The Barcelona City Council has imposed a penalty of 45,000 euros to the owners of a flat and the real estate that it was marketed by direct discrimination due to racism, as announced by the consistory. The sanction is based on the finding that even though there was a person interested in renting the apartment, it was not rented to him because he is Moroccan. The facts date from the beginning of 2020.
According to the city council, It is the first sanction imposed by a consistory for this reason, considered a very serious offense. In Barcelona There was a similar but not identical case, when it was specified in an advertisement that a flat on sale was only for potential tenants who were Spanish.
The sanction imposed by the case of the Moroccan is foreseen in the housing law approved by the tripartite Government in 2007. It is not surprising that there are no precedents of the same characteristics, because the case corresponds to a situation that is very difficult for the discriminated person to demonstrate. It is not easy to demonstrate with evidence that you have not been wanted as a tenant because of your country of origin or your skin color. It is not easy to prove that the awkward smile of a commercial hides the true reason for a refusal.
The apartment in question is in Barceloneta. The person who was interested in renting it proved sufficient solvency, which is not a little in the Catalan capital, but did not receive the keys, but the silence for answer. A silence, that of the real estate, which was followed by the news that the property had already chosen another applicant as a tenant. However, weeks later the living place it was still empty and available.
At that moment, an acquaintance of the person who tried to rent the house went to ask about it. A person who is not Moroccan. He visited her and proved the necessary solvency. And the real estate agent who showed him the apartment informed him that there was no problem and that he could rent it. With this, the first candidate concluded why the property did not want him in their home.
The events were reported to the City Council’s Non-Discrimination Office and analyzed by it and by the Discipline and Anti-Harassment Unit of the Municipal Institute of Housing and Rehabilitation, which is who has developed the administrative process of the sanctioning file.
A file that has led to a firm sanction in the administrative route worth 45,000 euros. During the processing of the file they presented allegations that have been legally rejected by the Anti-Bullying and Discipline Unit of the consistory.
Those sanctioned have the possibility to appeal the decision before the contentious-administrative court. They have a period of two months to do so. That is what those sanctioned did in the aforementioned case. In December 2019, the consistory announced the opening of the file to the Idealista real estate portal and the real estate agency The New House Barcelona for an advertisement of a rental that specified that only people of Spanish nationality could access the house. The file led to a penalty of 90,000 euros. Both Idealista and The New House Barcelona appealed before the administrative litigation, which must make a decision on the matter.
The city council is convinced that fewer cases are reported than in this field. In recent years their number has increased. During the first semester of 2021, the OND has opened 13 files for alleged violations of the right to housing, when in the same period of 2020 there were nine and in 2019, five.