LGBTQIA+ Fair Housing Rights

There are LGBTQIA+ couples and individuals in every city and county of Virginia.

The LGBTStats Demographic Data Site by The Williams Institute reports that Virginia is home to approximately 14,240 same-sex couples, not including single individuals in the LGBT community, nor households uncomfortable indicating their relationship status in census reports and tracking surveys.

Of the reported same-sex coupled households, 16% are raising children.

So why aren’t they protected from housing discrimination in Virginia?

Twenty-two states, the District of Columbia, and at least 240 local jurisdictions already prohibit housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. Virginia is not one of them.

 
HOME conducted 51 matched-pair email tests over the course of 2014 and 2015 to test the incidence of discrimination based on sexual orientation in Richmond, Northern Virginia, and Hampton Roads. For each test, we sent almost identical emails to housing providers to gauge their response to same-sex vs. different-sex couples. Our results compare responses from the same rental agent.

44% of those tests showed worse treatment of same-sex couples than opposite-sex couples.

The types of differential or discriminatory treatment included:

  • Telling the different-sex couple that the office is open one hour later than what was told to the same-sex couple.
  • Telling the same-sex couple that there is availability in general but telling the different-sex couple specific information about availability including number of units available and rent amount.
  • Only mentioning a special to the different-sex couple.
  • Encouraging the different-sex couple to apply online but not mentioning an online application to the same-sex couple.
  • Offering a specific appointment time to the different-sex couple but only telling the same-sex couple general office hours.

 

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