make changes that will stand for at least three years after an initial implementation period. The company also will seek to increase racial diversity in its workforce, advertise its services to reach non-white consumers, and require agents and local partner realty firms to attend fair housing training.

The lawsuit alleged that Redfin’s minimum home price policy had an adverse impact on buyers and sellers of homes in predominantly non-white communities based on race and national origin. The complaint alleged that Redfin offered no services in non-white ZIP codes at a disproportionately higher rate than in white ZIP codes in Baltimore; Chicago; Detroit; Kansas City, Missouri; Kansas City, Kansas; Long Island, New York; Louisville, Kentucky; Memphis, Tennessee; Milwaukee; Newark, New Jersey; and Philadelphia.

The lawsuit was filed in the federal district court in Seattle.

Other plaintiffs included the South Suburban Housing Center; HOPE Fair Housing Center; Fair Housing Center of Metropolitan Detroit, Fair Housing Justice Center Inc., Long Island Housing Services Inc., Lexington Fair Housing Council, Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council, the Fair Housing Rights Center in Southeastern Pennsylvania and Open Communities.

Redfin operates in 95 markets in the U.S. and Canada and has generated $195 billion in home sales.

In the lawsuit, Redfin was accused of systematic racial discrimination by offering fewer services to homebuyers and sellers in minority communities — a type of digital redlining that has depressed home values and exacerbated historic injustice in the housing market.

The housing organizations said that during a two-year investigation they documented the effect of Redfin’s “minimum price policy,” which requires homes to be listed for certain prices to reap the benefits of Redfin’s services.

The company was vastly less likely to offer realtor services, professional photos, virtual tours, online promotion or commission rebates for homes listed in overwhelmingly minority neighborhoods than it was in overwhelmingly white ones, the investigation found.

That meant homes in minority neighborhoods were likely to stay on the market longer and sell for lower prices than they otherwise might have, the lawsuit said.

“Redfin’s policies and practices operate as a discriminatory stranglehold on communities of color, often the very communities that have been battered by a century of residential segregation, systemic racism, and disinvestment,” the lawsuit said.

Under the minimum price policy, Redfin didn’t offer its full services unless homes were listed for certain prices, which vary by market. When potential buyers clicked on homes that fall below those minimums, they received a message saying, “Redfin is currently unable to show this property.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Seattle Mariners including Jesse Winker, left; Ty France, third from right; Logan Gilbert, second f...
Tim Booth, Associated Press

Mariners end two decades of misery returning to postseason

Baseball is fun again in the Pacific Northwest in a way that it hasn’t been in more than two decades. The longest postseason drought in the four major professional sports ended Friday night when the Mariners earned a long-coveted spot in the Major League Baseball playoffs.
14 hours ago
Associated Press

How major US stock indexes fared Monday 10/3/2022

Wall Street rallied to its best day since late July as falling bond yields eased some of the pressure that’s battered markets. The S&P 500 rose 2.6% Monday, the latest swing for a scattershot market that’s been mostly falling this year on worries about a possible global recession. Treasury yields fell after a report on […]
14 hours ago
Associated Press

Viasat, Myovant rise; Tesla, Twitter fall

NEW YORK (AP) — Tesla Inc., down $22.85 to $242.40. The electric vehicle maker’s third-quarter delivery figures disappointed Wall Street. Exxon Mobil Corp., up $4.61 to $91.92. Energy stocks gained ground along with rising U.S. crude oil prices. Viasat Inc., up $8.14 to $38.37. The provider of satellite and wireless networking technology is selling its […]
14 hours ago
Associated Press

2 guilty of violating Floyd’s rights to begin federal term

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Two of the four former Minneapolis police officers who were convicted of violating George Floyd’s civil rights during the May 2020 restraint that killed him are scheduled to begin serving their federal sentences Tuesday. J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao are scheduled to report to the U.S. Marshals Service on Tuesday morning. […]
14 hours ago
Associated Press

UN chief urges Yemen rivals: No new violence and renew truce

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Yemen’s warring parties on Monday to refrain from any provocations that could escalate violence. The move follows the failure to extend a nationwide cease-fire and to engage with each other to renew the truce. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the secretary-general is disappointed that the internationally […]
14 hours ago
Associated Press

NC Supreme Court weighs if voter ID tainted by racial bias

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s long-litigated photo voter identification law was appraised at the state Supreme Court on Monday. Justices heard arguments on whether it was reasonable for trial judges to throw out the law that they determined was tainted by racial bias and designed to help Republicans retain their grip on the legislature. […]
14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Redfin settles lawsuit alleging housing discrimination