Rotterdam launches site for anonymous housing rent applications against discrimination

The municipality of Rotterdam will launch a website on Friday where house seekers can respond anonymously to private rental properties. The municipality wants to combat discrimination by landlords in this way. According to Rotterdam, this six-month trial can be expanded quickly if successful, including to other municipalities.

According to the law, landlords of homes are not allowed to select tenants based on characteristics like nationality, gender, or religion. In practice, however, this type of “residential discrimination” is common, said the municipality. Prospective tenants with a foreign-sounding name are 23 percent less likely to be invited for a viewing.

That is “unacceptable,” according to Alderman Chantal Zeegers (Climate, Building, and Housing). “No one, absolutely no one, should be excluded from the housing market based on their background,” she said. “Equal housing opportunity is a fundamental right.”

Home seekers can fill in a housing passport on the website, containing information like income, family size, and the type of home they are looking for. The data is checked, and if correct, the home seeker with the housing passport can respond anonymously to offered homes.

The landlord will only see a code with the response, no name. The name only becomes visible when the prospective tenant is invited for a viewing. If the landlord then cancels the viewing, the system will notify the municipality, which can launch an investigation.

Two hundred homes from the Rotterdam Private Landlords Platform are offered on the site. More than half of these are social rental homes.

Reporting by ANP

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