HUD to conduct nationwide testing project

November 16, 1998
Federal housing officials say a yearlong $7.5 million study will help them crackdown on mortgage lenders, landlords and others who discriminate against minorities.
     The Department of Housing and Urban Development will commission the study, which will take a look at patterns of discrimination in the selling and renting houses and apartments.
     The study will involve people posing as would-be buyers or renters who will report on the reception they receive from real estate brokers, landlords and mortgage lenders. The people doing the testing -- both men and women -- will be from a wide number of racial and ethnic groups, including blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders and American Indians as well as a control group of whites.
     The Mortgage Bankers Association of America said it "welcomed" the initiative, but the National Association of Realtors said it felt the money should be used for educational purposes, to make sure that all parties are fully acquainted with the law.
     "We are opposed to the use of federal funds . . . unless there is bona fide evidence of discrimination," said Lee Verstandig, senior vice president for governmental affairs of the Realtors group.