Join the Fight Against Illegal Housing Discrimination
Become a tester today! The Fair Housing Council of Oregon (FHCO) needs people of all backgrounds throughout the state to combat illegal housing discrimination in their communities.
The purpose of testing is to gather independent evidence that shows an entity — whether it be a housing provider, government agency, or social service organization — is violating fair housing laws. Federal and state courts have consistently held that testing is a legal and valid way of collecting this evidence and enforcing fair housing laws.
What Is a Fair Housing Test?
Fair housing testing serves a critical purpose in FHCO’s fight to remove barriers for protected class members to find housing and promote access and inclusion in every housing transaction.
Suppose a Black family calls into our hotline with a concern of being denied housing based on their race. We would then send two testers separately to that provider to determine whether it had illegally discriminated against the family. One tester would be Black. The other would be white.
The testers’ assigned qualifications would be identical, so their race would be the only distinguishing factor between them. The testers would each visit the site, inquire about the property, and report to our enforcement team their findings about how they were treated.
One of our enforcement coordinators would review the reports to determine whether the testers were treated differently because of protected class status. For example, if the Black tester were told there were no open units, while the white tester was given an application for an available unit, this could be indicative of racial discrimination.
Important Testing Skills
- Scheduling flexibility
- Attention to detail
- An ability to remember what you observed and accurately draft a report detailing your observations
- A willingness to be objective and not draw conclusions or make assumptions
- An ability to reply spontaneously when a housing provider asks an unexpected question
What training is required to become a tester?
All testers must attend a free 2.5-hour training session to become a fair housing tester.
Do I need to be able to drive a car?
It is not necessary to drive or have a car — although it certainly helps. If you drive, you must have auto insurance and a valid driver’s license.
Will I ever have to testify in court?
While infrequent, testers may become witnesses at a trial or hearing. If that happens, we will provide you with more information and guidance.
Can I become a fair housing tester if I have a prior criminal conviction?
Generally, we cannot accept applicants with a prior criminal history. Because you might be called to testify at a trial or hearing, you cannot have anything in your background that a lawyer could use to discredit your testimony.
Do I get paid to become a tester?
We provide a $50 reimbursement for each assigned and completed onsite test and $25 for each assigned and completed telephone test. We also reimburse for any related mileage and long distance phone charges incurred.
How often would I be called upon to be a tester?
How often you test often depends on the type of complaints we receive and your availability. We can’t predict when we might need to send out testers or what kind of tester profile will be required for a particular assignment. Some people test quite frequently or on short notice, while others seldom or never do.