Louis et al. v. SafeRent et al. (D. Mass.)


On January 9, 2023, the United States filed a Statement of Interest in Louis et al. v. SafeRent et al. (D. Mass.), a case brought under the Fair Housing Act (FHA).  The Louis lawsuit was filed on behalf of two plaintiffs, Mary Louis and Monica Douglas, Black rental applicants who use housing vouchers to pay part of their rent. Plaintiffs applied for rental housing but allege they were denied due to their “SafeRent Score,” a score derived from Defendant SafeRent’s algorithm-based screening software. The plaintiffs allege that SafeRent scores result in an unlawful disparate impact against Black and Hispanic rental applicants because the underlying algorithm relies on certain factors that disproportionately disadvantage Black and Hispanic applicants, such as credit history and non-tenancy related debts, while failing to consider one highly-relevant factor, that the use of housing vouchers funded by HUD makes such tenants more likely to pay their rents. In its Statement of Interest, the United States sets out the appropriate standard for pleading disparate impact claims under the FHA and clarifies that the FHA’s text and caselaw support the FHA’s application to companies providing residential screening services.

Press Release (1/9/2023)

Case Open Date: 
Monday, January 9, 2023
Case Name: 
Louis et al. v. SafeRent et al. (D. Mass.)
Metropolitan Management Group; Fair Housing Act; FHA; algorithm; HUD; Black; Hispanic; rent applications; vouchers
Industry Code: 
Civil Rights Division
Civil Rights - Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Updated January 17, 2023