SAN DIEGO — With more and more United States workers turning to Tijuana for less expensive housing, landlords south of the border, collectively, are being accused of giving these workers priority when it comes to securing a place to live.

It’s being done under the assumption that people who work in California are more likely to be better tenants and pay their rent on time according to the Association of Real Estate Professionals in Tijuana, known as APIT.

“If there are landlords creating conditions to rent to only people who work in the United States, these are likely cases of discrimination,” said Laura Paola Olascoaga Díaz, president of APIT. “As real estate agents, all we can do is make property owners aware they might be discriminating if they tell us they don’t want to rent to people from Mexico.”

Proof of employment and salary levels are common requirements for potential tenants in both the U.S. and south of the border.

“It’s valid to ask for such proof, as landlords need guarantees people will be able to make the rent,” said Olascoaga Díaz. “But they can’t base their decisions on nationality or where people work.”

According to her, the neighborhoods most in demand are those close to the border crossings and in the more affluent areas of Tijuana.

Olascoaga Díaz says statistics show on average, rents in Tijuana now range from $800 to $3,000 a month, or about double of what they used to be two years ago.