Black people often experience prejudice from landlords or estate agents when they look for an apartment in Europe. However, most times they’re not able to prove that racism is responsible for why they’re not able to rent an apartment. Landlords always emphatically reject any accusation of bias.
Now a case in France has shown that indeed landlords do specifically discriminate against Black people when renting out their property.
The French government, backed by civil rights groups, is taking action against one of the country’s biggest estate agencies and the owner of a flat who demanded they advertise his property for rent only to “people of French nationality, not black”.
Discrimination on the basis of race or religion or other differences is illegal in France as in many other EU member states.
The advert went viral on social media when someone spotted it and expressed their outrage. The agency, Laforet, in the Paris suburb of Levallois, has expressed its shock but claims the advert was posted by a young inexperienced member of staff after the flat’s “racist” owner insisted.
France is currently grappling with racism expressed in another domain, the jobs market. With members from the immigrant community or French-born of non-European parents far more likely to be unemployed, there are claims employers throw away CVs straight away if they see the job applicant’s name is Mohammed or Abdoulaye, for example.
In 2015 there was a public debate about whether or not to allow job applicants to submit anonymous CVs without a photo in a bid to get around potential race issues, but it was rejected by most employers. // Ken Kamara