My husband and I purchased a house in a beach community in San Diego in 2014. The house next door to ours is a short-term rental, and when I was standing in the street getting the house inspected, a renter came out to me and said, “Are you buying this house?” When I answered that we were in the process, he said, “How does someone like you afford something like this?” I was silent, and my realtor hustled me away from him, seeing her 3 percent sales commission disappear before her eyes. Had the older-appearing, white male chair of my department been standing on the sidewalk, such a question would not have been asked.

It’s been five years since that happened, and it turns out that those people are repeat renters. They are next door several weeks at a...

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