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Housing discrimination still rampant

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis July 9, 2013 10:04 AM

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It may be 2013, but too many renters still face an uphill battle trying to land an apartment thanks to bigoted landlords and real estate agents.

After looking at a pair of studies by the federal government on housing discrimination, the question is not who is being discriminated against, but who isn't.

To some landlords and agents, apparently the ideal tenant is a white couple with no children, which rules out Hispanic, black, Asian and same-sex couples, as well as families with children in general, whatever their race or ethnicity.

That rules out a lot of people.

The only good news, if you call it that, is that the discrimination is less blatant than it used to be.

HUD does these surveys every ten years and past surveys found that minority renters were simply getting shown the door, not apartments.

Black, Hispanic and Asian renters are getting through the door now, but they also wind up getting to see fewer apartments than white renters hailing from similar financial and work backgrounds, according to the HUD report, Housing Discrimination Against Racial and Ethnic Minorities, 2012.

Same-sex couples are also getting a raw deal, according to a separate HUD study, which involved sending out thousands of emails to landlords across the country inquiring about apartments.

Emails written as if they were from from gay and lesbian couples were less likely to get a response than those from heterosexual couples, the study found

And what about families with children?

Sometimes just having one child can sink your chances of landing an apartment, let alone two or three.

Take a look at this case HUD brought against a Minnesota landlord who turned down a young mother because she had a one-year-old daughter.

Here's an expert from the press release on the case.

According to HUD's charge, the woman contacted the owner after seeing an advertisement in a local newspaper for a one-bedroom apartment. When she told the owner that the unit was for her and her one-year-old daughter, the owner allegedly said that he had rented to families before and it "just doesn't work."

Yes, those trouble making toddlers - they are a real handful.

How revoltingly pathetic!

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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