Friday 02 December 2022

One third of Amsterdam housing agencies will discriminate against foreign names


One third of Amsterdam rental housing agencies are prepared to discriminate against people with foreign names, according to research carried out on behalf of the city council.

Researchers made phone calls to 41 agents saying they had a property to rent out, but that they only wanted native Dutch people as tenants. In one third of the cases, the agents said they would comply.

‘We will add that into our notes and not invite them to viewings,’ one real estate agent told the research team. ‘It would not be wise to put this in the advert, but we can take it into account,’ said another.

The researchers also used mystery guests, one with a Dutch and one with a foreign name, to apply for 250 different properties. Prospective tenants with a foreign name were rejected 72 times, but Marloes, Eva and Niels were rejected 42 times for the same house or apartment.

Housing agents which were members of the two professional associations in Amsterdam were less likely to comply.


The research ‘proves that that discrimination on the Dutch housing market is a problem,’ housing alderman Laurens Ivens said in a reaction. He now plans to raise the issue with the local housing agents associations and develop an awareness campaign.

Ivens also suggests that an anti-discrimination clause be included in the licencing system for landlords which the city is currently looking into setting up.

Similar research carried out in Utrecht last year also showed discrimination was widespread in the rental housing market.

And last December, the housing ministry announced plans to use ‘mystery shoppers’ to weed out discrimination, with junior minister Stientje van Veldhoven saying there was a ‘serious problem that needed to be tackled forcefully’.

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