99.co shows support for inclusivity with diversity-friendly tag for property listings

99.co's new diversity-friendly tag was announced at a "Meet Your New Housemate" event on Sept 18, 2019. PHOTO: 99.CO

SINGAPORE - Singapore property search portal 99.co has launched a new tag on its platform, in an initiative to fight housing discrimination against the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) community.

The "Diversity Friendly" tag is an optional feature for property owners and agents to declare their support for inclusion and diversity when creating listings on the online portal, 99.co told The Business Times (BT) on Friday (Sept 20).

The tag states that all renters or buyers are welcome regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, age, gender identity, sexual orientation or physical ability.

It replaces the previous "All Races Welcome" tag which had been in place for the last four years.

"We have been championing the fight against racial discrimination in the housing sector since our portal started in 2014. This year, we decided to retire that tag so that we could expand our efforts to include the LGBTQ community as well as other diversity factors," a 99.co spokesman told BT.

There have been 86 listings with the new tag as at Thursday, just two days after its launch on the portal, said Yan Phun, chief operating officer and co-founder of 99.co.

"This is very encouraging to see. I'm proud for 99.co to take the lead in Singapore's housing and property space in providing more welcoming and supportive homes for everyone in Singapore," Mr Phun said.

Renting or buying a home can prove a challenge for LGBTQ individuals in Singapore, where same-sex marriages are not recognised legally. There are also no anti-discrimination laws in the city-state protecting tenants.

99.co's new diversity-friendly tag was officially announced at a joint event with community-based app Prout on Thursday night. The event was aimed at helping the LGBTQ community understand and manage the forms of housing discrimination they may face. It also provided a space for LGBTQ individuals seeking new homes to network with LGBTQ or LGBTQ-friendly homeowners.

The event saw 120 attendees, including professionals from the real estate and mental health industries who participated in a panel discussion on basic housing and rental processes as well as the mental health implications and support for LGBTQ individuals living in non-supportive homes.

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