Fair Housing vs. Unfair Housing

Do you know the difference?

Knowing the difference between fair housing and unfair housing isn't as obvious as you might think. This blog aims to present a variety of important and interesting fair housing issues.

If you're an apartment professional, avoid costly mistakes by reading the stories of others who — even with good intentions — learned compliance lessons the hard way. (For the easy way, click here.)

If you live in an apartment, get familiar with your rights when it comes to housing discrimination, as well as your options for seeking justice.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Another Study Shows Voice Profiling's Prevalence

In October, I wrote about the results of a survey conducted by a fair housing advocacy agency in Marin County, California, which showed that black testers (posing as prospects) were often treated less favorably than white testers under similar circumstances.

On Tuesday, The Fair Housing Council of Suburban Philadelphia (FHCSP) released a report, entitled "FHCSP Testing Audit: Housing Discrimination Trends in the Philadelphia Region," which includes an analysis of its own Voice Profiling Project, in which black and white testers posing as prospects contacted landlords and realtors in the Philadelphia area between 2006 and 2008.

The results show that voice profiling occurred at least 54% of the time, with some black testers being asked to pay higher security deposits and application fees, not being told about certain vacancies, and not being told about any apartment discounts. In 23% of the tests, black testers received inferior service, such as not getting their calls returned or being given the opportunity to learn more about available apartments.

Do you think these surveys imply that voice profiling is prevalent across the United States, or is it limited to certain communities? Can you ever guess someone's race based only on the person's voice over the phone? Can most landlords?

What do you think?

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