Government Is Filing Fewer Housing Discrimination Charges, According to Federal Data

Washington, D.C.–Complaints against landlords, real estate agents and mortgage brokers are rising, but the federal government is filing fewer housing discrimination charges, USA Today reports.The majority of renters and buyers filing complaints with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development involving issues such as landlord discrimination are unlikely to get help because HUD is throwing out an increased number of complaints, federal data reveal.Under the Federal Fair Housing Act, HUD investigates and prosecutes cases; it filed 31 discrimination charges last year and filed 36 in 2006.But the charges for both years combined declined 65 percent compared to 1999 and 2000. In 1999, 111 charges were filed; 82 were filed in 2000.More than 10,000 complaints were filed in both 2006 and 2007, USA Today said.The National Fair Housing Alliance says HUD and the Justice Department aren’t enforcing fair housing laws as strongly as they could. CEO Shanna Smith called the low number of charges ” a drop in the bucket for the number of complaints that happen annually.”Federal housing officials, on the other hand, say they prefer to negotiate settlements because cases may take years to resolve in court.”We’re obtaining the comparable relief that we would obtain in the court, and we’re doing it faster,” said HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary for Enforcement Bryan Greene.