MU Study FInds Housing Discrimination Based on Familial Status

7 years 9 months 1 week ago Wednesday, October 05 2011 Oct 5, 2011 Wednesday, October 05, 2011 2:00:00 PM CDT October 05, 2011 in News
By: Paige Hornor

COLUMBIA - Rachel Oliveri, an associate dean for faculty research and development at MU, found that discriminatory online housing ads are primarily based on familial status.  The advertisements were almost always posted by people seeking roommates and not by landlords looking for tenants.

Oliveri reviewed 10,000 housing ads from 10 cities in the U.S. Of the 10,000 ads, she found that five percent were potentially problematic or illegal. 

The Federal Housing Act prohibits housing advertisements from expressing preferences of race, ethnicity, religion or familial status. Ads that state no preference but give biographical information about the advertiser may violate federal law. 

"The overwhelming majority of ads that violate the Federal Housing Act discriminate on the basis of familial status, which is whether or not a potential tenant or roommate has children," said Oliveri. 

Online advertisements had less discrimination problems, but Oliveri still believes it is an issue. Website operators are not obligated to remove discriminatory advertisements. 

The study as published in the Indiana Law Review.

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