A Gambian student in the UK, who needed a room to rent, found out the hard way that preconceived notions held by people and in his case a landlord can be costly when she denied him a room.
When the Gambian Ebrima Mboob reached out to landlady Elina Vimbsone for a double room in central London, all was going well till she saw his profile and realized he was black.
He said Vimbsone after agreeing to show him the rooms said “Oh, just seen your profile, it’s for European people only. Sorry mate…”
“We are not racist or smt just to be honest, I have friends from Nigeria and all house smell what they cook [sic],” she added, when the man objected to her comments.
Ms. Vimbsone’s U-turn after initially agreeing to a viewing stems from her claim that food Nigerian people cook “makes the house smell” and although Mboob is Gambian, the woman would not budge.
Mboob, 24, has described the “only for European people” policy as “absurd” and racist.
Mr. Mboob, who is studying at the University of the Arts London (UAL), told The Sun he was “completely shocked” by the response to his request for a viewing.
“Growing up in England, I’ve experienced all types of racism, but this was the first time that I’ve experienced something this absurd,” he added.
He continued: “I wasn’t expecting her to even ask me about my background as I didn’t think it was relevant and she even had the nerve to say it wasn’t racist.”
Denying tenancy due to someone’s race is forbidden under the Equality Act 2010, according to Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
In another case involving a refusal to rent property because of smell of curry, Judge Richard Polden granted an injunction against the landlord noting, “this policy clearly amounts to discrimination,” adding, “I find the policy is unlawful. Such a policy has no place in our society.”
The Gambian student said he feels “serious anxiety” about cooking African food around his new housemates. Ms. Vimbsone declined to comment on the exchange when approached by The Sun.