CoreLogic’s screening algorithm may have discriminated against renters: lawsuit

Federal suit alleges the data firm, not the landlord, is to blame for the program’s discriminatory outcome

TRD NATIONAL /
Sep.September 25, 2020 04:00 PM
Housing and Urban Development secretary Ben Carson (Getty; iStock)
Housing and Urban Development secretary Ben Carson (Getty; iStock)

A federal lawsuit can proceed against a screening company used by a landlord to weed out tenants, a move that may have violated fair housing laws.

The lawsuit blames CoreLogic, the company that did the screening, rather than the landlord who hired the firm, The Markup reported.

The case could impact who is held responsible for the misdeeds of technology used in property management. Tenant advocates have argued that algorithms replicate human biases — meaning that algorithms can carry out the same racial discrimination that humans are prone to. The systems to hold algorithms accountable, meanwhile, have not made the same strides as artificial intelligence.

While advocates raise questions about housing discrimination via algorithm, the Trump administration has taken steps to make it easier to throw out complaints of unfair screening. The department of Housing and Urban Development changed how it interprets claims of discriminatory practices when no discrimination was intended, which will give property owners, brokers and financial institutions more avenues to dismiss such claims.

The change “frees up parties to innovate, and to take risks to meet the needs of their customers, without the fear that their efforts will be second-guessed through statistics years down the line,” Paul Compton, HUD’s general counsel, told reporters last year.

The changes, which were entered into the federal register Thursday, will go into effect Oct. 26. [The Markup] — Georgia Kromrei


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