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A Paired-Testing Pilot Study of Housing Discrimination against Same-Sex Couples and Transgender Individuals



Release Date: 
June 30, 2017
Posted Date:   
February 10, 2021



The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has sponsored paired-testing studies to document and estimate rates of discrimination in housing markets since the late 1970s. This report presents findings from a pilot study of discrimination in the rental housing market based on sexual orientation (using same-sex relationship status as a proxy) and gender status, two categories that are not covered explicitly by the Fair Housing Act. This study was designed to (1) develop and pilot test an in-person, paired-testing protocol to estimate rental housing discrimination against men partnering with men and women partnering with women relative to comparable heterosexual couples, (2) develop and pilot test an in-person, paired-testing protocol to estimate rental housing discrimination against transgender individuals, and (3) compare the utility of remote testing conducted by telephone or e-mail with in-person testing. The research team conducted a total of 2,009 paired tests in Dallas, TX; Los Angeles, CA; and Washington, DC. Findings included that housing providers treated lesbians comparably to heterosexual women seeking rental housing, told gay men about one fewer available rental unit for every 4.2 tests than they told heterosexual men, and told transgender testers about fewer units than they told cisgender homeseekers.

The report Foreword from Todd M. Richardson, the General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research, is available to download from HUD User.

To view the full report, please visit the Urban Institute website: https://www.urban.org/research/publication/paired-testing-pilot-study-housing-discrimination-against-same-sex-couples-and-transgender-individuals