NFHA and Fellow Fair Housing Advocates File Complaint Against National Tenant Screening Software Company

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Washington, D.C. – RealEstateRama – The National Fair Housing Alliance® (NFHA™), the Fair Housing Rights Center in Southeastern Pennsylvania (FHRC), and the Housing Equality Center of Pennsylvania (HECP) filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) against Tenant Turner, Inc., for its treatment of Memphis and Philadelphia residents seeking housing opportunities.

Tenant Turner is a Richmond, VA-based web lead management and tenant screening software that provides services for property managers nationwide including pre-qualification of prospective tenants. Tenant Turner is believed to display thousands of listings on its website from throughout the country. NFHA, FHRC, and HECP’s complaint alleges that Tenant Turner discriminates based on race by facilitating landlords to generate listings on its website that display a refusal to rent to people who use Housing Choice Vouchers (“HCV”) and designing an algorithm that prohibits voucher holders from scheduling a viewing of rental units that display that refusal in the cities of Memphis, TN, and Philadelphia, PA. The HCV program ensures that people, including veterans, whose incomes have not kept up with rising housing costs can still access stable housing by paying landlords directly for all or part of their rent.

NFHA, FHRC, and HECP’s investigation found that Tenant Turner displays listings online that are “not available for tenants with… a housing voucher,” which is language that Tenant Turner offers to landlords to indicate whether they want to rent to prospective tenants with vouchers, even in cities or counties with local ordinances that prohibit discrimination against source of income, including voucher holders. Through over 40 tests of Tenant Turner’s pre-screening survey that sets up showings of rental units on listings that display housing choice voucher restrictions, NFHA, FHRC, and HECP found that testers with housing vouchers were unable to schedule a viewing of the rental unit. The testers would reach a screen from Tenant Turner that stated, “Sorry,” and “This property is not available for tenants with… a housing voucher.” Fair housing testing is a controlled method of documenting the quality and quantity of information provided to home seekers by rental firms and their housing managers. Testing also helps uncover the nature and extent of potential housing discrimination. Through data collected from August 2022 to March 2023, NFHA’s analysis revealed more than 4,005 listings with housing choice voucher restrictions in 23 localities with source of income protections, including Memphis, TN, and Philadelphia, PA.

Tenant screening platforms, like Tenant Turner, that facilitate discrimination against HCV holders deprive families of the right to choose the housing that is best for them and increase the likelihood that people will experience housing instability, face homelessness, or suffer other harms. In 2023, the online home rental market was valued at around $18.24 billion, with significant expansions anticipated in the years to come. Consumers’ search for housing is becoming increasingly digital, and while this can make information on units and neighborhoods more broadly accessible, it can also aid in discrimination by making it easier for landlords or housing providers to choose home seekers based on their preferences or biases. With more and more housing providers using platforms, like Tenant Turner, that automate the tenant screening and rental viewing process, discrimination against HCV holders is now increasingly encoded or facilitated by algorithms and software.

The nation is in the midst of a fair and affordable housing crisis with housing experts projecting the U.S. needs at least an additional 7.3 million affordable housing units. Moreover, wages have not kept pace with rising housing costs. While housing prices have increased by roughly 160 percent since 2000, wages have only increased by about 70 percent.

“Rising rents are putting housing out of reach for millions, particularly people of color, persons living with disabilities, low- and moderate-income families, veterans, and frontline workers who have been hardest-hit by the ongoing COVID-19 health and economic crisis. When real estate companies and property managers deny voucher holders, they are denying people access to safe, affordable housing and the many opportunities that come with that. More protections are needed for renters who rely on housing vouchers, and everyone, including government, must utilize their powers to prevent the unfair practice of discrimination against those who use the vital HCV program,” said Lisa Rice, NFHA’s President and CEO.

“Philadelphia is known for many things, including being the poorest large city in the nation. Also, the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance protects people based on their source of income. However, when an online tenant screening company’s software excludes people with Housing Choice Vouchers, that is discriminatory and cruel. Denying humans access to housing violates their basic needs and civil rights. Corporations benefit from government support, and low-income persons, regardless of race, should also. As a nation, we have so many resources that offset the need for safe, discriminatory-free, and affordable housing. The HCV program is a housing solution for low- and moderate-income persons needing financial assistance. Nonetheless, discriminatory practices by online tenant screening companies’ software create barriers to housing and manufacture new social problems, including being unhoused, which could contribute to other challenges that impact us all,” said Angela McIver, FHRC’s CEO.

“In HECP’s testing investigations over the past three years, we have found that rental housing providers in Philadelphia tell prospective tenants that Housing Choice Vouchers are not accepted at their properties 68 percent of the time. These investigations tell us that long-standing source of income protections are routinely and blatantly disregarded by landlords, property managers, and rental agents throughout the city, a practice that has a disproportionate impact on Black residents. It is apparent that voucher holders regularly face unlawful discrimination as an additional barrier in their search for a limited supply of safe and affordable rental housing in Philadelphia,” said Rachel Wentworth, HECP’s Executive Director.

The alleged discriminatory practices of Tenant Turner are particularly harmful to Black residents who have long been impacted by inequitable policies and practices, including redlining, appraisal bias, racially restrictive covenants, racial steering, algorithmic bias, and other discriminatory practices. In both Memphis and Philadelphia, Black households are over-represented in the households participating in the HCV Program. In Philadelphia over 80 percent of HCV holders are Black whereas only 9 percent of voucher holders are White, despite the city’s renter population having similar split of Black and White renters, with 44 percent being Black and 39 percent being White. In Memphis, Black residents are similarly disproportionately represented, with 96 percent of households receiving vouchers being Black and only 1 percent of voucher holders being White. The City of Memphis’ renters are about 69 percent Black and 20.6 percent White.

The work that provided the basis for this press release was supported by funding under a grant from 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.


The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) is the country’s only national civil rights organization dedicated solely to eliminating all forms of housing and lending discrimination and ensuring equal opportunities for all people. As the trade association for over 170 fair housing and justice-centered organizations and individuals throughout the U.S. and its territories, NFHA works to dismantle longstanding barriers to equity and build diverse, inclusive, well-resourced communities. 

The mission of the Fair Housing Rights Center in Southeastern Pennsylvania (FHRC) is to ensure equal access to housing opportunities for all. FHRC serves 16 counties in Pennsylvania and addresses fair housing and lending laws to achieve its mission.

The mission of the Housing Equality Center of Pennsylvania is to advance fair and equal access to housing opportunities for all Pennsylvanians. 

Media Contacts:
National Fair Housing Alliance: Janelle Brevard |
Fair Housing Rights Center: Angela McIver |
Housing Equality Center: Rachel Wentworth |

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