A number of sources have contacted Business Insider and leaked what could be damning evidence of wrongdoings at Zumper. The San Francisco-based rental marketplace startup has been accused of discriminating tenants who received Section 8 housing assistance.
The sources explained that Zumper had an automation system that sifting through tenant applications and automatically disqualified those who had Section 8 vouchers. BI interviewed one such tenant who said she was expecting a call back after applying to only continue waiting indefinitely. She had been automatically denied.
Other sources, one being a current employee and eight former employees brought the issue to the surface, said that Zumper systemically screened out Section 8 receivers looking to rent apartments through their site.
A Zumper spokesperson has denied the allegations and said that those who have been disqualified were judged on their credit history and not on if they received government assistance.
The claims aren’t just hearsay. The accusers have brought data to back up their reports. One source shows thousands of Section 8 tenants that were disqualified by Zumper with the only reason given that they were “unserviceable.” A word that was rampantly used throughout the reports.
So what is the program that is causing a majority of the issue?
Zumper had run an initiative to up its categorization of good and bad leads in a move to compete with the bigger names in the business, like Zillow. Zumper Select was developed to automate the separation between useable and non-serviceable leads to speed up operations for its brokers. This is where the discrimination came in.
Sources told BI, however, that even though Zumper Select is not in use anymore, they were still being told by their higher-ups to physically tell Section 8 voucher holders that there was nothing available and to hang up.
"He said, 'Tell them nothing is available, and hang up.”
Internal data suggests Zumper screened out tens of thousands of Section 8 applications between this method and Zumpe Select.
Discrimination isn’t a new issue within the real estate industry. Zillow has brought scary numbers to light in the most recent months.
In fact, Zillow has done its part by stepping up to the plate when it comes to social issues. The CEO has taken a number of public stances on social justice in The States. He has allowed 90% of his employees to work remotely, indefinitely, and has vowed to diversify the company’s Board through The Board Challenge. Many other companies could learn a thing or two from this property giant.