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London letting agents 'refuse black tenants'

racism london black tenants letting agents bbc discrimination equality act 2010

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#31 Brian M.

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 12:04

I watched this show on the BBC - and one thing that sprung to mind - it was VERY biased.

 

There are literally 10 agents in the film - all of whom were in the wrong. Yet, they didn't bother showing the side from those who don't do it. It's kind of like making an hour long show titled "Sale of counterfeit goods is rife in London." It's not. But if you only film 10 or so people who do it, it makes you think this. 

 

For the record, I was chatting to my friend who is an estate agent (not letting agent) this morning about this. His response was along the lines of "yeah it goes on even though it shouldn't, but there are reasons for it which, whilst not politically correct, are unfortunately very true.".

 

I don't agree with it, but considering how far we've come in like 50 years? The world ain't perfect. There's always going to be some kind of discrimination.




#32 +Nik L

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 12:07

People should be judged as individuals, not on their racial heritage

 

In a lovely ideal world where unicorns ride rainbows then maybe, however as a private home owner who has previously been a landlord there are certain groups of people who have a demonstrable trend in providing more hassle and harm than others and I feel well within my rights to be selective upon who I'd let to.



#33 OP theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 12:29

I watched this show on the BBC - and one thing that sprung to mind - it was VERY biased.

 

There are literally 10 agents in the film - all of whom were in the wrong. Yet, they didn't bother showing the side from those who don't do it. It's kind of like making an hour long show titled "Sale of counterfeit goods is rife in London." It's not. But if you only film 10 or so people who do it, it makes you think this.

That's like expecting a report about drink drivers to focus on all the drivers who don't drink and drive, or one on tax evasion to focus on all the businesses paying who don't evade tax. There was never any implication that all letting agents are racist and discriminate against prospective tenants.

 

In a lovely ideal world where unicorns ride rainbows then maybe, however as a private home owner who has previously been a landlord there are certain groups of people who have a demonstrable trend in providing more hassle and harm than others and I feel well within my rights to be selective upon who I'd let to.

It's wrong, and illegal, to discriminate against an entire ethnic group like this. My point is not that all cultures are equal or even that the majority of people within a particular race are decent people, but you cannot discriminate against people because of their race. Landlords have every right to pick one tenant over another but it is unacceptable for them to refuse to show the property to people of a certain race and for letting agents to facilitate that.



#34 Julius Caro

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 12:35

Was the would-be tenant's name "Winston Kodogo" by any chance?

 

To be honest, I find the fact that the act was enacted in 2010 to be more offensive.

 

well, from another perspective, for anything involving the government any racism was already outlawed anyway. this is different, as probably a special more explicit law is required to make it illegal for private firms or businesses to refuse service.   



#35 +Nik L

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 12:42

It's wrong, and illegal, to discriminate against an entire ethnic group like this. My point is not that all cultures are equal or even that the majority of people within a particular race are decent people, but you cannot discriminate against people because of their race. Landlords have every right to pick one tenant over another but it is unacceptable for them to refuse to show the property to people of a certain race and for letting agents to facilitate that.

 

Illegal?  I don't care - it's my house and I have say as to who I let it to.  As long as it's not proven that I made that choice based upon race, tough.  Wrong?  Who are you or anyone else to tell me how I can chose to let my own private house out to?

 

I never said anything about equality or decent people.  I most certainly didn't mention race.  I said certain groups of people have demonstrable trends to cause trouble - meaning less upkeep, less care, more likelihood of behavior that will negatively affect my neighbours.

 

My letting agent acted 100% as per my instruction and I made it VERY clear that some groups would not be of interest to me.  Please don't try to tell me what is unacceptable in my private business, I find that unacceptable.



#36 illage3

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 12:55

Believe it or not where I live its the white people who cause most of the trouble. 



#37 OP theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 12:57

Illegal?  I don't care - it's my house and I have say as to who I let it to.  As long as it's not proven that I made that choice based upon race, tough.  Wrong?  Who are you or anyone else to tell me how I can chose to let my own private house out to?

Wow. Conversation over. :no:



#38 HawkMan

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 13:33

I watched this show on the BBC - and one thing that sprung to mind - it was VERY biased.

 

There are literally 10 agents in the film - all of whom were in the wrong. Yet, they didn't bother showing the side from those who don't do it. It's kind of like making an hour long show titled "Sale of counterfeit goods is rife in London." It's not. But if you only film 10 or so people who do it, it makes you think this. 

 

For the record, I was chatting to my friend who is an estate agent (not letting agent) this morning about this. His response was along the lines of "yeah it goes on even though it shouldn't, but there are reasons for it which, whilst not politically correct, are unfortunately very true.".

 

I don't agree with it, but considering how far we've come in like 50 years? The world ain't perfect. There's always going to be some kind of discrimination.

 

what if all the ones they talked to did it ? hard to prove that they talked to more and chose not to show those who didn't though. but that's not the point either, the point is that there's a high number who does do it. 

 

As for your friends "reason", that brings us back to what I was talking about earlier, abused and misunderstood usage for racial profiling. Like the guy in this thread who thought that not only the majority but vast majority of blacks where criminals.  

 

while the percentage may be higher on blacks, it's nowhere near a majority. and without a check of the person and being able to read a person you're just as likely to get a "bad"  violent and criminal white person. racial profiling doesn't work for this. it works for customs and police stops sure, but that's an entirely different usage scenario. it's more important to read the person and if necessary do some checks on him/her.  The only reason to black a race from renting is racism, pure and simple. Racial profiling doesn't factor in, it makes no sense to use it in this scenario. 



#39 Brian M.

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 15:11

That's like expecting a report about drink drivers to focus on all the drivers who don't drink and drive, or one on tax evasion to focus on all the businesses paying who don't evade tax. There was never any implication that all letting agents are racist and discriminate against prospective tenants.


It's wrong, and illegal, to discriminate against an entire ethnic group like this. My point is not that all cultures are equal or even that the majority of people within a particular race are decent people, but you cannot discriminate against people because of their race. Landlords have every right to pick one tenant over another but it is unacceptable for them to refuse to show the property to people of a certain race and for letting agents to facilitate that.


Before you dismiss my post completely - there's two ways to tackle the problem. First off, you can just say "it's illegal, you must change it". Will that work? probably not.

Alternatively, you can dig deeper into the problem, and try to understand why it is happening, as opposed to looking solely at what is happening. Why are some letting agents profiling racially? Once we understand why (and please don't just use the "it's just pure racism" argument - there is obviously an underlying problem that the racism is trying, in a confused and stupid way, to solve) then we can look at ways of changing behaviours on all sides to stop whatever ignorant attitudes have caused this to become prevalent in the first place.

what if all the ones they talked to did it ? hard to prove that they talked to more and chose not to show those who didn't though. but that's not the point either, the point is that there's a high number who does do it.

As for your friends "reason", that brings us back to what I was talking about earlier, abused and misunderstood usage for racial profiling. Like the guy in this thread who thought that not only the majority but vast majority of blacks where criminals.

while the percentage may be higher on blacks, it's nowhere near a majority. and without a check of the person and being able to read a person you're just as likely to get a "bad" violent and criminal white person. racial profiling doesn't work for this. it works for customs and police stops sure, but that's an entirely different usage scenario. it's more important to read the person and if necessary do some checks on him/her. The only reason to black a race from renting is racism, pure and simple. Racial profiling doesn't factor in, it makes no sense to use it in this scenario.


Again, we have no statistics about this. If we had statistics such as a break down of damage deposits kept vs returned by the usual profiles such as age, gender, race, socio-economic class, etc, then we'd be in a better position to judge what is going in. My main point is that it's happening for a reason. if we can stomp out that reason, or improve people's understanding of it, then we can stop the problem. However, to improve people's understanding, we need to know why it's happening. Not just that it is happening, and we don't want it to.

#40 RandyC

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 15:20

I'm a landlord in London and I do discriminate however never on the grounds of race. Rather I will only accept professional, non DSS tenants with good references (personal & financial). If you have invested ££££££s in a property you need to be selective on what tenants you'd accept but it still needs to be legal. 



#41 PhilTheThrill

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 15:24

So white people should be denied housing because of chav culture? It's concerning that you would defend racism on the basis that it's "better to be safe than sorry".

They're already denied jobs on the basis of being white, so why not everything else?

 

Being more serious though, the Letting agents are just being dumb in this case. The smart way is to say "Sorry, we can't really do that" and then filter the lists at a later stage to reach the actual desired outcome.



#42 OP theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 15:41

Before you dismiss my post completely - there's two ways to tackle the problem. First off, you can just say "it's illegal, you must change it". Will that work? probably not.

Alternatively, you can dig deeper into the problem, and try to understand why it is happening, as opposed to looking solely at what is happening. Why are some letting agents profiling racially? Once we understand why (and please don't just use the "it's just pure racism" argument - there is obviously an underlying problem that the racism is trying, in a confused and stupid way, to solve) then we can look at ways of changing behaviours on all sides to stop whatever ignorant attitudes have caused this to become prevalent in the first place.

I think the important thing to bear in mind is that there's nothing preventing landlords or letting agencies from refusing to let a property to somebody based upon a variety reasons, from their demeanour to their social class, etc. What is prohibited, and is morally unacceptable, is for somebody to be denied a service based upon their race. Of course I understand that there are reasons why a landlord or letting agency might be less likely to accept people of a particular background, many of which are entirely justified and in which race is not the motivating factor, but the issue here is that letting agents are refusing to even consider people because of their race. That is wrong.

 

By the way, some people seem to be under the impression that racial discrimination was only made illegal in the Equality Act 2010 when in fact that law replaced several previous laws: the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. It was designed to simplify and unify existing laws regarding discrimination, which themselves incorporated even earlier laws. For instance, the Race Relations Act 1976 incorporated the earlier Race Relations Act 1965 and Race Relations Act 1968.



#43 Brian M.

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 17:06

I think the important thing to bear in mind is that there's nothing preventing landlords or letting agencies from refusing to let a property to somebody based upon a variety reasons, from their demeanour to their social class, etc. What is prohibited, and is morally unacceptable, is for somebody to be denied a service based upon their race. Of course I understand that there are reasons why a landlord or letting agency might be less likely to accept people of a particular background, many of which are entirely justified and in which race is not the motivating factor, but the issue here is that letting agents are refusing to even consider people because of their race. That is wrong.

 

By the way, some people seem to be under the impression that racial discrimination was only made illegal in the Equality Act 2010 when in fact that law replaced several previous laws: the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. It was designed to simplify and unify existing laws regarding discrimination, which themselves incorporated even earlier laws. For instance, the Race Relations Act 1976 incorporated the earlier Race Relations Act 1965 and Race Relations Act 1968.

 

And as I said, shouting legislation at these people won't do anything. Get to, and understand, the root cause of the problem, and it becomes easier to deal with.



#44 OP theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 17:30

And as I said, shouting legislation at these people won't do anything. Get to, and understand, the root cause of the problem, and it becomes easier to deal with.

You're right that legislation isn't the be-all-and-end-all of tackling racial discrimination but it's important for people to realise that racial discrimination is illegal and won't be tolerated by society. Social pressure is one of the greatest tools available to tackle racism and articles like this do a great job at exposing the issue.



#45 Growled

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 00:06

Racism seems to be coming a hot topic once again. And here I naively thought that maybe we had grown beyond that.





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