Racism has become a political hot potato these days. Politicians throw around the scathing claim on a daily basis, all in an attempt to get votes. It trivializes true racism.

Racism in rental housing may not be as common as it once was, but it still exists. This article is written to explain how to deal with racism in the housing context.

Annette, an African-American, moved with a Caucasian friend of hers into a two-bedroom apartment. The friend, Julie, had lived at the complex with a different roommate for about a year, before the roommate moved out. Julie asked Annette to move in. Annette made plenty of money, and had a good rent history, so she accepted Julie’s offer. After she moved in, she submitted the customary paperwork to be added as a tenant to the lease. The problem was that the resident manager didn’t accept the move. The manager asked Annette to submit an application, then pay a $25 fee to check her credit, but then denied her application. Annette was shocked. When Annette asked for a reason, she was told, “We don’t have to give a reason.” Annette later found out that her credit had never been run. She also found out that other white tenants in similar situations were able to move white roommates in without incident. Annette was ultimately thrown out by the landlord, who called the police to make sure she left. Annette left the complex in handcuffs and tears.

Or how about the situation of Edgar & Cynthia Armstrong? They are a mixed-race couple. He’s African-American and she’s Hispanic. A female Caucasian tenant in their complex took a strong disliking to their union, and would regularly toss around the N-word in their presence, as well as other racial slurs. When Edgar’s cousin visited, the Caucasian tenant blatantly called the cousin the N-word to her face. The whole incident was recorded. However, when management was shown the video recording, management sought to evict the Armstrongs! To make matters worse, the Caucasian tenant was allowed to remain in her unit. Management felt that this was the most peaceful solution to the problem. Management was wrong, as it had a legal obligation to stand up for the Armstrongs when another tenant was racially harassing them. A landlord cannot stand on the sidelines, and claim that it’s not responsible since it is not the person committing the racism. Once management learns of racism, it must act to protect the person who is the subject of racism. If it fails to do so, the law will presume that the management was essentially a participant in the racism.

This is what real racism looks like. Housing discrimination is much more sneaky than the stuff that politicians proclaim. These incidents are clearly illegal, and you can do something about it. If you feel that you have been the victim of racial discrimination in housing, feel free to contact us via email at or call us at (800) 572-8365. There is no charge for the initial consultation.