Study finds discrimination across Virginia

Despite the law, Latinos are still receiving “adverse treatment” across Virginia — that’s the result of an investigation across Virginia by the Equal Rights Center and the law firm of Drinker Biddle & Reath.

Essentially, they conducted “matched-pair” test inquiring about rental properties. That means they sent ‘equivalent’ whites and Latinos to ask about the same properties — ages, martial marital status, income, etc., were the same.

“In 55 percent of tests,” the report found, “the Latino tester received adverse, differential treatment as compared to the white tester, in at least one respect.”

In case you think it might be subjective — “I didn’t think he liked me” or whatever — it’s not. They looked at objective treatment, and they found Latinos…

    • Being quoted higher rents or higher fees for the same rental unit than white testers;
    • Not being offered incentives or “specials” that were offered to white testers seeking the same housing;
    • Being offered fewer available units or later availability dates than those offered to white testers; and
    • Being told about additional application requirements, such as credit checks or providing a social security card, which were not told to white testers.

This happened across Virginia; the tests were done in the cities of Fairfax and Richmond, and in Henrico County, Loudoun County, Prince William County and Manassas, Roanoke County, Northwest Virginia (covering Augusta, Culpeper, Frederick, and Rockingham Counties), and Virginia Beach.

The law is crystal clear: You cannot treat prospective tenants differently because of national origin or perceived national origin. Period.

In addition, as a Realtor you are required to adhere to Article 10 of the Code of Ethics:

REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, or sexual orientation. REALTORS® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin or sexual orientation.


Click here for an explanation of Virginia law from DPOR. (And remember, as a Realtor you have an additional duty to adhere to NAR guidelines.)

Click here for a printable PDF from NAR about fair housing — including the advantages of working with people who are different than you.

And click here for more fair-housing resources from VAR’s Legal Resources Center.

About Andrew Kantor

Andrew is VAR's editor and information manager, and -- lessee now -- a former reporter for the Roanoke Times, former technology columnist for USA Today, and a former magazine editor for a bunch of places. He hails from New York with stops in Connecticut, New Jersey, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Roanoke.
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