With the landlord is free to choose its inhabitants, but the choice must not be made on discriminatory grounds.
In the spring, Vuokraturva will evaluatethat the increase in the number of rental apartments has eased the position of applicants compared to previous years.
However, the contacts received by the Equality Ombudsman show that certain groups of people are still treated less favorably in the rental housing market.
“My key feeling is that a culture of tolerance of discrimination has emerged. It’s really sad, ”says the Equality Ombudsman Kristina Stenman.
“There is a perception among people that a landlord can discriminate and choose who they want.”
Consumable In January-June, the Equality Ombudsman received 60% more contacts on housing discrimination than in the corresponding period in 2020. Yle reported on the subject, Stenman stayed to follow the public debate.
“There is a perception among people that a landlord can discriminate and choose who they want. That is not the case. ”
When a housing applicant is treated unfavorably for a personal reason, such as origin, disability or sexual orientation, the landlord or housing broker commits discrimination contrary to the Equality Act.
The law also applies to discriminatory housing advertisements in which certain groups of People, such as families with children, students, foreigners or members of a particular gender, are excluded from the search.
“Living is the foundation of life. It is important for the individual that the conditions are fair and that the apartments are accessible to everyone, ”says Stenman.
Equality Ombudsman the contacts they receive do not tell the whole truth about discrimination, as not everyone communicates their experiences as actively. There is probably more discrimination than reported.
“Brown and black people experience widespread discrimination in different areas of life, but not all housing-related discrimination is reflected in our contacts,” Stenman says.
Housing-related notices apply more to private landlords than before. Stenman hopes that the increase in the number of notifications partly reflects an improvement in the legal awareness of housing applicants.
“Strong growth still suggests that private landlords continue to engage in discriminatory practices.”
In 2020, the Equality Ombudsman received 95 inquiries about housing discrimination. Of these, 38 related to the origin or nationality of the housing applicant. Of the contacts, 26 concerned Roma.
Stenman according to the discrimination in the housing market is most often based on the applicant’s ethnic background. Other common grounds for discrimination include, for example, disability and sexual orientation.
“For example, a landlord may refuse to offer housing to a Roma or same-sex couple.”
In the case of people with disabilities, discrimination often means that the landlord or housing association is not prepared to make the reasonable adjustments needed by the homeowner, such as helping the visually impaired to fill in a home application or take into account mobility restrictions.
“For a person with reduced mobility, an electric moped can be a necessary tool. If it is not allowed to be stored indoors, the applicant will have no choice. ”
In situations of discrimination the Equality Ombudsman may request clarification and comment on whether discrimination has taken place. Often one phone call is enough to end discrimination.
“Often, a discriminating party finds that they have done wrong and apologizes,” Stenman says.
The Commissioner may promote reconciliation between the parties. Often a financial compensation is presented as part of the settlement.
The discriminated person has the right to receive compensation from the landlord, broker or brokerage firm. The author of a discriminatory housing declaration may also be liable for compensation.
“The amounts are not huge, but usually from about a thousand to two thousand euros. However, the compensation is so significant that the discriminated person feels that he or she has been reconciled to his or her treatment. ”
Unless the discriminating party agrees to a settlement, the discriminated party may refer the matter to the Equality and Gender Equality Board. If the board finds discrimination, the victim can file a compensation lawsuit in the district court. However, quite a few leave for it, as the road is long, complicated and potentially expensive.
Under the Equality Act, the Equality and Gender Equality Board may order a discriminating party to change its activities. The Board may intensify its order with a penalty payment.
In the Equality Act, the burden of proof is shared. When a presumption of discrimination arises, it is the responsibility of the discriminating party to prove it.
Discrimination can be an act punishable under criminal law, with fines or up to six months in prison. In criminal cases, the burden of proof is the opposite of the Equality Act.
“The display threshold is high. All aspects of discrimination must be able to be demonstrated and verified in detail, ”says Stenman.
In resident selection discrimination can be difficult to prove, the executive director of the Tenants’ Association, which monitors the interests of tenants Anne Viita says.
Even a name with a foreign background can make it difficult to find an apartment.
“It is usually said that the apartment has already gone to another. This is experienced by, for example, Roma and dark-skinned matters. When a landlord meets a landlord, they may react in a way that is not at all acceptable or legal.”
“In Mattimikkos” The reference refers to applicants whose ethnic background cannot be inferred from the name.
Already a name with a foreign background can make it difficult to find an apartment. 2017 Åbo Akademi University in the study only 16 per cent of housing surveys conducted in the Arabic man’s name came in response. 42 per cent of the surveys made with Finnish women’s names were answered.
Gender can also have an impact on access to housing: female applicants may be put ahead of male applicants. The cloak recognizes the phenomenon, although it does not consider it to be extremely extensive.
“Older landlords think about the housekeeping skills of young men, even though they are nimble on many things. The younger generation of landlords is more aware of equality. ”
According to the reference, elderly women are the landlords ’eternal favorites, as they are regular in housekeeping. Similarly, divorced men over middle age can get a nasty reception in the housing market.
Home seekers equality has improved, says Vuokraturva’s CEO Timo Metsola.
“At one time, landlords were much more cranky, even discriminatory. At the beginning of the millennium, ethnic background, sexual orientation and gender had a greater impact on housing. ”
According to Metsola, the main reason for the selection was that there was a shortage of rental apartments. Landlords could therefore afford to scrape the creams off the cake.
“In the worst situations, the applicant was required to have sexual services in order to get an apartment.”
“At one time, landlords were much more cranky, even discriminatory.”
The millennium Since the turn of the century, the number of rental apartments in Finland has risen from 800,000 to more than one million.
“No less landlords can afford to bounce applicants or examine them with inappropriate questions,” says Metsola.
According to him, today the landlord’s Wish List focuses on the basics and good applicants have a choice, as there is no shortage of apartments even in larger growth centers.
“Landlords are looking for a long-term resident who will take care of their affairs and not cause any inconvenience to the housing association.”
General since accessing housing benefit, students have been a base case in the housing market, and a doctor looking for a studio may no longer be wedged ahead of a young student.
Solvency and clean credit information are criteria that a landlord may require from a resident.
Metsola estimates that 70 percent of those applying for housing this year will apply for housing compared to two years ago. Last year there were even fewer of them.
Solvency and clean credit information are criteria that a landlord may require from a resident. Rejection of an applicant on the basis of socio-economic status, for example due to unemployment, may meet the criteria for discrimination.
“It would be problematic if Ara-apartments or a municipal rental housing company had strict income requirements for the applicant, as they would ultimately have to find a place to live. Public housing production has a duty to promote equality in housing, ”says Kristina Stenman, Equality Commissioner.
Arable dwellings are rental dwellings built with state support and owned by municipalities, public entities or non-profit organizations. According to the regulations, the applicants who need housing most urgently, the poorest and the lowest income, have priority in obtaining Ara housing.
Limit between discriminatory resident selection and valid justification can be volatile. Metsola recalls a situation where the landlord was a woman who had experienced domestic violence and the applicant was a man with a facial tattoo.
“Because of her background, the woman was afraid of certain types of men and did not feel safe renting an apartment to the applicant. He was especially afraid if he had to negotiate unpaid rents. ”
The characteristics of the applicant led the landlord to choose another similar resident. After the expert report, Vuokraturva considered the choice justified.
“That doesn’t mean all tattooed applicants have been ignored. Situations are assessed individually. ”
Read more: There is now a tenant market: there is even an oversupply of rental housing and the rise in rents is almost non-existent in many places