The landlord cannot discriminate against tenants when choosing to grant, extend, vary, terminate or renew a tenancy. 

Examples of discrimination include denying housing to a tenant because of their age, colour, disability, religious beliefs, polical opinion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, employment status, marital or family status.

Sometimes ‘positive discrimination’ is allowed, for example selecting pensioners for housing especially designed and funded for pensioner housing.

When a prospective landlord asks about income, people receiving a benefit should try and see if the landlord is worried about them affording the rent, or is making a personal judgement against beneficiaries as a whole.

What can I do if I am discriminated against? 

Discrimination can be very difficult to prove.

The landlord may not know they are discriminating so you might choose to respond to any concerns you have by talking with them directly.

If the landlord knows they are discriminating then seek some tenancy advice to help you decide what action, if any, you would like to take.

If a tenant wishes to formally respond to discrimination they must choose if they want to take their complaint to the Tenancy Tribunal or the Human Rights Commission, they cannot take their complaint to both. 

Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986, discrimination can be considered an unlawful act and the landlord could be subject to exemplary damages (fined).

Contact Details

Tenants Protection Association (ChCh) Inc
Te Tōpū Tiaki-ā-Kainoho
Room 3, 301 Tuam Street, Christchurch 8011
Ph.(03) 379-2297

info [at] tpa [dot] org [dot] nz (subject: Enquiry%20from%20Website)