By Michele Lerner
Even with federal laws such as the Fair Housing Act that are aimed at protecting minority groups from discrimination, Latinos attempting to rent homes in Virginia often are treated differently from whites, according to a recent study.
The investigation by the Equal Rights Center (ERC) and law firm Drinker Biddle & Reath found that in Virginia’s rental market, Latinos were treated differently from whites 55 percent of the time. In Northern Virginia, the number was even higher, with 82 percent of inquiries by Latino testers documenting some type of negative treatment.
The ERC has conducted numerous investigations of housing discrimination throughout the country but focused on Virginia because of the numerous complaints the nonprofit company has received from Latinos in the state.
“Discriminatory behavior has changed over the years,” says Don Kahl, executive director of the ERC. “No one says anymore that they won’t rent to someone because they are Latino or black or gay. It’s more subtle than that.”
The investigation, which sent pairs of Latino and white testers to communities to attempt to rent an apartment, found that 24 percent of the time, Latinos were told that there would be different requirements than the white testers. For example, the Latinos were told that a criminal background check and a credit check were required, along with proof of a Social Security card.
Other adverse treatment of Latinos included not being shown as many available homes, being told apartments wouldn’t be available when they needed to move, being quoted a higher rent and not being offered the same incentives as whites.
Source: Washington Post