Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Online housing discrimination primarily done by roommate-seekers, familial status, study finds

Date:
October 5, 2011
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
New research has found that discriminatory online housing ads are almost always posted by people seeking roommates, and are primarily based on familial status.

As more and more people use websites like Craigslist to find roommates and advertise apartment vacancies, the opportunities increase for housing discrimination law violations. Rigel Oliveri, an associate dean for faculty research and development and associate professor of law at the University of Missouri School of Law, found that discriminatory online housing ads are almost always posted by people seeking roommates, and are primarily based on familial status.

Related Articles


In a study published in the Indiana Law Review, Oliveri reviewed 10,000 housing advertisements from 10 major U.S. cities. Despite a huge number of housing ads placed daily on Craigslist in cities across the country, Oliveri found relatively few instances of illegal housing discrimination. Of the 10,000 ads she reviewed, she found that only five percent were potentially problematic or illegal.

The Federal Housing Act (FHA) prohibits housing advertisements from expressing preferences based on race, ethnicity, religion, or familial status. Even ads that mention no preference but give biographical information about the advertiser that includes race, ethnicity, religion, or familial status may violate the federal law.

"Although ads that discriminate based on race, religion, and ethnicity are perhaps the most jarring, they are extremely rare," Oliveri said. "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. Moreover, the vast majority of those who post discriminatory on-line advertisements for housing are placed by people seeking roommates. Ninety-one percent of the 534 problematic ads we found were posted by private parties. Only nine percent of the ads were placed by landlords looking for tenants."

Oliveri thinks people in shared housing situations who are advertising for roommates should be exempt from FHA laws. She argues that preventing roommate-seekers from advertising biographical information about themselves or expressing such preferences for their desired roommate would disproportionately affect minority group members who want to differentiate themselves from the majority or who seek a roommate who is a member of a minority group.

Despite finding relatively few discriminatory ads for rental housing on Craigslist, Oliveri still believes online housing discrimination is a problem in terms of absolute numbers. Currently, website operators are not legally obligated to monitor and remove discriminatory ads. Oliveri recommends that lawmakers place the burden on website operators to delete discriminatory ads. She also hopes for increased awareness of about the issue.

"This review of housing ads clearly demonstrates that there is a continued ignorance of and resistance to the fair housing law with respect to familial status," Oliveri said. "Therefore, housing advocates should focus their attention on both raising awareness of familial status discrimination and changing public attitudes about it."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Rigel C. Oliveri. Discriminatory Housing Advertisements On-Line: Lessons from Craigslist. Indiana Law Review, 2010; 43 (4): 1125-1183 [link]

Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Online housing discrimination primarily done by roommate-seekers, familial status, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111005180511.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2011, October 5). Online housing discrimination primarily done by roommate-seekers, familial status, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111005180511.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Online housing discrimination primarily done by roommate-seekers, familial status, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111005180511.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

After Sony Hack, What's Next?

After Sony Hack, What's Next?

Reuters - US Online Video (Dec. 19, 2014) The hacking attack on Sony Pictures has U.S. government officials weighing their response to the cyber-attack. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spokesman: 'NORAD Ready to Track Santa'

Spokesman: 'NORAD Ready to Track Santa'

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said that NORAD is ready to track Santa Claus as he delivers gifts next week. Speaking tongue-in-cheek, he said if Santa drops anything off his sleigh, "we've got destroyers out there to pick them up." (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins