Do race-discriminate letting ads break the law?


Racial discrimination is as we all know, against the law and socially unacceptable. Yet increasing numbers of 'to let' adverts are carrying racial preferences, writes

Messages posted in the windows of predominantly London newsagents advertising rooms to rent have been discovered specifying race or religion. Examples spotted include: "only Asian families", "Gujarati (Indian) only" and "Sri Lanka professional couple". Such preferences have been also seen on free classified ad site, Gumtree.

Under the 2012 Equality Act, is would be against the law to seek applicants based on race or religion, so is this sort of advertising illegal?

In 2009, a letting agent in Lincolnshire was found in breach of the Race Relations Act 1976 for excluding migrant workers, reports, but would this apply to live-in landlords or tenants looking for housemates?

The Equality Act does state that it's against the law for anyone 'disposing of premises' - selling, letting, subletting - to discriminate 'by not letting or selling the premises to [an applicant]'.

Those who are unsure about the best way to advertise property might find it helpful to use the services of online estate agents. These typically allow landlords to upload the details of their let into a defined template. An advert will be published once it has been reviewed so as not to inadvertently offend.

Chris Norris of the National Landlords Association said it was unclear, but "such behaviour is discriminatory against other potential housemates."

"Tenants looking for new housemates should focus on describing the house's current occupants so that potential applicants can judge for themselves whether they would be a suitable fit or not," he added.

Author: Properties ABC