Zillow launched on Monday “LGBT Local Legal Protections,” a data-powered resource on all Zillow listings that shows whether or not for-sale and rental listings are located in communities where state and local regulations explicitly protect individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender from discrimination.
The tool will be available on homes both on and off the market, and will provide details about the property’s jurisdiction and any local laws in place that protect fair and equal housing, employment and public accommodations on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.
“It’s 2020, and yet, unfortunately, in many parts of the United States, LGBTQ+ home shoppers still face housing discrimination,” Dawn Lyon, Zillow chief corporate relations officer, said in a statement. “That’s why we strongly support federal-level protections as part of the Equality Act. In lieu of federal law and in the spirit of ‘turning on the lights,’ we want to give people the most information possible when buying, renting and financing a home, including which communities provide equal protection under the law for all.”
Today, 22 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have statewide laws that explicitly prohibit housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. However, a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that LGBTQ people are considered a protected class when it comes to employment discrimination could potentially set a precedent for legal protections in housing.
Zillow is a supporter of the Equality Act, a bill currently up for consideration in the Senate, that “would provide consistent and explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service,” according to the Human Rights Campaign’s website.
A recent report by Zillow found that only 28 percent of LGBTQ+ buyers and 29 percent of LGBTQ+ renters wholly agree that “I feel accepted for who I am by those around me where I live,” whereas 51 percent of cisgender heterosexual buyers and 40 percent of cisgender heterosexual renters agreed with this statement.
“This definitely won’t end here,” Douglas Pope, Zillow vice president of rentals product teams, said in a statement. “There are other communities discriminated against in the U.S. and our hope is that we can expand our efforts to shine a light on the presence — or absence — of fair housing laws that impact those communities.”