Become a Fair Housing Tester

Fair Housing Testing Q&A

 

Explore this Q&A to learn about becoming a Fair Housing Tester and what it entails. Discover how testers play a crucial role in identifying discrimination and ensuring compliance with the Federal Fair Housing Act. Find answers to common questions about testing procedures, responsibilities, time commitments, and compensation. Whether you’re interested in joining as a tester or simply curious about the process, this information will provide clarity and guidance.

What is Fair Housing Testing?

Testing is a systematic method used to detect variations in the treatment of individuals who are alike in all significant aspects except for the specific variable being examined, such as race or family size. This process helps measure and document disparities in the quality, content, and quantity of information and services provided. Legally sanctioned by the U.S. Supreme Court, testing is a valid approach to uncover and determine the scope of illegal discrimination.

What is a Fair Housing Tester?

Community members who act as potential homeowners or renters to gather information and identify unlawful discrimination, ensuring compliance with the Federal Fair Housing Act. These individuals, often referred to as “mystery shoppers,” help verify that individuals or companies adhere to housing regulations.

What are my duties as a tester?

In every test, you will assume the characteristics of an assigned profile that differs from your actual identity. Typically, you will be asked to visit an apartment as a prospective tenant and provide a factual, detailed, and objective report of the experience. You will receive thorough training and preparation for any assignment you undertake.

How old do you have to be to be a housing tester?

A tester has to be at least 18 years old.

Can I be a tester if I have a felony conviction or other convictions of crime?

Yes. In 2024, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has eliminated hiring restrictions on fair housing testers with prior felony convictions.

Where will training take place, and how long does it last?

Training dates will be announced. Training usually lasts around 7-8 hours.

How much time will actual testing require?

Each test will differ in duration, but generally, you should set aside 1 to 3 hours to complete one. Participating in a test assignment is voluntary. However, if you accept an assignment, it’s essential that you have enough time to complete it fully. Testing is not a regular part-time job; there is no fixed schedule, and assignments are given based on investigative needs. The organization considers testers’ availability, reliable transportation, timely submission of reports, and the quality of narrative accounts when providing assignments.

Will I receive compensation for being a tester?

Testers who complete their assignments receive a small stipend, the amount of which depends on the type of test conducted.

What do I need to do to get started?

To become a tester, you must complete a tester application, attend a mandatory training session, and conduct a practice test. Testers are required to reside in Mississippi.

Is there a deadline to apply?

We have a rolling deadline.

If you have questions, please email housing@mscenterforjustice.org.

Download the application below and submit to housing@mscenterforjustice.org.