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Wales Online
Wales Online
Mariam Khan & Neil Shaw

Flat for rent advertised as 'Christian only' and agent says that's allowed

A platform listing a flat for rent as only being available to Christians has said the advert is allowed. The property is being adevryised on SpareRoom but the landlord has asked for “Christian and Catholics” only to apply because the person wants to “avoid other religions.”

A SpareRoom site manager originally said the listing broke no rules because “religion wasn’t a protected characteristic,” reports MyLondon.

The listing reads: “Hi guys, this room is available immediately, I am trying to avoid different religions so probably if you are Catholic or Christian would suit best, I don’t have anything against other religions but it’s best when we just respect each other and not live with each other.” The listing adds that they want a 'sociable and friendly' woman.

The listing was reported in a complaint to SpareRoom, who said: “We take reports of discrimination very seriously here at SpareRoom, however, in this case, they [the original poster] would be allowed a preference on religion as this is not classed as a protected characteristic. Whilst we completely understand your frustrations regarding this, we regrettably would be unable to take action regarding this however I have noted your report in full on the account for this user.”

Under the Equalities Act 2010, ‘Religion and belief’ are protected characteristics.

After MyLondon contacted the SpareRoom press office they said they have asked the advertiser to clarify their listing to avoid future misunderstandings.

SpareRooms press office said: “We’ve looked into this and we’re sorry about the response you received, it wasn’t explained very well and we’ll speak to that member of staff to ensure it doesn’t happen again. As you say, religion is absolutely a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 but, under the Act, certain exemptions apply.

“When advertising a room in a property you live in, you’re allowed to state a preference for someone who shares your faith. This preference could be for numerous reasons (e.g. preferring to live with someone who doesn’t drink alcohol), but we’d always encourage the user to include these reasons to avoid misunderstandings (we’ve asked the advertiser to do this). If we spot an ad that doesn’t explain satisfactorily, we’d contact the user for clarification.”

StopHateUK told MyLondon: “In short, it is neither legal nor acceptable to deny equal access to housing provision on the basis of faith or religion.”

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