Nine current and former employees at real-estate startup Zumper said that during their time there it systematically screened out some lower-income tenants receiving government assistance who inquired about apartments on its site.
The federal government’s Section 8 voucher program helps subsidize the cost of rent. Many landlords and brokers have for decades passed over Section 8 renters based on untrue stereotypes and stigmas. In some major markets — including New York City and Chicago, where the company’s Zumper Select program was focused — it is illegal for landlords or brokers to discriminate against renters based on Section 8 status.
The current and former employees and leaked data suggested that Zumper — an ambitious company with backing from prestigious investors such as Blackstone, Kleiner Perkins, and Andreessen Horowitz — exacerbated patterns of prejudice that have plagued the residential market for decades.
A Zumper representative denied that there was any discrimination based on Section 8 status and told Business Insider that the company does not tolerate discrimination in any matter relating to Section 8 or any other protected renter categories.