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- Provision of goods and services
- Provision of land, housing and other accommodation
- Discriminatory Laws
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- Accommodation, property, landlords and human rights
- ACC and age discrimination
- Bullying, harassment and/or violence at school
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- Clubs and the Human Rights Act
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- Human Rights and Redundancy
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- Maori Party and the Human Rights Act
- Moko: your rights
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- Positive actions to achieve equality
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- The School Ball
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- What do I do?
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- Further links
Enquiries and Complaints Guide
Accommodation, property, landlords and human rights
Can a landlord refuse to let me a flat because of my age?
Can a real estate agent refuse to show me a rental property because I have children?
Can a vendor refuse to sell me their house because of my race?
Can a landlord specify their ideal tenant?
It is against the law for a prospective tenant or purchaser to be treated less favourably than someone else because of any of the prohibited grounds of discrimination in s21 of the Human Rights Act.
A property owner or their agent who discriminates against people because of grounds that include race, age, family status and others risks breaking the law.
Previous negative experience with a tenant of a particular sex or race is not a valid reason to rule out future tenants of the same sex or race.
If a group of single people did not pay their rent on time that does not mean that selecting married people will protect against it happening again.
It is important to avoid assumptions about the suitability of a property for, say, children and older people. Applicants should be allowed to make their own decision or whether a steep drive or a busy road might be an issue rather than an agent ruling them out because of the makeup of their family or their age. Nor can it be assumed that because a prospective tenant is not in fulltime employment that they won’t be able to pay the rent.
If an “ideal tenant” is specified, the criteria should focus on personal qualities rather than stereotypes or preconceived idea. If you consider an ‘ideal tenant’ as one who is responsible, reliable and can provide references, be explicit in stipulating these requirements. For example, vague images such as ‘professional couple’ may run the risk of being discriminatory on the grounds of employment and marital status. You should outline the actual qualities you would prefer, rather than make assumptions based on stereotypes.
Can a landlord refuse to rent me a flat because I am a smoker or because my partner has a dog?
Yes: it is only unlawful to refuse to rent a flat on one of the 13 prohibited grounds listed in the Act.
Can a person advertise for a boarder or flatmate of a particular race or sex?
Where a person wishes to share their house or flat with someone else, the unlawful discrimination provisions do not apply.
Some accommodation does limit itself to certain groups – is this lawful?
Accommodation in a hostel or institution such as a hospital, club, school, university, religious institution or retirement village is an exception to the general prohibition against unlawful discrimination. In these situations, accommodation may be made available for people of the same sex, marital status, or religious or ethical belief, or for those with a particular disability or in a particular age group. This is not breaking the law.
What if the accommodation does not suit a person because of their disability?
Where the accommodation poses a risk of harm to a person with a disability or their disability creates a risk for others, and the person providing the accommodation is not able to reduce the risk to a normal level without unreasonable disruption, the provision does not apply. However, there is a presumption that if the person providing the accommodation could take steps to ensure the risk is reduced to a normal level, they will do so.
For further information relating to tenancy arrangements, contact the Department of Building and Housing at http://www.dbh.govt.nz/contact-us.
This service is for Canterbury householders who need help finding temporary accommodation following the September 2010 / February and June 2011 earthquakes. It will help them to work out what kind of temporary accommodation suits them best, and will match and place people in available accommodation. This includes accommodation in the private rental market or at one of the government’s temporary accommodation villages at Linwood Park, Kaiapoi or Rawhiti Domains. The Service also provides earthquake support coordination and financial assistance.
Householders who are displaced from their homes because these are uninhabitable or who need to move from their homes whilst repairs are undertaken are encouraged to contact CETAS on 0800 67 32 27.
TPA provide a free and confidential advisory service, and tenancy education for tenants and agencies in the Christchurch region.