Kilburn councillor demands Mayor of London takes action against ‘racist’ landlords
PUBLISHED: 13:04 22 October 2013 | UPDATED: 13:22 22 October 2013
A Kilburn councillor has demanded that the Mayor of London takes action to ensure all London landlords comply with set guidelines on race discrimination.
The call, from Cllr Mike Katz of Kilburn ward, comes after a BBC investigation alleged last week that National Estate Agents and A to Z Property Services in Willesden were guilty of accepting landlords’ requests not to show and let properties to people of African-Caribbean descent.
In July, Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, launched the London Rental Standard (LRS)for private renting in the capital which states that accreditation schemes for landlords should cover non-discriminatory treatment of tenants.
LRS ruling says landlords “must not discriminate in their dealings with prospective and, or, existing tenants or treat them less favourably than others because of their colour, creed, ethnic or national origin.”
Cllr Katz made his call in a letter to Tom Copley, the deputy chair of the Greater London Assembly’s housing committee.
In the letter, Cllr Katz said: “It is incredible that, 45 years since a Labour government made such racial discrimination illegal, black people can still suffer from such prejudice.
“It truly feels like a throwback to an age society had left behind, and makes a mockery of the progress made towards equality through legislation.”
Cllr Katz, who hopes to be selected as a parliamentary candidate for Brent Central, told the Times: “I hope City Hall will take it seriously, to root out such terrible racial discrimination from all walks of life.
“It’s bad enough having the problem in Willesden but it could be a problem in the rest of Brent or indeed throughout the rest of London.”
A spokesman for the Mayor of London said: “While the majority of London’s letting agents provide a good service for their customers, there are still some whose actions bring the whole sector into disrepute.
“This is why the Mayor is working towards a new, voluntary, London Rental Standard.
“Racial discrimination has no place in London’s rental market.
“Any landlord found not to be compliant with the London Rental Standard’s commitments to tackle discrimination will be stripped of their accreditation.”
The findings of the BBC investigation sparked outrage among residents and organisations across Brent.
Last Tuesday, a protest organised by Brent Housing Action saw around 50 people marching with banners along Willesden High Road where National Estate Agents and A to Z Property Services are located.