How did you find your last rental apartment in Boston?

On craigslist? On the internet? By word-of-mouth?

Or, by using a rental agent and paying a fee?

If it was the last choice, I feel for you. I feel bad for you, actually.

I used to be a rental agent, but I just hated it so, so bad that I had to get out of it, as fast as I could.

(I’ll regret saying this, but …) The idea you pay a month’s rent as a fee to find a suitable apartment is the most ridiculous thing in the world. (In NYC, you pay more – 12-15% of the annual rent!)

It’s a matter of supply and demand, right, so why should I complain?

I’m glad there are other alternatives – the web and craigslist are great ways to find an apartment. Get the “middle-man” out of the picture.

(Yes, I realize you could say the same about buying a home. Hey, go ahead. Buy your next home without an agent. Knock yourself out. I’m not standing in your way.)

I bring this up, not to rant against rental agents and the real estate industry, but to discuss housing discrimination.

During a seven-month audit in Newton last year, 52 tests were conducted with real estate agents, landlords, and subsidized housing providers. Evidence of discrimination was found in 48 percent of the tests.

So, a cynic would say this means that 48 percent of agents are therefore prejudiced. Of course, the reality is that, most of the time, they’re just clueless, nothing more sinister than that.

It just illustrates the stupidity of the whole business. The rental agents are rushing around trying to make sales, dealing with crazy, ignorant, and/or racist landlords. The agents aren’t “innocent” but are caught up in something they just shouldn’t be, at all.

More: Audit uncovers discrimination against disabled in Newton housing – By Connie Paige, The Boston Globe

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Updated:  1st Q 2018

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