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Boston Rental Market: Discrimination in Housing?

Beantown may be a lot harder to rent in if you are not Caucasian. The Boston Herald reports that individuals who advertise rentals on Craigslist in Boston blatantly prefer white tenants to African American and Hispanic ones. The Boston Herald used the Boston area Craigslist page in order to try out an experiment to see how the rental market in Boston was like with regards to race.

They submitted responses to a sample of 739 posts for rentals on the site. Each sample was emailed from three equally qualified potential renters. The only difference between the three potential renters was their names. One was an Irish sounding name (Matthew O'Brien or Neil Baker); one with an African-American sounding name (Tremayne Robinson or Tyrone Jackson); and one with a Hispanic sounding name (Pedro Gonzales or Jorge Rodriguez).

As a result of the experiment, more whites were informed that rentals were still available, received responses from housing providers, told to contact the property owner, or told of any additional units that were available.

While this is just an experiment, it does indicate that discrimination in housing may still exist in Boston and in other metro areas. Here are some key points to remember if you are wondering if you have experienced it:

A Housing Provider Will Not Rent To You or Sell To You: If an individual refuses to rent to you or sell to you, and you happen to be a minority, you may want to speak with a Boston real estate attorney. Even if this is a civil rights matter, some Boston real estate attorneys can tell you what possible housing discrimination is.

A Housing Provider Will Not Negotiate With You: If a housing provider is not open to negotiating with you, you may be facing some discrimination in housing.

The Housing Is Not Available: Again, this is a red flag for possible discrimination.

There Are Different Terms: If your terms with the housing provider are different than your neighbors, you may want to call a Boston real estate attorney.

There Are Different Conditions or Privileges: This should be another warning sign.

Lack of Access Or Membership To A Service or Facility: If you don't have access to a facility or service that other people have access to, you should be on guard.

Different Interest Rates or Terms: If your interest rate on a mortgage, or the terms of your loan differs, you may want to meet with an attorney.

While these are just some instances of discrimination in housing, there are countless situations where it can occur. If you feel like this could be something that you are dealing with, speaking with a Boston real estate lawyer can be helpful. They can even help you find a housing situation that is less hostile. For more general information, please visit our Related Resources.

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