ECHO Housing

Jose and Aura Lyla Gonzalez lived in a bright, roomy unit at the rear of 1514 Benton Street for 17 years that was surrounded by trees, birds and good neighbors. But a few months ago the couple, who are in their late 70s, received word that the building had been sold to a new owner and then, a letter that their rent was going to increase by $600 a month – a 67 percent jump from the $900 a month they were paying.

In an earlier version of this story, The Alamedan misidentified the ethnicity of testers used for an ECHO Housing audit and the numbers of testers employed. The Alamedan regrets the errors.

Discrimination against non-Hispanic renters may be on the decline in some local communities, the results of a newly released audit show, though other audits referenced by the new one showed different results.

A newly released fair housing group’s audit showed that property owners and their agents lack knowledge about their legal responsibilities toward disabled tenants. Some 70 percent of the Alameda landlords audited by ECHO Housing failed to agree to permit modifications to accommodate a prospective renter’s disability when asked.