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Housing

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.

Latest work in this issue area

All work in this issue area
Tenant Screening Companies Profit from Eviction Records, Driving Housing Insecurity

Our op-ed in Shelterforce on how tenant screening and eviction records drive housing insecurity.

Natasha Duarte and Tinuola Dada

Proposals for the Biden Administration to Address Technology’s Role in Housing Discrimination

We sent a memo to agency leaders in the Biden administration on technology’s role in housing discrimination.

Harlan Yu, Aaron Rieke, and Natasha Duarte

DC Council Testimony on Fair Tenant Screening Act

Upturn testified in support of a bill to make it harder for landlords to reject tenants because of eviction records and credit history.

Natasha Duarte and Tinuola Dada

Comments to HUD on Disparate Impact

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.

Aaron Rieke, Logan Koepke, and Urmila Janardan

Selected press and events

The Hill Trump officials challenge tech over housing discrimination

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.”

TechEquity Collaborative Panel: Algorithms, Bias, and Housing

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.

DC Line Clock running out for DC Council action on permanent eviction record-sealing bill in 2020

“Because there are so many different tenant screening companies, renters cannot find out in advance or challenge what a company will say about them.”