Open Communities Regulations to Expand Access to Real Estate Services in Communities of Color

Open Communities, an Evanston-based fair housing agency, was one of several national housing organizations that announced a settlement on May 6 with Redfin, one of the nation’s largest real estate services companies.

The settlement will expand opportunities for consumers in communities of color in metropolitan Chicago’s Cook and DuPage counties. Redfin employs over 100 senior agents serving this two-county region.

The complaint alleged that Redfin’s minimum home price policy had a significant negative impact on buyers and sellers of homes in predominantly non-white communities based on race and national origin. The suit also alleged that Redfin offered service in non-white ZIP codes at a disproportionately higher rate than in white ZIP codes in Chicago and other cities subject to the lawsuit.

As part of the settlement, Redfin will end its nationwide minimum home price policy, expand real estate services for low-cost homes in 10 metro areas, and pay $4 million to resolve a discrimination lawsuit filed against the company. .

The $4 million proceeds will be used to monitor Redfin’s compliance with the agreement, invest in programs that expand homeownership opportunities in Chicago and other cities subject to the lawsuit, and pay fees litigation and investigation.

“This lawsuit underscores the importance of holding internet-based businesses to the same fair housing standards and laws as other entities,” said Cheryl Lawrence, CEO of Open Communities. “This is another step in the fight for housing equity.”

The lawsuit was filed after a lengthy investigation by fair housing organizations. They alleged that Redfin’s minimum home price policy violated federal fair housing law by discriminating against sellers and buyers of homes in communities of color. Plaintiffs also alleged that policies that limit or deny services for homes priced below certain values ​​perpetuate racial segregation and contribute to the racial wealth gap.

The settlement “provides much-needed financial relief to communities harmed by Redfin’s policies while modifying those policies to prevent future harm,” said Michael Chavarria, executive director of the HOPE Fair Housing Center.

Redfin has agreed to make changes that will last for at least three years after an initial implementation period. The company will also implement an outreach and recruiting plan to increase racial diversity within its workforce, advertise its services to reach non-white consumers, and require its agents and partner real estate companies local communities are trained in fair housing.

Submitted by Open Communities