Recently many people saw and shared a discriminatory Craigslist posting for a house on Buffalo’s West Side. The advertisement was explicitly racist, saying that the poster did not want people of certain races or ethnicities to apply to rent the house. After being notified of the posting, Western New York’s fair housing agency, Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME), conducted an investigation. The results of that investigation strongly suggest that the advertisement was not authentic. As Craigslist posts are anonymous, the actual poster is unknown, but the individuals whose phone numbers are included in the posting do not own or rent that property. Moreover, HOME’s investigation discovered additional Craigslist postings that target these individuals but were unrelated to housing.
While this particular advertisement appears fraudulent, HOME appreciates those who were outraged by the posting and sought to address the very real issue of discriminatory housing advertisements. For every fake ad, there are dozens of authentic ones, and HOME will investigate any discriminatory advertisements that are brought to its attention. Many of these discriminatory advertisements express a preference for or against a certain type of tenant, specify a certain number of people allowed to live in a unit, or state that the landlord does not accept Section 8 vouchers or other public assistance. All of these statements are discriminatory, and are just as unlawful as the sentiments expressed in this racist posting. Anyone who encounters a discriminatory housing advertisement is encouraged to share it with HOME via their social media accounts or using the “Report Discrimination” tool on homeny.org.