It is hard to find an apartment that ticks all the boxes.
Often, the quest for an ideal rental unit is also fraught with rude surprises. A recent survey by CP Residences found that nearly half of apartment hunters in Singapore face rental discrimination based on factors ranging from race, religion and gender to even job title.
Here are three things we learned from close to 100 respondents:
Landlord’s Market: 8 in 10 face challenges renting
Rental prices are on the rise in Singapore, hitting a seven-year high in March 2022, up about 10 per cent from the same period last year due to construction delays, according to Reuters. With so many people looking to rent an apartment, some would-be tenants are being priced out of the market.
Some have even suggested that finding an available unit is like winning the lottery, based on the article. Construction delays due to the pandemic are forcing residents to search for temporary accommodation.
According to CP’s survey, 82 per cent of respondents indicated that they faced challenges when looking for a place to rent.
Compounding such cost issues is the prevalence of rental discrimination. Forty-eight per cent of the respondents revealed that they had been discriminated against when searching for a place to rent.
UGLY RACISM: 7 in 10 face discrimination because of race
Of the 44 respondents who told CP they faced discrimination, 70 per cent stated race as the reason.
The result is indicative of the wider situation, with some incidents reported online. After his rental applications were rejected numerous times, a frustrated Darius Cheung recounted to Yahoo news how he probed a property agent and was told: “Sorry, your wife is Indian, the landlord won’t rent to you”.
In the end, his family paid 15 per cent above the market rate for a home that welcomed them.
A 2019 YouGov survey echoed the prejudice that the Indian community grapples with – 49 per cent of Indians polled said they faced discrimination because of their ethnicity when looking to rent an apartment.
Additionally, 34 per cent of Malays concurred that they were treated differently because of their race. The survey also revealed that half the respondents have come across rental advertisements with racial requirements such as only allowing a certain race to apply.
In another survey by CNA, almost 90 per cent of Singaporeans surveyed said they would rent a room in their home to Chinese Singaporeans but only half said they would accept Indian or Malay tenants.
These figures reveal an abhorrent prejudice against people of colour in Singapore despite its multiracial stance.
Those who do not experience rental discrimination acknowledge this ugly truth too, with almost 95 per cent of them indicating in CP’s survey that race is why most are denied an apartment.
GENDER GULF: One-third have faced discrimination because of gender
After race, gender is another key basis of discrimination.
According to CP’s survey, a third (34 per cent) of respondents have been discriminated against on grounds of their gender.
A quick scroll through property listings reveals that most agents and landlords are very particular about gender. “Males preferred” and “Females only please” are common descriptions under rental requirements. But the odds seem equally stacked against both genders.
Such rampant discrimination in the rental market threatens the social cohesiveness that Singapore prides itself on.
CP aims to be the change we want to see in the world. Everyone who applies for a CP apartment is on an equal footing regardless of race, gender or any other factor. Rest assured that your application will be evaluated fairly and objectively.
At CP, there are rooms for rent, but no room for discrimination.