LEARNING AREA: Real Estate Development, Racial Equity

Qualified Renters Need Not Apply Race and Voucher Discrimination in the Metro Boston Rental Housing Market


The Boston Foundation, Suffolk University, Analysis Group




This study measures the levels of discrimination in the Greater Boston rental housing market based on race and income level. Data from this study show that high levels of discrimination exist throughout the pre-rental application process against both Black people and individuals using housing vouchers,21 beginning with the very first interaction between a prospective tenant and the person advertising housing (referred to throughout as “housing provider”22). In the vast majority of cases, real estate professionals perpetuated the discrimination. Policy makers should heed the findings from this study and work to enact measures that can curb housing discrimination.