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 April 2, 2015 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 April 2, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Be Careful, April Fools' Day Is Alive And Well

Be Careful, April Fools' Day Is Alive And Well

Newsy (Apr. 1, 2015) You’re going to want to double-check anything you see on the Internet today. If it sounds too good or too weird to be true, it probably is. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Sees Resurgence of Drug Trafficking as Ebola Wanes

Liberia Sees Resurgence of Drug Trafficking as Ebola Wanes

AFP (Apr. 1, 2015) The governments of Liberia and Sierra Leone have been busy fighting the menace created by the deadly Ebola virus, but illicit drug lords have taken advantage of the situation to advance the drug trade. Duration: 01:12 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California Unveils Historic Water Restrictions Over Drought

California Unveils Historic Water Restrictions Over Drought

AFP (Apr. 1, 2015) California announced sweeping state-wide water restrictions for the first time in history Wednesday in order to combat the region&apos;s devastating drought, the worst since records began. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Calif. Gov. Issues Sweeping Water Restrictions

Calif. Gov. Issues Sweeping Water Restrictions

AP (Apr. 1, 2015) California Gov. Jerry Brown announced a sweeping executive order Wednesday that imposes mandatory water restrictions across the state as California copes with a historic drought and water shortage. (April 1) Video provided by AP
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