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Racism and Traditional Rental: KL’s Unspoken Challenge

Racism and Traditional Rental: KL’s Unspoken Challenge

It’s already a monumental process. Moving away from familiarity, adjusting to a new job environment, being independent; renting is a huge process full of challenges.

But some have it with another level of difficulty: facing racism in traditional rental markets.

Thanks to individuals taking a stand and exposing discriminatory practices within the traditional rental market, the long unspoken hurdle faced by many renters is in the spotlight.

What’s happening?

In a study conducted by Malaysian Indian business intelligence analyst Pingalayen Kumar, data collected revealed a troubling statistic on alleged racism within the traditional rental market in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. 45% of listings in both KL and Selangor reject Indian tenant applicants upfront, and availability of spaces open to that demographic seemingly reduce the closer one gets to the city center.

His findings, made public on Twitter, encouraged more to speak out on struggles in finding apartments in Kuala Lumpur for rent, as well as other types of shared living due to racism.

In a separate incident, Twitter user @DXVYA shared a screenshot of a conversation with who appeared to be a rental agency. Despite no previous indications of preferential renters, they (of Indian identity) were rejected based on the landlord’s preference for Chinese tenants. Even more infuriating, the agency acknowledged the restriction made to not state such preferences online, yet continued to enable racist tendencies.

Indian person seeking tenancy is turned away due to racism preference for Chinese
Image credit : @DXVYA | Twitter

In yet another incident, adding to the statistic of tenant refusal due to racism, artist Hong Yi publicized a banner barring African potential tenants from even attempting to approach an apartment complex in Kuala Lumpur, warning landlords not to rent to them.

Banner with message barring landlords from renting to African people
Image credit:: Hong Yi | Facebook

Comments from multiple social media postings continue to reveal the difficult nature of even addressing such practice. Many continue to unwittingly defend selective tenancy by reasoning with differences in culture, and concerns with stereotypes. None, however, have given enough reason we as a multicultural society can continue to let this happen.

Can anything even be done?

Traditional rentals, often privatized properties, unfortunately remain open to practice such blatant discrimination. Excuses such as cultural, religious, and even linguistic sensitivities, while initially with good intentions, are abused to the point of visual prejudice.

But in this day and age, and in the capital city of a developing country, this issue of racism shouldn’t prevail.

A Residential Tenancy Act has been proposed to Malaysia’s legislation, attempting to formally address and curb such practices. iProperty, a website dedicated to Malaysia’s rental property market, also highlighted how far such efforts need to go in focusing on eliminating racial discrimination in the industry.

But such discussions were only mentioned by the previous government, and current political instability threatens to bury such talk.

For now, solutions to curb rental racism is going to take a lot more whistle blowing and emotional tenacity from those who have and are facing it.

There is another solution to this traditional rental racism problem!

Should you want to skip the stress, co-living offers a safer, more regulated space! As the latest answer to urban demands for group housing and fully furnished apartments for rent in KL, co-living understands what is needed by renters from every part of the world.

Hassle-free in all the areas that matter, co-living with Hom ensures you a community of like-minded individuals, dedicated to living their best lives both socially and professionally.

Skip the invasive agencies of traditional rental inquiries, and rest assured in the new generation of shared housing where everyone is welcome. Winning the battle against racism in the traditional rental market does not have to be an individual fight, and we at Hom can help be your first step.

Have you experienced racial profiling during your search for a rental property? Let us know in the comment section!

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