Black couple in California sue appraiser for reducing their home by $ 500,000
A black couple in California are suing a real estate appraiser and the company she works for after reducing the value of the couple’s home by $ 500,000.
Paul Austin and Tenisha tate austin, who bought their Marin City, CA, home in 2016 off the market from another black family, made over $ 400,000 in renovations on the home, adding another story and adding an additional 1,000 square feet of space, by building a terrace and installing new floors and a fireplace before making a new appraisal of the property.
The evaluator, Janette Miller of Miller & Perotti real estate valuations, seen the house and, according to the Washington Post, noted the fireplace, the new patio and the room they added. The Austin’s were excited about the appraisal, until Miller valued the property at $ 995,000, which is significantly lower than previous appraisals.
In their lawsuit, filed last Thursday, the Austin said they decided to get another assessment several weeks later. Bto relieve Miller downplayed the home’s value because of their race, this time they enlisted a white friend, Jan, to claim to be the owner and ‘whitewashed’ their home by removing their family photos and African themed art. .
In addition, Jan decorated the house with photos of his family. This time the Evaluation reached $ 1.48 million. The couple are now seeking financial damages from Miller and the company, and are asking the court to make sure they no longer discriminate against black homeowners in California.
“There are implications for our ability to build generational wealth or pass things down if our homes are valued 50% less than it’s worth,” Tate Austin told the To post.
Home ownership by blacks across the country is significantly lower for black Americans than for white Americans. According to National Association of Real Estate Agents, only 34% of black Californians own a home. In San Francisco, about five miles from Marin City, where the Austin people live, 33 percent of black residents own a home.
“There are always problems in the housing industry for black people who are far from white neighborhoods,” Daryl fairweather, said Redfin’s chief economist ABC 7. “Even though it’s technically illegal, or black people don’t have the same access to mortgages as whites.”
Other black homeowners have received modest offers regarding the house evaluations, including Carlette Duffy in Indiana and Erica Parker in Ohio.
Neither Miller nor the home assessments company commented on the allegations. Lawyers representing the Austines also declined a request for comment.