Zumper Gets the Hammer over Section 8 Discrimination Claims

May 24, 2021
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In September of last year, OnlineMarketplaces reported on a discrimination suit against Zumper claiming the company and its subsidiary Padmapper, Inc. were supporting unlawful discrimination against potential tenants receiving Section 8 vouchers. 

Today, the New York State Division of Human Rights has said it’s resolved the income discrimination complaint. Zumper and its subsidiary, without admitting any law or liability violations, have renewed their commitment to fair housing and have agreed to change business customs as well as pay $40,000 in civil fines. 

The importance of this is based on the New York State Division of Human Rights’ Division-Initiated Action Unit discovered a way to use the filters on the company’s website to discriminate against prospective renters due to their income and any finances from government help. The division opened up an investigation which showed that the number of available rental listings in Nassau and Suffolk Counties for prospective tenants on Section 8 dropped from hundreds of listings without the use of the specific filter, to zero listings when the filter was selected.

The Division-Initiated Action Unite then filed a formal complaint based on this finding that led Zumper and Padmapper to remove the filter from their platforms. 

Both companies have agreed to honor this and are conducting fair housing training and working with outreach and education on fair housing along with the $40,000 civil fee to the State of New York.

This isn’t the first time fair housing issues have come up when it comes to property portals. Recently, Realtor.com acknowledged the importance of housing accessibility and launched a microsite dedicated to fair housing, specifically for those utilizing Section 8 vouchers. The site was developed through a partnership with Urban Institute, Homeownership Council of American, and Fahe.

May 24, 2021
Victoria has been writing about property portals and marketplace sites for Online Marketplaces for over 3 years. She is also our resident artist and is responsible for all of the infographic content on the site.

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