Testing FAQ: Become a Fair Housing Tester

What does Intermountain Fair Housing Council Do?

When appropriate, IFHC tests for housing discrimination. We investigate allegations from people who believe they have been denied housing or have been treated unequally because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or familial status.

What is the purpose of testing?

Testing provides independent evidence to support a civil rights claim against the housing provider. It is also the best way to confirm whether a housing provider may be breaking the fair housing law. Federal courts have consistently supported fair housing testing. When a test shows evidence of discrimination, we refer complaints to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and make lawyer referrals when requested.

What is a “Test”?

“Testing” works like this: If a Hispanic person calls IFHC to report that they were denied housing based solely on national origin, IFHC can send out two testers. One tester will be Hispanic, the other Anglo. Similar profiles are assigned to the testers so that color or race would be the major difference between the testers. These testers would visit the rental property and ask the landlord questions about renting the property. And then write reports describing what they saw and heard. Upon analysis by the staff at IFHC, this may constitute reasonable cause to believe that the provider is in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

Who can become a tester?

The IFHC needs all types of people throughout Idaho to form its “tester pool.” Anyone who is committed to social justice and who can be observant and objective would make a good tester.

Are there any other qualifications?

Testers may become witnesses at a trial or hearing. If that happens we will give you more information and guidance. There are two general rules: you must be willing to tell the truth, and not have a prior felony conviction or any other matter in your background that could be used to discredit your testimony.

How often will I test?

We cannot predict whom we will need and when. Some testers test quite frequently and others seldom or never. To maintain your privacy and comfort, the communities and neighborhoods where you will conduct tests will be determined by you and the test coordinator in advance. We often need to send out testers on very short notice.

How can I sign up for training?

Call the Intermountain Fair Housing council at: 208-383-0695 or 1-800-717-0694. Or email us at contact@ifhcidaho.org