EU Citizens – Renting and Discrimination

If you are facing discrimination as an EU mainlander, despite the facts that: (a) UK laws haven’t changed, to make discrimination legal (b) Britain hasn’t left the EU yet and may not, please don’t accept it. Fight it, not just for yourself, but for others.

Please ensure that you get a tenancy agreement, so that you have rights in law. If you can, seek a rental property via a letting agent which is a member of ARLA Propertymark . ARLA Propertymark letting agencies are part of the Propertymark Protected money scheme and there’s also an independent redress scheme.

ECAS (European Citizen Action Service) provides Your Europe Advice using a team of 65 independent lawyers.  Start there with any problems. You should be able to get free personalised advice in an EU language of your choice.

This is first on the list as it’s helpful if you’re not bilingual in English and is also handy ammunition in any complaint.

GOV.UK Private renting Since February 2016, prospective tenants wanting to rent, will get asked to prove that they have the Right to Rent in the UK, even if British. There are exemptions to this, so please check the page. If you have the Right to Rent, discrimination against you is illegal. Shelter – Right to Rent immigration checks

If your landlord discriminates against you, based solely on your nationality, this is illegal. Nationality is a ”Protected Characteristic’ under equality law.
GOV.uk – Discrimination: Your Rights

Shelter has a free housing advice line open 0800 – 2000 weekdays and 0900 – 1700 weekends on 0808 800 4444 365 days per year. NB: You may have to wait 20 mins in busy periods. Alternatively, Shelter has 17 advice centres for help in person. Please donate to this charity if able to.

You may have a Citizens Advice bureau nearby. There’s a helpful page in the website relating to discrimination in housing
Citizens Advice – Identifying Discrimination in Housing

The Chartered Institute of Housing has useful information
CIH – European Workers/Self-Employed
CIH – EEA Nationals
CIH – European Family Members
CIH – British and Irish citizens

The Chartered Institute of Housing has a page which details steps to take when fighting discrimination in housing
CIH – Challenging discrimination
NB: The link for the Equality Advice Support Service isn’t working.
This one does. EASS – Equality Advisory Support Service for free telephone support

You may find that you are able to take the landlord to court and you may be able to get advice from a local law centre.  Law Centres Network There’s a time limit of six months for discrimination cases, less than that for some types of case. DO act quickly, don’t prevaricate.

It might be advisable to contact your Embassy, Consulate or High Commission, to inform them that you have been discriminated against. Let them know that you’re informing them, so that they can build up a picture of discrimination against their nationals. They may not be able to help you, as an individual.

Mentioning that you’ve been in contact with the ECAS Your Advice Service, EASS, Shelter, Citizens Advice, Chartered Institute of Housing, ARLA Propertymark (if applicable) or Embassy will show the landlord and/or letting agency:

1. You know your rights
2. You are going to pursue the matter
3. That you are doing so with advice and support from some heavyweight organisations.

You have rights in EU AND UK law. Please use them.

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Copyright 2016 Théroigne S B G Russell