One in four Singaporeans have faced racial discrimination when renting property

Kim HoPR Manager
January 11, 2019, 2:54 AM GMT+0

Singaporeans split on the issue of race in renting.

Close to one in four (23%) Singaporeans have faced discrimination based on their ethnicity when renting properties, new research from YouGov shows.

The study shows that Singaporean Indians are particularly affected, with half (49%) saying they have faced discrimination. A third (34%) of ethnic Malays have also dealt with discrimination. This is a notably higher than the proportions of ethnic Chinese (18%).

YouGov’s research finds that one in seven (13%) Singaporeans are currently staying in rented property. One in four (25%) have rented property at some point in their lives.

Five in ten (50%) Singaporeans have come across rental advertisements with racial requirements (i.e. only a certain race, or a select few are eligible to apply), while a third (32%) know someone who has faced racial discrimination when renting. However, this number approaches six in ten (56%) among Singaporean Indians.

Of those who have an opinion, four in ten (40%) Singaporeans believe listing racial preferences in property adverts constitutes racism, with ethnic Indians in paticular believing this (52%). However, three in ten (32%) of the population as a whole believe that landlords renting to preferred races makes good business sense and four in ten (42%) agree with the statement that ‘some races are more likely than others to be bad tenants.

The research finds that two in three (67%) think that landlords should have absolute discretion when it comes to renting property. The pieces of background information they most think should be mandatory to disclose are nationality (65%), gender (63%) and occupation (60%). Singaporean Chinese are most likely to be concerned with race (42%), compared with ethnic Malays (33%) and ethnic Indians (22%). Singaporean Malays are most likely to be concerned with income (54% vs. 41% national average). Two in ten (22%) of Singaporeans overall also believe sexual orientation of a tenant should be known to the landlord.

Jake Gammon, Head of YouGov Omnibus in APAC commented: “Singaporeans are split on the issue of race in renting. While a notable number have experienced racial discrimination in the rental market and many believe that race requirements in rental property ads constitute racism, a large proportion also believe that landlords renting to preferred races makes good business sense. While ethnic minorities feel more strongly about the issue than others, the majority believe landlords should be left to their own devices.”

***Results based on 1,539 Singaporeans surveyed by YouGov Omnibus, with the data statistically weighted to the national online profile of all adults aged 18+