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Housing discrimination nationwide problem

Housing seekers with a migration background are more often rejected for a rental house in the Netherlands than those without a migration background. In addition, brokers appear to cooperate with discriminatory requests during so-called mystery calls in a third of the cases investigated. This is evident from the Monitor Discrimination in housing rentals, which was compiled by Art.1/RADAR on behalf of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations.

For the study, over three thousand rental ads from housing site Pararius were responded to on behalf of fictitious house seekers. For homes where men with Dutch-sounding names were welcome for a viewing, men with non-Dutch-sounding names did not receive invitations in one in ten cases. Women with a non-Dutch-sounding name are also less likely to be invited for a viewing, but the difference is less significant than for male profiles. The study used Moroccan and Polish-sounding names for male profiles and Moroccan-sounding names for female profiles.

It also examined whether homosexuals were discriminated against in the allocation of rental housing. In the test, homosexual couples were neither more nor less likely to be invited to a viewing than heterosexual couples. Also in this test, two couples responded each time, with one couple consisting of two Dutch-sounding male names and the other consisting of a Dutch-sounding male and female name.

National problem
The study shows that discrimination in the allocation of rental housing occurs across the country. The difference in who is and is not invited to a viewing is most apparent in this study outside the Randstad. Within the four major cities combined, no significant differences were found in the response to persons with non-Dutch-sounding and persons with Dutch-sounding surnames. This does not mean that discrimination does not occur here. Indeed, other studies do show discrimination in housing rentals within one of the four major cities.

Role of brokers
In addition to responding to ads, the study approached 105 brokers through so-called mystery calls by a fictitious landlord. More than a third of the brokers agree to the request to exclude certain tenants. The majority do not say no, but put the responsibility for this selection on the landlord. Only 15 brokers (14 percent) say they do not want to cooperate. In 9% of the interviews, the broker indicated selecting based on other criteria that may indirectly exclude people (strict selection).

Minister promises to step up approach
For Minister Ollongren, the research results are reason to further intensify the approach against discrimination in the housing market, according to the central government website. Ollongen: "This research shows that discrimination in the housing market occurs throughout the country. It is not only a problem of the big cities. I find that very alarming. Discrimination is not allowed and will not be tolerated. This applies to both rental intermediaries and landlords who publicly offer their properties. That is why we are going to intensify our approach against discrimination in the coming period."

The Discrimination Hotline contributed to the research and engaged with several brokers. Read the entire report here.

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