The City of San Jose recently passed the Housing Payment Equality Ordinance, which prohibits discrimination against housing voucher holders who apply for rental housing in San Jose. The ordinance enables applicants who receive financial assistance to be considered in an equal manner to all other applicants. The ordinance is intended to expand housing opportunities for voucher holders, many of whom have preciously faced discrimination.
Property owners violating this ordinance (both knowingly and unknowingly) often do so through by advertising through property postings on common rental platforms (Craigslist, Apartments.com, Zillow, etc) that housing vouchers are not accepted. The City of San Jose Housing Department formerly had an employee manually searching rental platforms to get a small sample of properties violating this ordinance, commonly identifying hundreds per day. Housing would then send (sometimes multiple times) direct mail to the property to notify the ordinance violation.
The above results in:
· Uneducated property owners
· Undetected discriminatory property listings
· Slow time to address and notify
· Limited understanding of trends
· Continued discrimination by bad actors
The City of San Jose Housing Department seeks a solution that would have the following characteristics:
· Daily scan of top property listing platforms
· Automated property owner notifications via direct mail
· Rental market reporting
· Property owner monitoring (identify, de-dup, track)