I'm a non-German working in north-west Germany since a couple of years. I was searching for housing for about a month or so, but never got replies from landlords regarding appointments. The only replies I got were 'not available anymore' emails.

So I got curious and decided to an experiment, so to say. I asked my girlfriend (a German) if she could also send showing appointment requests to the landlords. We both send requests, same written emails, with names changed.

Lo and behold, she always got calls or email replies giving away appointments, whereas I would not receive any replies, only a 'not available anymore' message sometimes.

The posts from apartments we applied to were operated by agencies, not private owners.

I found this document(III, Clause 6) online, which briefly talks about rental discrimination:

However, there are also forms of discrimination on the housing market that are less obvious. One such form is when the landlord only pretends that the apartment has already been rented out to someone else.

What's the legality of this situation? Am I being discriminated against by these landlords(companies)?

1 Answer 1


What's the legality of this situation?

It's unlawful and you should seek support for it. That document you linked to appears to have resources that could help you, such as support lines and counselling centres, etc.

Am I being discriminated against by these landlords(companies)?

I would say so. It sounds like you're being discriminated against on grounds of race and ethnic origin. It appears to violate the General Equal Treatment Act.

However, I do want to stress that there may be completely reasonable factors as to why landlords are rejecting your appointment requests. For example, it would not be discriminatory to refuse housing on the basis that you don't have the appropriate income, or you have a poor credit rating, or you don't have any previous rental references.

It can be very difficult to prove discrimination if any of the above factors apply, since the landlord could simply cite one of those reasons instead.


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