Māori wāhine denied rental in Christchurch because of race

Author
Amber Allott, Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 23 Jul 2020, 10:00AM
It is illegal to deny a rental to someone based on their race. Photo / 123RF
It is illegal to deny a rental to someone based on their race. Photo / 123RF

Māori wāhine denied rental in Christchurch because of race

Author
Amber Allott, Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 23 Jul 2020, 10:00AM

A wāhine Māori in Christchurch says a prospective landlord told her he didn't want "her sort" in his house.

Iwi Kemp has applied for 10 private rentals over Trade Me in the past two weeks - but was told the properties were no longer available.

After a friend joked it could be because of her name, she decided to reapply as Maria.

Three of them got back to her - and one even called to set up a viewing the next day.

"The first thing I asked him was whether the house was still available. He said it was ... Then I said that's funny, because when I texted you from my other phone with my real name you said it was gone."

Kemp said he just laughed.

"He said: 'Yeah well, I just don't want your sort in my house ... You're Māori aren't you? You wreck houses, and have gangs and the drug life.'

"I was just like, what are you talking about?"

She said he swore at her and ended the call shortly after.

"It was kind of disheartening and like a massive slap in the face. He hadn't even met me and just made that judgement based on my name."

"I mean I'm not in a gang and I don't make drugs. I've got a really good job and good tenant references - so he's missing out, really."

Kemp said she has faith that not all landlords are like that, but at this stage she just wants to find a place to live.

"It's proving a bit difficult, but that's probably because I haven't gone through an agent. With an agent, I'd probably have more rights."

The landlord in question was approached for comment.

According to the Human Rights Commission, the landlord is breaking the law.

A spokesperson said human rights and tenancy laws both make it illegal for landlords to treat anyone differently on certain grounds.

These include race, colour, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and disability.

"The same law applies to both private landlords and rental agencies. A landlord must not filter or reject potential tenants based on any of these unlawful grounds."

They encourage anyone who believes they've been discriminated against to get in touch, by calling their confidential service on 0800 496877 or emailing [email protected]

People can also complain to Tenancy Services on 0800 TENANCY (0800 836262) www.tenancy.govt.nz.