Australian Tenants Complain of Discrimination from Property Marketing Pros

House hunters seeking rental homes in Western Australia have been complaining of discrimination in the competitive rental market.

The WA Equal Opportunities Commission has reported a rise in the number of complaints from prospective tenants who believe they are being frozen out unfairly.

According to the regulators, people are reporting incidences of discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity, disability or family situation with agents apparently employing a number of techniques to remove them from the pool of potential renters.

Estate Agents Accused of Putting People Off

Anecdotal evidence suggests that some agents are putting people off at the initial enquiry stage, with tenants saying they are being told that properties are taken, only for friends to phone and find they are still available. Others claim to have shown up for viewings, only for agents to inform them they can no longer rent the premises.

Commentators have expressed concerns that repeated rejection could lead to homelessness as well as causing distress to potential tenants.

Renters Advised to Know Their Rights

House hunters seeking rentals have been told to ensure they are aware of their rights, but the body representing property marketing professionals in the state said that members knew and adhere to the law.

President of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia David Airey told WAToday.com: “Professional property managers who work for REIWA members unnderstand you can’t discriminate for colour or family situation or any other reason,” Mr Airey said, adding that agents would inform landlords of this if asked to select a certain type of tenant.