New report sheds light on racial discrimination in PRS

New report sheds light on racial discrimination in PRS

9:45 AM, 9th November 2023, About 9 months ago 18

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People from ethnic backgrounds are more likely to be ignored when looking for accommodation in the private rented sector, new research claims. 

A new study by Generation Rent reveals white people are 36% more likely to receive a positive response when applying to rent on SpareRoom than black people.

The organisation created two fake profiles using artificial intelligence on the rental website. The only differences in their details were their names and skin colour.

Concerning to see racism and discrimination at play

Within minutes of each other, both accounts submitted enquiries to more than 200 property adverts across the country.

The research also reveals the white profile was 17% more likely than the black profile to receive any response at all.

In one example the same message was sent by both profiles enquiring about a room in a townhouse.

“Hi there, I’m interested in the property, could I arrange a viewing please?” it read.

The white profile, named Lizzie, received this response: “Hi Lizzie, can you tell me a little about how long you would be looking for the room, do you work local etc. Many Thanks.”

The black profile, called Zuri, received a different message stating simply: “Hello, sorry it’s just been let.”

Tilly Smith, campaigns and partnerships Officer at Generation Rent said: “It is extremely concerning to see racism and discrimination at play, preventing people of colour from accessing safe and secure housing.

“The lack of homes for minority ethnic renters to move into is not only extremely stressful and distressing when looking for somewhere to move or when facing eviction, but also forces many to have to endure poor conditions in the properties they can get access to.”

Homes people deserve

Ms Smith says the Renters’ Reform Bill will help protect people from ethnic backgrounds.

“The Bill will grant renters in England much-needed security in their homes, which will be extremely beneficial for renters, especially people of colour.

“However, until there are enough affordable and social homes for people to live in, biases – whether unconscious or not – will continue to deny people the homes they deserve.”

In a statement to Sky News, SpareRoom said its “discrimination policy states nobody can discriminate against or reject someone due to their race.

“We look into every single report of discrimination we receive and investigate thoroughly – if we find that racial discrimination has occurred we’ll remove the user permanently.”

Shortage of rental stock

In response to the Generation Rent report, Propertymark say they are extremely disappointed by the findings.

Nathan Emerson, chief executive officer, at Propertymark said: “Propertymark are extremely disappointed to see Generation Rent’s findings. No one should ever feel they are being discriminated against under any circumstance.

“As the shortage of available rental stock compared to the increasing demand continues to see less choice available, it is important we are openly talking on the matter and understanding such issues to help get them resolved in the wider society, giving everyone an equal opportunity against the backdrop of a frustrated rental market.”


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Easy rider

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10:19 AM, 9th November 2023, About 9 months ago

I remember watching Homes Under The Hammer a few years ago. The landlord openly stated that the he was providing homes only for people moving to the U.K. from his country. I think it may have been India but not 100%.

Easy rider

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10:32 AM, 9th November 2023, About 9 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Elaine Landlord at 09/11/2023 - 10:09We all have racial prejudices based on our individual experiences or those that we read about. We need to try to rise above it.
It’s important to stay lawful but it’s also important to keep our sanity. I imagine it would be fairly easy to prove racial discrimination if a landlord with lots of properties only had tenants from one race (if this is at odds with the make up of the local population).

TheBiggerPicture

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10:36 AM, 9th November 2023, About 9 months ago

The person who built that model doesn't know what they're doing. Name is a poor proxy for race.
Of the ethnic minorities I have housed recently, they have had names like Tom or Jennifer.

The survey is a precursor to action the sponsors want to happen. Hopefully nothing comes of it.

TheBiggerPicture

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10:41 AM, 9th November 2023, About 9 months ago

Most landlords are in this for the money and will rent to the most profitable tenants for the least amount of stress.

Perhaps there is name bias for Yuri, since a few Yuri's have not been model tenants.

Basing the study on a single ethic name is poor for analysis.

I would assume Yuri was a Russian name, some people may not have a positive view or Russians due to actions of their country or their ability to pay rent.

Doesn't prove market is racist.

Freda Blogs

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10:53 AM, 9th November 2023, About 9 months ago

A sample of two is not statistically significant as a basis to accuse the whole industry.

In my own area due to local employers we have many young professionals of many nationalities and cultures and we appraise (and accept) them all equally.

GlanACC

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11:40 AM, 9th November 2023, About 9 months ago

Generally I couldn't care less if black white or polker dots but if the potential tenant looks like trouble even if they say they can afford it then I will find a legal excuse not to rent it to them.

Paul Maguire

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12:06 PM, 9th November 2023, About 9 months ago

Their example is meaningless unless they know the ethnicity of the tenant that was accepted. Rooms are snapped up in minutes currently {Edinburgh] so a "Sorry, the room is now taken" might look like a racial rebuff when it's actually the truth.

NewYorkie

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14:16 PM, 9th November 2023, About 9 months ago

My best tenants were Scottish and Polish 😉

Reluctant Landlord

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15:04 PM, 9th November 2023, About 9 months ago

My worst tenants (so far) have been home grown single white males 23-40. Closely followed by young (white again), single mums.

Ive let to Africans, Eastern Europeans, UK/Pakistani heritage, Chinese, Japanese, UK white and UK black heritage - old and young alike.

It's how they present themselves, their character referencing etc that is far more important than a name. It's not the face or race that has to fit, it's affordability and attitude!

Stella

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15:43 PM, 9th November 2023, About 9 months ago

Yes some of my very best tenants have not been home grown but have been from Taiwan, Nepal, Spain and East European

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