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signs of discrimination

None of these signs is slam dunk evidence, but it's enuf to make you ask more questions...

1. "Don't bother to apply..." (waiting list is too long, you have a 'criminal background', you won't pass the credit check...) are all ways of making an undocumented denial. If you don't apply, you weren't denied and can't challenge the denial.

2. Maybe you should look somewhere else... ("this other place has vacancies now" or "you might be happier at...") Owner/agent sounds like she/he is trying to be helpful...is actually engaged in 'steering' (a form of discrimination).

3. Unconventional advertising: (3x5 cards in the laundromats or other businesses, craigslist, weekly shopping newpapers) can be a sign that an owner manager. Main stream media know the laws and know the 'discriminatory advertising rules). Unconventional 'channels' are more likely to express perferences or to target certain demographic groups.

4. Advertising that expresses preferences. "No children", "Great for single person", "Guys, great place for a hook up...". NOTE: under the Housing for Older Persons Act owner/manager can advertise senior community or 55+ community... but cannot say 'no children."

5. "We are a senior community". Many say they are, some aren't! Properties which claim to be senior only or "55+" may be challenged if they are failing to meet or maintain certain standards.

6. Interior segregation. All the families live in the same building, the one that's furthest from the parking lot and closest to the railroad tracks.

7. Separate waiting lists. "We'll put you on the families waiting list". "We have a special waiting list for tenants in wheelchairs."

8. Verbally abusive or offensive statements. "Independent living." "This is not a nursing home..." "kids aren't allowed in the pool without a parent." "Too bad you're single."

9. Any property with a homogeneous demographic profile, especially if the building profile does not 'match' the demographic profile of the community. All white buildings in the midst of a majority minority community.

10. Unusual screening criteria: "must have a high school diploma"'; "must have landlord references going back 5 years."

What to do if you suspect discrimination?

1.  Document what happened.  Write it down, get it in writing, tape record the interview.

2.  Try informal testing. 

3.  Consult a Fair Housing organization

Spencer Wells,
Oct 28, 2012, 11:25 AM