Everyone should have housing that meets their needs, regardless of their circumstances.
We investigate how online tenant screening services and digital records systems operate, and how they impact access to housing. For many people, access to housing depends on a background check into criminal, eviction, and credit records. These records are error prone, misleading, and discriminatory, keeping housing out of reach for those who need it most. Advocates across the country have worked to pass laws expanding access to housing and limiting the negative impacts of background checks in tenant screening. We aim to support and further those efforts.
Harlan Yu, Aaron Rieke, and Natasha Duarte
We sent a memo to agency leaders in the Biden administration on technology’s role in housing discrimination.Read more
Latest work in this issue areaAll work in this issue area
Upturn submitted this testimony supporting the passage of eviction sealing legislation in the District of Columbia and urging the DC Council to amend the bill to require all evictions to be automatically sealed at the point of filing.
Upturn submitted this testimony in support of DC legislation that would seal many eviction records and limit their use to make housing decisions.
Upturn testified in support of a bill to make it harder for landlords to reject tenants because of eviction records and credit history.
We argued that HUD’s proposed changes to its disparate impact rule would undermine crucial housing protections for vulnerable communities by reducing plaintiffs’ ability to address discriminatory effects from the use of algorithmic models.
Selected press and events
Miranda Bogen: “Any ad platform that allows this sort of ad-targeting, or that tries to optimize delivery to the right kind of people, will have to grapple with the same sort of issues that Facebook has been called out for.”
Natasha joined TechEquity Collaborative to discuss how public and private sector technologies are deployed in the housing space, what possible risks these tools pose for embedding inequality, and what policy solutions can prevent algorithmic bias in housing.
“Because there are so many different tenant screening companies, renters cannot find out in advance or challenge what a company will say about them.”