It has been reported that the UK equality watchdog has obtained an injunction against a ‘buy-to-let’ landlord after he allegedly told his letting agent to ban “coloured tenants” because they left ‘curry smells’ in his properties following the end of their tenancies. The landlord is reported to have stated that a house could drop in value by up to £50,000 ‘if it smells of curry’ and has cited this as the reason for his alleged ban.
Rebecca Hilsenrath, the chief executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has reportedly called the landlord’s remarks “truly disgusting” and said that they are “unlawful instructions from a landlord to a letting agent”.
The EHRC alleged that the landlord’s letting criterion is ‘direct discrimination on the grounds of race, breaching section 13 of the Equality Act 2010’.
The case was heard at Maidstone County Court and the Judge, Richard Polden, granted an injunction against the landlord, allegedly stating that the “policy clearly amounts to discrimination” and therefore has “no place in our society”.
If the landlord were to breach such an injunction, continuing to apply the alleged discriminatory criterion, this could be considered a contempt of court and therefore lead to punitive measures.
What should you do if you have been discriminated against?
If you feel that have been discriminated against; you should take action.
Firstly, you should raise a complaint with the organisation whom you believe to be subjecting you to the unfavourable treatment to see if your issue can be resolved informally.
You may also be able to bring a claim in the County Court under the Equality Act 2010, and you should seek legal advice in respect of this.
Please be aware that strict time limits apply, and you only have six months less one day of the discriminatory act to bring a claim for discrimination in the County Court.
If you need further advice regarding discrimination, please contact our department on 0175 321 6399.
By Gemma Wilson, case manager in the discrimination team.