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Open Communities Part of Settlement with Redfin, Expanding Access for Communities of Color

We are pleased to share that we are part of a legal settlement with Redfin, one of the nation’s largest real estate services companies, that will expand opportunities for consumers in communities of color in Cook and DuPage counties.

iPhone with Redfin log on it sitting on a table

In 2020, The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), Open Communities, South Suburban Housing Center, HOPE Fair Housing Center, and six other U.S. fair housing organizations conducted a lengthy investigation into Redfin’s minimum home price policy.

We believe Redfin’s policy violated the federal Fair Housing Act by discriminating against sellers and buyers of homes in communities of color. These policies limited or denied services for homes priced under certain values, perpetuating racial segregation and contributing to the racial wealth gap.

Specifically, the legal complaint filed by NFHA and our fair housing organizations alleged that Redfin’s minimum home price policy has a substantial adverse impact on buyers and sellers of homes in predominantly non-White communities based on race and national origin. Also that Redfin offered no service in non-White zip codes at a disproportionately higher rate than in White zip codes in Chicago and the other cities covered by the lawsuit, Baltimore, MD; Detroit, MI; Kansas City, MO/KS; Long Island, NY; Louisville KY; Memphis, TN; Milwaukee, WI; Newark, NJ; and Philadelphia, PA.

Redfin agreed to eliminate its national minimum home price policy, expand its real estate services for lower-priced homes in ten metropolitan areas, and pay the fair housing organizations $4 million will settle the discrimination lawsuit.

“This lawsuit highlights the importance of holding internet-based companies to the same standards and fair housing laws as other entities. This is one more step forward in the fight for housing equity.” - Cheryl Lawrence, CEO of Open Communities

We hope this settlement reminds others in the real estate industry that they must exercise care to ensure that their policies and practices, including how they use technology, do not cause discriminatory outcomes.

“(This) settlement brings much needed financial relief to communities harmed by Redfin’s policies while changing those policies to prevent future harm. But more than anything, today is a call to action for the industry and all its innovators to ensure the new tools they create disrupt the status quo, not perpetuate it,” - Michael Chavarria, Executive Director of HOPE Fair Housing Center

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

“The resolution provides for continuing cooperative monitoring and interaction by Redfin with NFHA and the local fair housing agencies to ensure an increased number of buyers and sellers in the Chicago area’s communities of color can benefit from Redfin’s full services,” - John Petruszak, Executive Director of South Suburban Housing Center

Settlement proceeds of $4 million will monitor Redfin’s compliance with the agreement, invest in programs that expand homeownership opportunities in Chicago and other cities covered by the lawsuit, and pay for litigation and investigation expenses.

The investigation, in this case, was supported, in part, by funding from Private Enforcement Initiative grants received from the Fair Housing Initiatives Program administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


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