Testing 2023-03-16T18:26:12+00:00


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What is Fair Housing Testing?

Fair housing testing is an investigative strategy used to gather information about housing practices, specifically whether persons seeking housing are being treated differently based on their race, gender, disability, or membership in another protected class. Testing allows SouthCoast Fair Housing (“SCFH”) to measure and document differences in the quality, content, and quantity of information and services provided to persons seeking apartments or other types of housing. In many instances, fair housing testing is the only way to discover unlawful discriminatory practices that violate the Fair Housing Act or state laws that protect against housing discrimination. The practice of fair housing testing has a long history, dating back to the United State Supreme Court’s approval of the investigative tactic as a lawful and necessary practice, in 1982.

What does a Fair Housing Tester do?

Fair Housing Testers can be described as “secret shoppers,” playing the role of a bona fide home seeker. At SCFH, the Testing Coordinator composes test assignments with different characteristics to simulate the housing search process. SCFH Testers then assume profiles, assigned by the Testing Coordinator, and covertly gather information on potential housing providers. SCFH Testers then complete a report chronicling their interactions with those housing providers.

Who can apply to become a Fair Housing Tester?

Fair Housing Testers must be 18 years or older.  No prior experience is required; SCFH provides training and all materials necessary to become a successful Fair Housing Tester.  As an equal opportunity employer, SCFH invites persons of any and all identit(ies) to apply to become Fair Housing Testers. SCFH does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sex, disability, age genetics, military status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression in hiring Fair Housing Testers.  Testers must be authorized to work in the United States.

Why become a Fair Housing Tester?

As a Fair Housing Tester with SCFH, you are an integral part to: preventing and combatting housing discrimination, creating more equal opportunities for all persons to have access to safe housing, and developing more inclusive communities in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Reports generated by SCFH Testers are critical evidence in discrimination cases before the U.S. Department of Urban Development, the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights, and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

In addition, you will be compensated for your work as a Fair Housing Tester. SCFH Testers earn a stipend and are reimbursed for travel costs.

What is SCFH looking for in Fair Housing Testers?

SCFH seeks persons who demonstrate a willingness to learn, exceptional listening and observation skills, and a commitment to completing investigative assignments. SCFH Testers must be responsive, well-organized and able to maintain accurate records with precision and attention to detail in a timely fashion.  Testers must also have a commitment to civil rights.
  • Testers MUST also have access to reliable transportation, and regular access to the internet
  • Testers MUST NOT: have prior felony convictions or convictions of crimes involving fraud or perjury; be a licensed real estate agent; or have other direct ties to the housing industry.

Where do SCFH Testers work?

At SCFH, Fair Housing Testers work remotely from home or on the site of the housing property, depending on the test assignment, tester availability, and SCFH’s testing needs. SCFH offers opportunities for on-site testing work in Rhode Island as well as Bristol and Plymouth counties in Massachusetts.

When do SCFH Testers work?

This is not a full-time or regular part-time employment.  Testers are called to work periodically on an as-needed basis.

How to Apply to Become a Fair Housing Tester:

To find out more about SCFH testing work, tester applicant eligibility, or to apply to become a tester, you can fill out this form (click here)
or contact SCFH’s Testing Coordinator Carmen Torres, via email, at carmen@southcoastfairhousing.org.

The work that provided the basis for this publication was supported by funding under a grant (EOI190024 & PEI190059) with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations contained in this publication.  Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Government.