Zillow Study Finds Racial Disparities in Rental Applications and Security Deposits

A new report from Zillow, the online real estate marketplace, finds that renters of color typically submit more applications — and pay more in application fees — before they secure a place to live than White renters do. Renters of color also typically pay a higher security deposit when they move in.

Rents have gone up by 17 percent since last February, according to a report from Realtor.com, more than any year on record. Roughly 2 out of every 5 renters who have moved in the past year reported doing so to find a less expensive home. Additional upfront costs can be an additional financial burden for renters.

The report found that Black renters typically submit three applications before they find suitable and affordable lodgings. White renters, on average, submit two applications. Zillow found that the media rental application fee was $50 last year and White renters normally paid around $50 per application. However, Black renters typically paid $65 per rental application.

The report also found that on average Blacks had a $150 higher security deposit than Whites. About 93 percent of renters of color had to pay a security deposit last year, while 85 percent of White renters had to post a security deposit.

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