Baltimore Racial Bias Lawsuit
Folks, below is the Baltimore court paperwork for the latest appraiser bias suit that recently ‘hit the fan.’
This document is fairly specific, in that it reveals quite a lot about the two appraisals performed, including the home locations for the ‘comps’ used.
The attorneys representing the plaintiffs are from the same Washington, D.C. firm that The Appraisal Foundation hired to examine USPAP. That firm was the one which has provided new ‘discrimination avoidance’ verbiage being considered in the USPAP Third Exposure Draft.
When reading over the Baltimore document, it appears painfully clear (to me) that there is a competency issue exposed. You should read it yourself to see what you believe was the ‘real’ issue with the original valuation, and perhaps with the second valuation.
But I will say that the attorneys have done a wondrous job trying to prove ‘racial discrimination’ with no direct evidence other than a low valuation, partly by saying the appraiser ‘did not nicely engage the plaintiffs’ on the original inspection day. But we have to remember that the plaintiff’s attorney job is to throw as much “stuff” against the wall as possible, hoping that some will stick.
The complaint erroneously concludes that asking about HOA dues is racist. That’s just a data point that needs to be verified and reported in the appraisal.
Another item is the attorney is trying to make the argument that buying and installing a $5,000 tankless water heater will ‘raise the value’ of the home by that amount.
And, just like Freddie Mac did with their ‘white paper’ blaming appraisers, specific Census Tract race data is included in this complaint to try to demonstrate discrimination based on that, when in reality very few appraisers pay any attention to racial components of Census Tracts, let alone even know where the Tract boundaries are.
The bottom line of this and the Marin County, CA case is the situation involving appraisers is serious. The Marin case has NOT been totally dismissed, yet.
Appraisers must do everything they can to become better PROPERTY and DATA analysts and keep any internal attitudes about neighborhood population out of the job we do.