Custom Search 1

Estate agents in London 'discriminate' against black tenants

DISCRIMINATION CLAIMS: Letting agents in London are accused of blocking black people from renting properties because of ethnicity (PA)

LETTING AGENCIES in London are discriminating against black people looking to rent by blocking them from tenancies, suggests an undercover investigation into the industry.

The report conducted by the BBC found a similar sentiment to the “no blacks, no dogs, no Irish” signs that were iconic of the early African Caribbean migrants’ experience, and discovered a ploy to keep black people out of certain properties by telling them that properties were already gone or simply refusing to follow-up enquiries when they were still available.

During the investigation BBC reporters and researchers posed as landlords and potential tenants.

A black researcher, posing as a renter, was told a property had been taken, and shortly after his white counterpart was invited to view the same property.

A lettings manager, of A to Z Property Services, in Dollis Hill, northwest London, one of the agencies at the centre of the investigation, said: "We cannot be shown discriminating against a community. But obviously we've got our ways around that.

"99 per cent of my landlords don't want Afro-Caribbeans or any troublesome people."

Another lettings manager at National Estate Agents, Willesden, northwest London, said: "When someone [African-Caribbean] comes in, we won't advise them of this property.

"Even if it does get [asked about] we make up an excuse, to be honest with you."

An A to Z Property Services agent later told the BBC it was "pointless taking on a property" if the landlord "doesn't like" the client's ethnicity.”

He added: "We have plenty of Afro-Caribbean clients - I can show you our files.

"We've got nothing to hide. We don't discriminate against anybody."

BBC Inside Out producer Guy Lynn said the investigation was prompted by reports of a huge and growing problem of discrimination.

He said: "I spoke to lawyers, letting agents, landlords, they all said that this was something that was incredibly easy and very common for letting agents to do, and particularly at the moment, in a landlord's market.

"Many of them seemed to think it was OK because they were hiding behind the 'I got asked to do it' argument.

"We focused on a section of west London, but numerous other reports and stories came through to me that this is a problem that is taking place across the UK."

Under the Equality Act 2010, it is illegal for businesses to refuse to provide a service based on ethnicity.

Equality lawyer Arpita Dutt described the issue as a case of serious racism.

"This type of behaviour takes us back 40-50 years, if you have every agent in an area thinking that this is normal and accepted practice then this is going to have a direct impact on the community," she said.

"That is fundamentally unfair. And that feels like we've gone back in time."

Subscribe to The Voice database!

We'd like to keep in touch with you regarding our daily newsletter, Voice competitions, promotions and marketing material and to further increase our reach with The Voice readers.

If interested, please click the below button to complete the subscription form.

We will never sell your data and will keep it safe and secure.

For further details visit our privacy policy.

You have the right to withdraw at any time, by clicking 'Unsubscribe'.

Facebook Comments