Mission College Roommate Fair Housing Act Discussion Paper

Question Description

Roommate.com operated a website designed to match people renting out spare rooms with those looking for a place to live. Before subscribers could search listings or post housing opportunities on Roommate’s website, they had to create profiles, a process that required them to answer a series of questions that included the subscriber’s sex, sexual orientation, and whether he would bring children to a household. The site also encouraged subscribers to provide “Additional Comments,” describing themselves and their desired roommates in an open-ended essay. Here are some typical ads:

• “I am not looking for Muslims”

• “Not acceptable: freaks, geeks, prostitutes (male or female), druggies, pet cobras, drama queens, or mortgage brokers”

• “Must be a black gay male!”

• “We are 3 Christian females who Love our Lord Jesus Christ.… We have weekly bible studies and bi-weekly times of fellowship” Many of the ads violated the Fair Housing Act. Is roommates.com liable?

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