HUD Study Says Minorities Still Experience Discrimination in Housing Market

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on June 13, 2013 under Legal | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

tenant screening, tenant credit checkA new study by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found that minorities who seek rental housing, as well as those wishing to purchase homes, are experiencing racial bias.

Since 1977, HUD has conducted the study once each decade, in an effort to monitor trends in racial and ethnic discrimination in both the rental and sales markets. The studies have found that reports of blatant discrimination against minorities (such as refusing to meet or provide any information) have declined, but there is still evidence of bias.

In the study, white, black, Hispanic and Asian testers inquired about available units over 8,000 times in 28 cities. In each test, one white and one minority contacted a housing provider to inquire about a randomly selected, recently advertised home or apartment. The testers were matched by gender and age, and presented themselves equally well-qualified to rent or buy the advertised unit.

In markets across the country, white testers were told about and shown more units. When compared to whites, black testers were told about 11% fewer rental units and 17% fewer homes for sale, and were shown 4% fewer rental units and 18% fewer homes for sale.

Asians were told about 10% fewer rental units and 15% fewer homes for sale, and were shown 7% fewer rental units and 19% fewer homes for sale. Hispanic testers were told about 13% fewer rental units and were shown 8% fewer rental units, but when inquiring about homes for sale, when they were treated similarly to whites.

In one test, a white tester arrived first and asked to see a two-bedroom apartment. He was shown both a two-bedroom and a one-bedroom unit, and provided applications for each. Two hours later, a Hispanic tester arrived at the same office and was told nothing was available.

In another test, a black tester was told by a real estate agent that she needed to prequalify for a loan before she could see homes for sale. The agent refused to meet with the tester until she had talked to a lender. A white tester called the same agent, was not told about prequalifying, and was able to make an appointment.

Discriminating against prospective tenants on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, family status, religion or disability is against the law. But as this study shows, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

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