Earlier today HUD issued a 2012 study concerning an evaluation of housing discrimination against racial and ethnic minorities. For those of us in the professional apartment management field, the report is eye opening. Although HUD acknowledges that “the most blatant forms of housing discrimination (refusing to meet with a minority [applicant] or to provide information about any available units) have declined,” HUD concluded that “forms of discrimination persist (such as providing information about fewer units) which raises the costs of housing searches for minorities as well as restrict their housing options.”
The study involved more than 8,000 tests in a nationally representative sample of 28 metropolitan areas. Each test involved two trained testers, one white and the other African American, Hispanic, or Asian – who contacted a housing provider to ask about a randomly selected housing unit from recently advertised homes and/or apartments.
The data showed that while the trends are going in the right direction (certainly in that almost all the testers seeking appointments to view homes), African American applicants who seek out an agent about advertised housing units are told about 11 percent fewer available units and are shown roughly 4 percent fewer units than are white applicants. Similarly, Asian renters are told about 10 percent fewer available units and are shown nearly 7 percent fewer units. For Hispanic applicants, the numbers were they were told about 12 percent fewer units and are shown 7 percent fewer units than are whites.
There will be much to digest as this study is evaluated. What does it means in the short term? As I have reported time and time again: fair housing testers are out there looking for discrimination. And we need to ensure our leasing office personnel comply with the Fair Housing Act.
Just A Thought.