“To us it was pretty clear that he didn’t like that we are an interracial couple”

renter response

A reader reports on Sunday:

“My girlfriend and I just toured a room in a house in Brightwood that we saw on Craigslist. The man was very cordial and professional and the tour was pretty routine. A few hours I got the below email from the owner of the house.

Obviously, we were pretty upset when we got this message. To us it was pretty clear that he didn’t like that we are an interracial couple (I’m white and my girlfriend is black). Luckily, we were not interested in renting the room.

I was hesitant to reach out, but I’m still upset. The whole thing is sad, especially since the man was an older African-American man.”

52 Comment

  • I’d say you dodged a bullet……not renting from a lunatic is a good thing.

  • SilverSpringGal

    He sounds nuts. I wouldn’t rent from him anyway.

  • What does that even mean? Yes, you will be better off without that landlord….I’m sorry you had to go through that.

  • topscallop

    Now I want to design a perfume called “something untoward”. Seriously, that sucks but you’re way better off without a crazy landlord. I speak from experience!

  • Oh dear. So creepy.

  • ya, I have no idea what that guy is saying.

  • I’m sorry that happened to you. I agree with the others that you are better off without living there, but that doesn’t make what he said to you any more acceptable. The incident is very contrary to my experience in the neighborhood, so if you’re still looking for a place nearby, please don’t get discouraged. I would be happy to help if I can and will keep an eye out for places nearby that I know are managed by good people.

  • He sounds like a possible paranoid schizophrenic. I’m not sure that the OP’s theory (that the LL didn’t like their being an interracial couple) is correct. He says it was evident to him “that you 2 were NOT a couple” (caps added).
    .
    It doesn’t make any sense as to what their “hidden agenda” might be if they were a non-couple. Or even what their “hidden agenda” might be if they were an interracial couple — if they both went to see the room, what could have been “hidden” about it?

    • I agree. Sounds to me like mental illness. I’m sure it still doesn’t feel great to get that type of response from a potential landlord, but better you know upfront so you don’t end up getting stuck in a lease with that person.

    • Not really related, but when I went on Craigslist to look for the ad, I got distracted by this one, which I imagine must be a scam:
      .
      “tremendous furnished room with personal full tub to be had for hire in our dwelling.
      We are a laid back straight pleasant gay couple with three dogs.
      The dwelling is in a confidential setting just about downtown and interstates.
      Plenty of parking…$470 per 30 days entails rent,
      wifi, direct tv,,,smoking is external…Employed man or woman only
      should you interested please textual content me handiest”

      • auto-correct gone awry?

        • I’m thinking a native speaker of Chinese using an automatic translator that’s not very good — coming up with “confidential” instead of “private,” etc.
          .
          It’s less clear how the ad ended up with “straight pleasant gay couple.”

      • Too many errors for that. (I’ve never met a straight gay couple.) Language sounds like those scam ads for money that come from abroad.

    • The last sentences are a little unclear, but my read was that he thought the OP was a pimp or a john and she was a sex worker.

      • That puts a different spin on it. You could be right. Or he could be a nut and there was no rational thought involved.

      • +1. I got the same impression. That’s really awful.

      • Ahhh! That wouldn’t have occurred to me — good thinking!

      • That is exactly what he thought. I picked up on that as well.

      • yup – exactly what I thought

      • I thought maybe he believed the girlfriend was just a random black woman brought along as a pawn to win the landlord over. Why would a pimp and a prostitute be touring rental properties?

        • “Why would a pimp and a prostitute be touring rental properties?” In order to have a base of operations/place to transact business?

        • During the “honeymoon” phase, a lot of pimps will treat girls nicely while also making the girl dependent on him (getting her an apartment so that she can move out of where ever she was living, buying her new clothes and food and drugs), so that they can start pushing from “having sex with me” to “having sex with my friends” to “having sex with strangers, and also give me all of that money because I’ve bought you so many things”
          .
          Although my impression was that it was less “Do you like this place?” and more “Here is your place that I got for you.”

      • SilverSpringGal

        Ok, it sort of makes sense now.

      • I’ve heard many other stories of black women in relationships with white men facing this kind of racist accusation. Unfortunately too common.

  • Yeaaaaah, not doubting this guy is racist, but I’d be more concerned that he sounds like a nutjob. “Hidden agenda exposed”???? WTF? I think you dodged one there.

  • DC1

    Damn, the situation sucks but just be glad he’s not your landlord. I wouldn’t be surprised it’s an illegal rental.

    • The property does it fact have a rental license (as a single-family rental). The tax records say it’s not owner-occupied, though, which makes me wonder if the guy giving the tour was a renter looking to do a sublet, rather than the actual owner.

      • Original Poster here. He was the owner of the house. He said there were two other renters who were currently living in the house, but they were not there on a Sunday afternoon and the house did not feel lived in (kitchen was empty, living room was bare, etc.).

        So, yes, we dodged a bullet on multiple levels.

      • *in fact

  • Weird, my read was that he thought you were undercover i.e. a set up so test if he was breaking discrimination laws. I believe Hillary Clinton did this or thought about doing it in 60’s; where a people pose as interracial couples to weed out discrimination in housing.

    • I thought of that, too – that he thought they were testers. But it seems more likely to me that crazy is the explanation. Though that might have been obvious from meeting the guy showing the place.

  • If you read it in the voice of Samuel L. Jackson’s character in Pulp Fiction, it seems to make more sense.

  • goaldigger

    Have you filed a complaint with DC Fair Housing? According to this you would have grounds to- http://ohr.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/ohr/publication/attachments/FairHousingoster_2016.pdf (it doesn’t matter that you didn’t want the place anyway).

  • I’m sorry you had to deal with this. My wife (black) and I (white) will celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary later this month and we’ve been together for seven years. On our first date, someone yelled out of a passing car “what are you doing walking down the street with that black prostitute?” We’ve heard this racist garbage throughout our relationship, from white folks, black folks and others. We live in a hateful world. Don’t let it get to you. We are the future. My wife and I have a beautiful mixed race boy who’s nearly two years old. We see mixed couples (in all sorts of beautiful ways) and mixed kids everywhere we go. And this weekend we’ll be celebrating Loving Day with some other race-mixin’ families we know. If you’re unaware of Loving Day, read up and celebrate! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loving_Day

    • Tom

      +1, my girlfriend and I (she’s black) get some of this garbage from time to time. I think the one that stopped me in my tracks was when someone shouted “race traitor” at us while out in public one day. Their prejudice is their problem. Lots of jerks out there; keep your heads up and rise above ’em.

  • if you contact the Equal Rights Center (they have a link on their website to report discrimination) they could send out a tester. Discrimination in housing is not always illegal–for example, if you’re living in a house and you are seeking a roommate you have more leeway in who you choose than if you’re seeking a tenant and you live elsewhere–but it is a problem and this guy sounds ridiculous enough that I’d be glad to see him fined.

  • I’m very sorry for you that he wrote such a poisonous comment. What he said is a little scary, actually, and no wonder you and your girlfriend were upset. Clearly he is not in his right mind. My black friends (of all ages) tell me that older African Americans bear a lot of scars, and this strikes me as something that comes out of some experience that has nothing to do with the question at hand. Hurtful all around.

    BTW (to previous posters) if the gentleman lives there, he can choose whomever he wants to live with him. A woman, for example, is not forced to rent a room to a man in a house she occupies. She is allowed to discriminate on the basis of the housemate’s gender. Men are not forced to select women as housemates. None of those rules about protected classes (marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, etc.) apply if the owner offering the rooms also lives there. The Fair Housing rules only apply to units in which the owner is does not reside there.

  • Whoa! Was this house on Sheridan Street!?

    That email reads just like my old crazy landlord who would say sh*t like that all the time. I moved out because he freaked me out and then he kept my deposit and accused me of damaging his property when we’d left the property in better condition than we’d found it.

  • Just looked this place up and yup, that’s my old landlord. You dodged the biggest bullet of your life….

  • northeazy

    What does this mean by the OP “The whole thing is sad, especially since the man was an older African-American man.” Would it be less sad if an Asian woman sad it? I don’t get it. Why is racism more or less sad depending on the speaker?

  • Report it. Race is a protected status.

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