UNDERCOVER FAIR HOUSING TESTERS ARE WATCHING YOU: HERE’S HOW TO AVOID A LAWSUIT
Fair Housing testers are used by advocacy groups, many of which are funded by HUD and are usually individuals from the local community who have been specifically trained to conduct Fair Housing tests. Many are civic-minded volunteers, although most are paid on a per-test basis. Read on to find out how to prepare for undercover testing. WHO ARE COMPARABLE FAIR HOUSING TESTERS?
Fair Housing testing as a means to uncover evidence of race discrimination in rental housing, or "shopping," as it is sometimes called, was first approved by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1982. Since the passage of the Fair Housing Amendments Act in 1988, testing programs have expanded to include tests for both national origin and disability discrimination. WHAT IS FAIR HOUSING TESTING?
Being “comparable” means that the Fair Housing testers are, to the extent possible, matched with the complainant on their background, employment, rental, and even educational characteristics, differing only in their racial or ethnic background. In almost all cases, this means that Fair Housing testers may have to lie on the rental application and in any face-to-face meetings with agents about these characteristics. While this practice can come across as unscrupulous and feel like entrapment, we need to remember that the U.S. Supreme Court justified lying in this context as a powerful means to uncover housing
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