SEATTLE - Undercover “renters” working for the City of Seattle found discrimination at apartments across the city.
They found minorities and people who are gay were shown worse apartments, asked more personal questions and in some cases told they would have to pay more.
Owners of 13 properties are accused of the rental housing discrimination.
“The results are disturbing and people should be disturbed," said Director of the Seattle Office for Civil Rights Patricia Lally.
Lally said the discrimination is part of a bigger trend at many rental properties.
“We charged 13 property owners,” she said, “but there were a host of other property owners who… had concerning evidence that suggested there was some level of discriminatory practice.
Seattle tested 124 properties. The city found about two-thirds showed some sort of discrimination against people because of race, country of origin, sexual orientation or gender.
“Unfortunately, housing discrimination is not a thing of the past, but a reality for too many people in Seattle,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “These test results tell us that we still have work to do to share information with landlords on their responsibilities and with tenants so they understand their rights.”
Jesse Wing, a fair housing lawyer, said people need to trust their gut when for a rental. Wing said to watch out for questions that are too personal and arm yourself with information before you show up for a tour.
“Then you can begin to ask questions: ‘I saw this on your website, what happened? I called an hour ago and I was told the place was available, what happened?’” said Wing
Twelve of the 13 properties have already agreed to repay the city for the cost of the undercover operation and retrain employees.
<br>Below is the list of properties charged, as Seattle Office for Civil Rights announced on Tuesday:
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- Verse (421 23rd Ave. S 98144)
- Flats at Interbay (3036 16th Ave. W 98119)
- Neptune - 912 Dexter Ave N 98109
- Link Apartments - 4550 38th Ave SW 98126
- Via 6 (2121 6th Ave. 98121)
- The Corydon (5101 25th Ave. NE 98105)
- Expo (118 Republican St. 98109)
- AVA Ballard (5555 14th Ave NW 98107)
- AVA Queen Anne (330 3rd Ave W 98119)
- Leva on Market (1545 NW Market St. 98107)
- Packard Apartments (1530 12th Ave. 98122)
- The Station at Othello (4219 South Othello St. 98118)
- Views at Madison Apartment Homes (1615 19th Ave. 98122