The number of people facing discrimination when seeking housing in Belgium went up by 15% between 2015 and 2016, according to the Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities, UNIA, quoted on Tuesday by La Libre Belgique and La Dernière Heure. In 2016, the centre opened 187 housing discrimination cases.
According to UNIA, the two main reasons for discrimination in housing were the origins of the candidates and their sexual orientation, but people were also discriminated against because of a handicap, age and financial situation.
“Access to decent housing is a fundamental right,” said UNIA Spokesperson Michaël François. “It is therefore prohibited to discriminate at all levels of the sale or leasing of a property, whatever the type of announcement (through adverts, real-estate agencies, social networks etc.).
The association highlighted some private groups on social networks that link up proprietors and renters and which have dozens of thousands of members. These sometimes post explicitly discriminatory announcements, with some proprietors not hesitating to state their “preferences” in their advertisements.