Tuesday 19 November 2019

Discrimination widespread in Utrecht’s private sector rental market

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Private landlords in Utrecht are discriminating against potential tenants on the basis of both their ethnicity and sexual orientation, according to research involving 57 rental agencies which operate in the city.

The research, carried out at the request of a number of political parties, involved ‘landlords’ contacting rental agencies with discriminatory requests, so see if they would comply. ‘For example, when we were posing as landlords, we told them we did not want to rent to foreigners,’ one of the researchers said.

‘Sometimes they then asked us if we wanted to exclude all foreigners or were okay with expats,’ she said.

Four in five agencies were willing to comply with a discriminatory request. ‘We can do that for you,’ and ‘we don’t rent to certain groups as a matter of course’ were among the responses.

Testers also responded to adverts to assess what sort of response different ethnic backgrounds would generate. They then posed as potential tenants Abdel El Amrani and Stef de Vries and couples Max and Thijs, and Daan and Julia.

The responses showed that was Abdel less likely to be considered for a property than Stef and that a couple made up of two men were not invited for interview as often as a heterosexual couple.

Housing alderman Kees Diepeveen said he is shocked by the results and that the council will be taking immediate measures to combat discrimination in the city’s housing market.

Officials have already scheduled meetings with the real estate agents association NVM and Vastgoed Belang, which represents private landlords, the city press release said.

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