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Willesden estate agent accused of racism against black tenants claim it was misrepresented

PUBLISHED: 16:51 22 October 2013 | UPDATED: 16:51 22 October 2013

Protestors outside A to Z in Willesden. Picture credit: Jan Nevill

Protestors outside A to Z in Willesden. Picture credit: Jan Nevill

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A Brent estate agent exposed by the BBC for discriminating against black tenants has hit back at the broadcaster today claiming it was misrepresented.

An undercover BBC investigation alleged A to Z Property Services in Willesden High Road, Willesden, accepted landlords’ requests not to show or let properties to people of African-Caribbean descent.

In a statement A to Z Property Services said it was a victim of a “persistent campaign of deceit and entrapment with leading questions in order to deliver cheap and provocative headlines.”

A to Z accused BBC reporters, who posed as clients, of asking leading questions but admitted the answers given were “wrong and ill judged” and said “in the heat of the negotiation.”

The statement continued: “It was a severe error in judgement, made to secure new business, but it in no way confirms that we would ever discriminate against tenants on the grounds of ethnicity.”

A to Z said around one fifth of the properties it manages are let to tenants of African-Caribbean descent.

The statement ended with an apology: “We are deeply saddened to have been misrepresented by the BBC in this way and apologise unreservedly for any offence that may have been caused by our naivety.”

National Estate Agents, in Willesden High Road, was also exposed in the BBC investigation for discriminating against black tenants.

The revelations sparked an angry protest against A to Z and National Estate Agents on October 15.

The protest, organised by Brent Housing Action, attracted around 50 people who marched with banners along Willesden High Road.

The case has been referred to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

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