Department of Civil Rights applauds Craigslist and Fair Housing Center



As a part of its celebration of Fair Housing Month, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) today applauded the on-line site Craigslist and the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan (FHCWM) for their efforts to combat housing discrimination in Michigan. These efforts, which MDCR staff helped negotiate, will help ensure that housing advertisements posted on the site do not include discriminatory terms and conditions.

“The Michigan Department of Civil Rights is committed to ensuring every person has access to fair and affordable housing and these efforts move us one step closer to realizing that goal,” MDCR Director Daniel H. Krichbaum said, “It is gratifying to be able to announce this step in April, which is Fair Housing Month.”

These efforts were undertaken after MDCR investigators found probable cause of discrimination in housing in the area of Internet advertising. A legal review team found in at least 78 cases filed by the FHCWM, advertisements posted on contained language that violated fair housing laws.

As a part of the efforts undertaken, Craigslist voluntarily agreed to: —Prominently display prohibitions against expressing discriminatory preferences in housing; —Provide educational notices on its site which explain that such discrimination is unlawful; —Provide resources on its site to connect users to fair housing centers and governmental organizations dedicated to promoting fair housing; and —Implement a unique ‘flagging’ system permitting Craigslist’s community of users to identify inappropriate notices.

About three years ago, Craigslist also voluntarily implemented a screening mechanism, developed with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to block users from posting notices that are likely to indicate a discriminatory intent.

According to, “Craigslist (craigslist communities) is an online directory including classified ads and a community message board for specific urban areas. It is currently located in nearly 200 cities worldwide. Now the top classified ads service, craigslist is in the top ten of Internet companies.”

Editor’s Note: FHCWM’s workshop last week included keynote speaker James Perry discussing discrimination in various on-line housing sites advertising in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, which the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Center fought with similar results. See Grand Rapids Legal News 4/20/2012.