Report: Tenants claim discrimination, but believe landlords have right to be picky

A recent poll has found that 21 per cent of respondents claimed to have experienced discrimination based on their ethnicity when it came to renting space. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
A recent poll has found that 21 per cent of respondents claimed to have experienced discrimination based on their ethnicity when it came to renting space. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 13 — One out of five Malaysians claim they have encountered racial discrimination when renting property, a paper reported today.

Sunday Star quoted research done by YouGov Omnibus, which polled 1,204 Malaysians aged 18 and above, and found that 21 per cent of respondents claimed to have experienced discrimination based on their ethnicity when it came to renting space.

The research also showed that 62 per cent of respondents have come across a rental advertisement with specific racial requirements when it comes to renting certain properties.

The study reportedly showed that Indians faced the most discrimination, with 46 per cent of respondents claiming to have faced discrimination when renting properties.

This was considerably higher compared to local Chinese (20 per cent) and Malays (18 per cent).

A third of respondents also reportedly revealed that they knew of others who had faced racial discrimination when it came to renting premises, which indicated that six out of 10 Malaysian Indians who took part in the survey experienced discrimination.

While 37 per cent of respondents perceived racial requirements for renting property as racism, as agreed by 58 per cent of local Indians surveyed, some 32 per cent believed the requirement was simply good business sense. This view was mostly held by 39 per cent of Malaysian Chinese surveyed in the study.

About 60 per cent of respondents felt that landlords had “absolute discretion” when it comes to renting out their properties.

Asia Pacific’s YouGov Omnibus chief Jake Gammon was quoted as saying that Malaysians are still divided when it comes to racial stereotypes in renting premises.

“While a notable number have experienced racial discrimination in the rental market and many believe that race requirements in rental property ads constitute ­racism, a large proportion also believe that landlords renting out to preferred races made good business sense.

“Despite certain ethnic minorities feeling more strongly about the issue than others, the majority believe landlords should be left to their own devices,” he said.

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