News Sep 22, 2011 at 4:00 am

What Does "Housing Discrimination" Look Like? This.


I'm rather surprised that, after publicly naming and shaming offending landlords, the work by FHCO wasn't adequate to prove discrimination to BOLI's standards. This seems outrageous, and I'd like to know where the buck stops. Is BOLI too stringent, or did FHCO not run good tests? What did those tests consist of? What are BOLI's standards? Que pasa?

I'd also be interested to know if they plan to do similar testing in Beaverton, to where, being a klooge, I moved. While in Portland proper things seemed pretty clean with the one company I rented from, here in the Beav there's a definite tendency for hispanic and black renters to cluster down on 5th Ave and Center Street, which seems more than coincidental, and some of the property managers I've met seem... off. Moreso than most, I should say.
Ah, the linked article (…) answers some of my questions about BOLI's standards. Cool.
Is it illegal for landlords to limit their prospective by tenants by gender or lifestyle? I recall the weeks I spent searching for an apartment/room for rent in SE a couple of years ago, and without exaggeration, I would say that at least a third of the rooms for rent had stipulations such as "female only", "vegan only", or "LGBTQ only". I am none of these, and found it more than a little aggravating to have to discard the possibility of moving in to houses that would have otherwise been a great match.
@Snagglpuss - I think that's fine, as long as you're talking about renting a room in a house or shared apartment. Those people aren't really a landlord - they're looking for a roommate, and want one who shares their interests and lifestyle. But if you're renting an actual entire apartment or house, and it's just your name on the lease, then yes, renting only to specific genders or sexual orientation would be legal discrimination. Is that what you saw?

"Vegan Only," on the other is not one of the protected classes (like gender, source of income, military service, etc.) so that might actually be legal. Not all discrimination is illegal - totally fine to discriminate against people who can't afford to pay the rent, for example. I don't think non-vegans have any formal legal protection, there. Weird.
@Snagglepuss and @Reymont—I'm not sure whether it's legal to discriminate if you're looking for a roommate vs. renting a whole house as a landlord, but I'm pretty sure the federal fair housing rules apply to all listings of rentals regardless of whether it's a subletter, roommate, or landlord who's actually doing the posting. In an interesting case, Craigslist was sued back in 2006 for allowing exactly these types of discriminatory postings on its housing section (more on that case in this old-timey NPR segment:…)

But Reymont's right—veganism is not a "protected class," so you can discriminate against them in housing all you like. Along with people with Bob Marley posters, people with annoying dogs, and people who never do the goddamn dishes.
@Smirk - And bicyclists!!
But it is very true that single/white/vegan-prefered/LGBTQ-friendly females who have tattooos and wear funny dresses are in extremely high demand in inner-SE Portland.
I don't know: would Bob Marley posters fit under "Religious Discrimination"?
since it is perfectly reasonable for landlords to charge a fee for pets, who often make noise bothersome to other tenants and often cause an apartment to require extensive cleaning and repair, so should it be just as reasonable to charge a fee for each kid who will even more likely cause the same problems.
Meh, any landlord that got caught doing this is an idiot. You can choose by a mix of job history, rental history, credit history, criminal history... I've applied for plenty of apartments in my lifetime and have been turned down without being given a reason. Someone else got the place, it's as simple as that. Of course, this has been in places where there were multiple applicants.
I rent rooms out in my house sometimes. I am a straight male and I feel more comfortable living with other straight males. Is it discriminatory? Yes I don't feel comfortable living with females. Why? None of your fucking business. Would anyone require a female rape victim to live with a male?
They should definitely charge fees for people with little children, I've seen the damage they are capable of inflicting on a rental and it far exceeds anything a cat is capable of.
I totally agree Disastronaut. Despite their diminutive size, children can be incredibly distructive. Landlords should absolutely charge a breeder fee to renters with kids. They'll get the money back and then some in their tax return anyways, so this is very reasonable.
keeping "em" in the streets is a great sociable tactic. The signs kind of "spook" me.
These days it seems that the "offensive" words aren't paying for abortions, but rather trying to influence a much less costly procedure, AIDS testing.
Similarities between milk chocolate covered aphrodesiacs,coffee-boiled oysters, and the Imposters that reference themselves as Doctors,some say "CHEMISTS",ventriliquists...and so on looking for "FIXES" pretending to be FOXES and most definitely old and aging Alice Cooper look-alikes need not apply.And its all good because they don't read,have any "real" interests,despise Hollywood filmmaking and their filmmakers plus have Kinky telephone messages that are sometimes accompanied with a photograph....I kinda want to laugh.
Sojourner58 and Disastronaught- I could not agree more!!! it just warms my heart to see other people that think the same :) Since I am often the bad guy for hating the kids that run around screaming their heads off all day at my apartment complex.
Regarding child fees similar to pet fees - Putting up more barriers to single parents acquiring housing is just cruel. They deal with homelessness more than anybody else. Kids are annoying, but a part of life. You were one once.

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