Thursday 20 January 2022

More evidence that some Amsterdam rental agents will discriminate


Yet more research has shown some Amsterdam housing rental agents are prepared to discriminate against potential ethnic minority tenants if asked to do so by landlords.

Two-thirds of 42 housing agents approached by mystery callers on behalf of the city council agreed to cooperate with fake landlords who said they did not want to rent the property to people with a minority background.

Just 13 respondents refused to cooperate, while the remaining 29 were prepared to help in one way or another, the Radar research team said.

Of them, 13 said they would draw up a list of potential tenants with Dutch names only, 11 said the choice of tenant would be up to the landlord and five suggested using different criteria to exclude people, such as language skills.

Similar research in April 2020 found that one third of Amsterdam rental housing agencies were prepared to discriminate against people with foreign names.

City housing chief Jakob Wedemeijer told the Parool that discrimination could not be accepted and that more monitoring is needed to see if the impact of new legislation may help. That draft bill, which is not yet law, will allow local authorities to introduce licences for landlords and agents.

But the city has no plans to publish the names of estate agents who were prepared to discriminate because of legal concerns.

Earlier research

The study is the latest in a string of probes carried out by local councils into discrimination in the housing market.

Research published by the home affairs ministry in April showed that more than one third of rental housing agents are prepared to exclude people with foreign names from the properties they offer, and discrimination against potential tenants with foreign names is more common outside the big cities.

That research, carried out by anti-discrimination organisations Art. 1 and Radar, involved 3,000 reactions to adverts for housing with a rent of up to €1,500 per month, using Dutch, Polish and Moroccan names.

Earlier research into agencies’ willingness to discriminate focused on Utrecht, and The Hague and produced similar results.

Patrick Smolders, chairman of the Amsterdam rental agents association, told the paper that discrimination is both illegal and unacceptable.

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