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Rental agent’s transgender comments under fire

August 19, 2019

Rental agent’s transgender comments under fire

Ema Tavola tweeted comments made by the rental agent about a transgender neighbour. Credit: Ema Tavola

An Auckland woman viewing a rental was shocked when the property manager said they “had to” tell her that there was a transgender neighbour.

Ema Tavola said that the comment made by the agent showing her a flat in Otahuhu was “completely outrageous” and she intends to make a complaint to the Human Rights Commission.

She said the 360 Property Management agent told her that she had to disclose that a transgender person lived in a flat directly above the property.

Now the company has revealed that this isn't its normal policy and that it is looking in to the “serious” matter.

A leading LGBTQ+ youth organisation said unfortunately such incidents aren’t unusual and transgender people often feel they have to hide their identity in the rental market.

Tavola tweeted over the weekend about the incident, which happened last month, prompting a response of concerned replies.

"On a flat viewing in Ōtāhuhu last month, the agent said she had to disclose that there was a transgender person living upstairs... I said that I couldn’t wait to meet them, but also thought how much I’ll enjoy making a complaint to the Human Rights Commission about this fuckery" she posted under her account name The  Emazonian™ @ColourMeFiji.

“Discrimination against one group is a discrimination against us all,” she said.

Tavola said that the agent mentioned that the disclosure was not something that she liked doing but that her manager said that she had to.

But the general manager of 360 Property Management, James Bangerter, said that disclosing whether neighbours are transgender is not a policy at the company.

He said it is looking into the situation and which staff member made the disclosure.

“Obviously it’s something that’s quite serious,” he said.

Rainbow Youth’s communications manager Toni Duder said that she wasn't surprised by the story because she hears a lot of stories from transgender people that find it difficult to find rentals because of their identity. She said that many transgender people feel pressure to hide their identity in order be accepted into flats.

“This story is an example of the insidious way that discrimination happens.”

She said that she’s glad that this story has been made public as it helps to draw attention to the discrimination faced by transgender people in an already competitive Auckland rental market.

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