Housing discrimination refers to systematic patterns of discrimination which affect an individual’s ability to buy or rent a house. This different treatment of an individual on the housing market is generally based on a geographical location or on other group features.
This is also known as racial discrimination. Although this is often more difficult to prove than discrimination based on sex, race or age, housing discrimination can nonetheless lead to a claim for compensation. The most common type of housing discrimination in the UK is related to gender.
There are many different types of discrimination based on gender. In terms of physical and/or social discrimination it could involve, but is not limited to: being refused access to a hotel or motel by an employer, being charged more by a supermarket for products bought in comparison with those purchased by men, being rejected for a job or being called less qualified for one’s job. These types of housing discrimination often occur in situations where men and women do not share the same occupational tasks. Women are usually seen as homemakers, whereas men are seen as more involved in work-related tasks such as construction work. The lack of opportunities to prove themselves on an employment or job application can result in further problems such as being passed over for promotion or being told that the organisation does not want women on its books.
Another type of housing discrimination is related to sex-related differences which exist between the sexes and are often referred to as ‘gender-based problems’. Some examples of these problems include higher maternity rates in women compared with men and increased levels of stress relating to children. These problems may cause women a considerable degree of disadvantage when looking to buy or rent property.
There are various organisations available in the UK which help women’s experiences of housing discrimination. Some of the most recognised organisations include the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), the Citizens Advice Bureau and the National Landlord’s Association. If you feel you have been a victim of discriminatory housing practices, you may wish to speak to an experienced adviser about your case. These advisers will be able to provide you with an expert opinion as to whether your case may be able to make a claim against housing discrimination in the UK.
If you have a case which you believe can be brought as a potential claims, an EOC advisor will work alongside you to assess the case. They will discuss your concerns with the parties concerned, including the Landlord, potential witnesses, landlords and assessors. and provide advice as to whether or not a case can indeed make a successful claim.