Saturday, October 19, 2013

Housing colour bar still there

INVESTIGATIVE journalists working for the BBC last week uncovered letting agents in London who are prepared to discriminate against would-be tenants on the grounds of race.
Under the Equality Act 2010, it is illegal for businesses to refuse to provide a service based on ethnicity.
But 10 firms told a reporter posing as a landlord they would not let to African-Caribbean people at his request.
A black researcher was denied viewings, yet his white counterpart was welcomed.
BBC London was initially tipped off certain letting agents were willing to discriminate against African-Caribbean people on behalf of landlords, with the alleged misdoing rife in parts of west London.
To expose the practices, a plush three-bedroom flat in north Kensington was acquired. Letting agents from 10 firms were invited to assess its rental value.
All 10 were recorded on secret camera saying they would be prepared not to show the flat to African-Caribbean people – and many detailed how they had done it before.
The lettings manager at A to Z Property Services, in Dollis Hill, said: "We cannot be shown discriminating against a community. But obviously we've got our ways around that.
"Ninety-nine per cent of my landlords don't want Afro-Caribbeans or any troublesome people."
The lettings manager at National Estate Agents, Willesden, 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."
When a black researcher asked to view the property, the National agent told him: "I'm sorry, that one's gone."
The property was still on the market - and a white researcher got offered a viewing.
The A to Z agent told the black researcher he would call him to arrange a viewing. Despite a second inquiry, the agent never got back in touch.
The agent had previously explained how he could deter unwanted tenants, saying: "We don't say no there and then. We just don't call them back (laughter)."
Once again, the white researcher received an appointment with no fuss.

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