No aliens: German landlord fined $1,100 for refusing to rent apartment to Burkinabe immigrant

Francis Akhalbey December 11, 2019
An Augsburg landlord refused to rent out his apartment to a Burkinabe immigrant because of his "no foreigner" policy

A German landlord in Augsburg has been fined €1,000 ($1,100) for refusing to rent out his property to non-Germans.

According to DW, the 81-year-old explicitly stated in advertisements his apartment wouldn’t accommodate foreign tenants. An immigrant from Burkina Faso, who was interested in renting out the place, but was turned down because of those conditions reported the landlord to authorities. He was subsequently fined for discriminatory advertisement.

He was also ordered by an Augsburg district court to cease from advertising his property being only available for rent to German citizens or face further sanctions.

“This overt discrimination against foreigners is simply not acceptable,” the presiding judge said, DW further reports.

The Burkinabe immigrant, who was moving to the city from Munich revealed the landlord turned him down over the phone when he got to know of his nationality.

In a bid to justify his stance and advertisement, the landlord reportedly told the court a Turkish national, who previously occupied his apartment, gave him a hard time due to his drug dealing activities. The judge, however, would have none of it.

“Crimes and offences are committed by people, not a country’s nationals,” the landlord was told by the judge.

The issue of foreign nationals in Germany having torrid times finding a place to rent due to discrimination has been a trend.

Details of a collaborative investigation by broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk and Der Spiegel into rent discrimination in 2017 revealed prospective tenants in 10 cities with foreign names were likely to be rejected in favor of German nationals irrespective of how financially stable they could be.

“Whoever has a name that doesn’t sound ‘German enough’ will have a hard time on the real estate market,” head of the Federal Antil-Discrimination Agency (FADA), Christine Lübers, said in a statement to DW after the report was released.

“It shows not only in new studies, but also in field reports and complaints at the Anti-Discrimination Agency and other support centers for a long time.”

“The tighter the housing market, the greater the discrimination. We also see a trend of groups, nationalities or asylum seekers being excluded from the outset in residency listings,” Lübers added.

“In principle, no one is allowed to deny an apartment viewing or a lease because of ethnical background or racial reasons, like the color of one’s skin. The Equal Treatment Act applies in this case: the person seeking residence is entitled to compensation or damages.”

Last Edited by:Kent Mensah Updated: December 11, 2019


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