Blockbusting generally occurs in multi-racial neighborhoods or in neighborhoods that are undergoing change to the make-up of who lives there. Blockbusting is when a real estate agent tries to coerce people into selling their homes by playing upon the fear that they will lose money on their property if they do not sell soon.
In other words, blockbusting is when real estate agents try to increase their sales and profit by suggesting that people leave their neighborhoods before property values decrease. They may base their statements about these declining values on the race, ethnicity, or economic class of some of the people living in the neighborhood.
Examples of blockbusting include:
- When real estate agents alert the members of a neighborhood that it is "changing" and that they should sell their property.
- Making house-by-house telephone calls urging member of a neighborhood that they should sell before their property values decrease.
- Spreading of rumors by real estate agents that property values are on the decline in a certain area because people of a certain race or ethnicity are moving there.
In order to be successful in an action for blockbusting, you must satisfy and prove the following three things:
- The statements made to you were intended to be profitable for the person making them.
- The statements were made to induce the sale of your property.
- The statements made you believe that a certain class of people were moving into the neighborhood and that your property values would decrease if you did not sell as soon as possible.
Real estate and property laws in general are a complex area of the law. If you believe you have been subjected to improper practices by a real estate agent, a real estate attorney can help you prove your case and can also help you preserve and protect your rights as a homeowner.