STUDY: Gay Couples Suffer Discrimination in Rental Market

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A national study has confirmed that gay couples experience discrimination when looking to rent a house or an apartment.

According to research by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 7,000 test emails were sent to housing providers in 50 metropolitan areas across the country inquiring about the availability of an apartment advertised on the web. Two identical emails were sent in each occasion: one by a couple identified as straight, the other by a gay couple.

Researcher measured discrimination based on whether the tester was told the unit was available, asked to contact the landlord, invited to the see the apartment, or received any response at all. In several instances, gay couples were told units had already been rented when straight couples had been told the opposite.

“As this study shows, we need to continue our efforts to ensure that everyone is treated the same when it comes to finding a home to call their own, regardless of their sexual orientation,” HUD secretary Shaun Donovan said in a statement.

Currently, U.S. Fair Housing Act does not address discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Researchers’ recommendations for further studies “include in-person testing, examination of legislative protections at the local jurisdictional level (rather than only at the state level), and tests for discrimination against transgender people to further examine difference in treatment between same-sex and heterosexual couples in states without legislative protections,” according to the release.

Check out the full study, here.


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