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Zumper, a home-listing site that’s raised $150 million from backers like Blackstone and Kleiner Perkins, weeded out thousands of Section 8 renters in a practice some experts say may amount to discrimination

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Zumper employees say company weeded out Section 8 rental applicants – Business Insider

Zumper; Jane Tyska/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images; Samantha Lee/Business Insider

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.

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