A black couple in California sued a real estate agency after their home rose 50% in value when a white friend pretended to be their owner.
Paul, 45, and Tenisha Tate Austin, 42, had their home appraised at $ 989,000 (£ 748,000) by an appraiser in January, after they originally bought it for $ 550,000 in 2016, ABC7 reports.
However, its value rose to around $ 500,000 (£ 378,000) when the couple asked a white friend to impersonate Tenisha and the value rose to $ 1,482,000 (£ 1,120,000).
The couple brought a fair housing complaint against Janette Miller, her company Miller and Perotti Real Estate Appraisers, Inc. and national appraisal company AMC Links, LLC for the price difference of $ 487,500 (£ 368,500 ) with respect to both assessments.
They say the real estate agent who gave the first appraisal used phrases like “Marin City is a separate area,” which they said was race-related.
Owners describe it as “a slap in the face” before their second review is approved.
Tenisha said: “We had a conversation with one of our white friends, and she said, ‘No problem. I will be Tenisha. I will bring some pictures of my family “.
“She gave the impression that our house belonged to her.
“There are implications for our ability to build generational wealth or pass things down if our homes are rated 50% less.
“I read the assessment, I looked at the number and I was like, ‘This is amazing’.”
The husband and wife are asking for a jury trial for racial prejudice while wanting to press charges.
Paul added: “We think the white lady wanted to devalue our property because we are in a black neighborhood and the house was owned by a black family.
“My stomach hurts, my head hurts just because of what we’ve been through.
“I don’t wish this on anyone. I want to see a change.
“I don’t want to see my kids having to face this.”
Julia Howard-Gibbon, lawyer for the couple, said: “There are certainly elements in this complaint which are particularly strong.
“They got out of the house, basically.”
Lawyers for the Austines noted, “Marin City has a long history of undervaluation based on stereotypes, red lines, discriminatory assessment standards, and real or perceived racial demographics.”
LADbible has contacted Miller & Perotti for comment.