Landlord: I want white tenants

By Michael Dickison

It is illegal to treat someone seeking property differently based on race - but the rules don't apply when looking for flatmates.  Photo / Thinkstock
It is illegal to treat someone seeking property differently based on race - but the rules don't apply when looking for flatmates. Photo / Thinkstock

A Fiji-Indian landlord has had his rental property listing removed by Trade Me after he described his ideal tenants as "European".

He said the television show Renters had put him off ethnic tenants.

"I've seen other ethnicities, whether it's Asian or Indian. It was just a personal preference. They're just a bit more messy, or they can be. Not everyone is. I keep an open mind," said the man, who goes by the user name "dylan-b" but did not want to give his full name.

He said he kept his own flat - which he shared with Europeans - "tidy to a reasonable level".

Several non-Europeans had applied for the apartment, in the central Auckland suburb of Grafton, and he had shown them through, he said.

"At the end of the day, I haven't got anything against them... but you don't want to go through what you see on all those TV programmes.

"Renters clearly showed how students could leave your place in a mess, and people of different ethnicities just destroyed the place."

The landlord said his family had moved to New Zealand in 2001 and the apartment was owned by his parents.

The two-bedroom unit was listed at $400 a week.

Trade Me removed the ad after users of the site brought up the breach.

Under the Human Rights Act, it is illegal to treat someone seeking property differently based on race or sex.

But Human Rights Commission spokesman Gilbert Wong said the rules did not apply when looking for flatmates.

"Someone might advertise for a female flatmate. That's fine because it's about living with someone, as opposed to offering a product or service generally," Mr Wong said.

Trade Me operations manager Mike O'Donnell said it had been two years since the last problem with racial discrimination - a property ad refusing anyone who regularly cooked ethnic food.

The act also forbids discrimination based on whether someone has children, is married or is employed, yet several listings seek tenants who are working, single or without children.

Mr O'Donnell said the site had never dealt with complaints about discrimination based on employment or marital status.

It would talk to the Human Rights Commission this week to ascertain if there was a potential issue.

CAN'T BE FUSSY

Prohibited grounds for discrimination - does not apply when seeking flatmates:

-Age (from age 16 years)
-Colour
-Disability
-Employment status
-Ethical belief (lack of religious belief)
-Ethnic or national origins
-Family status (having responsibility for children, being married to a particular person or being a relative of a particular person)
-Marital status
-Political opinion (including having no political opinion)
-Race
-Religious belief
-Gender
-Sexual orientation

- NZ Herald

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