The Impact of Limiting Applicant Information on Rental Housing Discrimination

The Impact of Limiting Applicant Information on Rental Housing Discrimination

Institute Working Paper 61
Published: Sep 21, 2022
Publisher: Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
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Authors

Marina Mileo Gorzig

Deborah Rho

Key Findings
  • After Minneapolis implemented a renter protection policy, discrimination against African American and Somali American rental housing applicants increased.
  • The increase in discrimination was largest for male applicants, units that were 2 or more bedrooms, and for units historically Black neighborhoods.

Policies that reduce information on applicants (e.g., limiting criminal history) have mixed results in the labor market. However, little is known about their impact in the housing market. We submitted fictitious email inquiries to publicly advertised rentals using names manipulated on perceived race and ethnicity before and after a policy that restricted the use of background checks, eviction history, income minimums, and credit history in rental housing applications in Minneapolis. After the policy was implemented, discrimination against African American and Somali American men increased. Triple difference analysis shows that discrimination increased in Minneapolis relative to St. Paul after the policy.

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