A while back, I applied with a friend to rent a little three-bedroom row house in the U Street area. The open house was busy. We knew there would be be other contenders vying for the house. But ultimately, most of the people in the room looked just like us: Single, twenty-somethings, but too old to fit the “recent graduate” identifier. We both had full-time jobs, which we’d held for over a year.
We put in our application, hoped for the best, but weren’t surprised by the outcome: The landlord—-who lived in Atlanta—-didn’t like our profile. He preferred an older married couple that had been in the city for more than five years.
The current tenant informed us of this reasoning. I’m reminded of this thanks to a National Fair Housing Alliance report out today about online rental discrimination.
The report reminds us that all types of discrimination are unfair. For example:
Discrimination against kids: “Mature couple or single with no children” Brooklyn, NY
Discrimination against disabled people… or those that just aren’t handy with a wrench: 2BR: “We’re trying to make cheaper rent available for able bodied people who can do a few things for themselves.” Savannah, GA
Discrimination against young people: 2BR: “Looking for retired couple or older person” Tallahassee, FL
Discrimination against antique-under-appreciators: “3BR: “Looking for a responsible, neat, adult, non-smoker who is respectful of other people’s belongings and can treat antiques with loving care.” Bennington, VT”
Discrimination against the car-less: “Looking for a white lady who has a car and that’s drawing a check. No Children, teenagers” Nashville, TN
And for the record: “The Fair Housing Act covers all advertising for the rental of apartments or sale of homes as well as advertising for home loans, homeowners/renters insurance, and any service related to housing,” according to the report.
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