Renting a home is hard work. In some aspects, it might even be harder to rent a home than to buy one. That’s doubly true when you have to deal with racism that’s ingrained into some people.
While we all would like to pretend that racism doesn’t exist in Singapore or that there’s no such thing as Chinese Privilege, the fact of the matter is both are rampant if you know where to look.
It exists in pretty much every industry, even a niche one such as tuition.
Here’s a recent example I came across on Facebook.
Anjachong and her boyfriend’s looking for a rental unit. Should be relatively painless right? Find a unit they like, see if they can afford it and then sign the lease.
Not in their case. As soon as their potential landlord hears that Anjachong’s boyfriend is Indian, their application to rent gets rejected faster than the opposition’s views on FICA. The landlord says ‘No’ so fast that it broke the sound barrier.
You can probably guess the reason why right?
No no no…it’s not that they don’t approve of unmarried couples living together. It’s because of the ‘I’ word.
The Property/Rental Agent doesn’t specifically say that, oh no.
Instead a ‘softer’ word’s used. The landlord has ‘preferences’. Preferences that the renters be Caucasians, Koreans or Japanese.
It doesn’t matter that race doesn’t have any bearing in how renters act but that’s somehow the main reasoning used to reject the two. If that’s not racist, I don’t know what is.
While it’s not illegal yet for landlords to dictate their demands based on race, complaints can (and have) been made to CEA, the Council for Estate Agencies. For their part, CEA has warned against such practices.
Since you can’t touch the landlords, you go for the middleman instead.
By complaining against property agents who represent such landlords, the idea is that enough complaints might trigger systemic change that will prevent such racist ‘preferences’ and agents representing those reprehensible characters.