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How to Recognize Racial Discrimination in Rentals

Posted on 18. Apr, 2019 by

There are a million reasons why trying to find a new apartment is stressful and challenging. When looking for a new place you may be asking yourself: Can I afford the rent? Is it in a location that I like? Is the house big enough for my family? Unfortunately, many people in our community also find themselves asking if they will be denied because of their race.

According to GNOFHAC’s mystery shopper investigations, African American potential renters are treated worse than equally qualified white potential renters about half of the time. That means Black renters have to look at twice as many apartments and work twice as hard in order to find a place to live. To deny or discourage someone from renting because of their race is against the law, but it still happens all too often. Because housing discrimination is often hard to detect, it’s unfortunately not always easy to know if you’re experiencing discrimination or if the apartment just didn’t work out.

So how do you recognize racial discrimination in the rental market? The first thing to do is listen to your gut. Did something about your interaction with the landlord just seem off? Pay attention if something didn’t feel right to you. Some examples of red flags to keep an out for include:

  • A housing provider telling you that a rental was available when you contacted them by email, but then telling you it had been rented when they heard your voice or saw you in person.
  • A housing provider suggesting that you look at their properties in another neighborhood instead of the one you are interested in.
  • A housing provider not returning your calls or keeping appointments, or outright discouraging you from even applying.
  • Being told that certain amenities that were advertised are not available or different after meeting with a housing provider.
  • A housing provider asking unnecessary questions about your qualifications or how you would treat the house.
  • A housing provider making a comment based on stereotypes or that makes you feel uncomfortable.

If you think you’ve experienced discrimination because of your race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or because you have children, please call the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center at (504) 596-2100 or (877) 445-2100. Help is free and confidential.

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