Housing market sees rise in ethnic discrimination

The Ombudsman against Ethnic Discrimination (Diskrimineringsombudsman - DO) has begun an investigation into the housing market as the number of complaints continues to increase.

Over the last five years DO has received a total of 314 reports of landlords discriminating against people with non-Swedish ethnic backgrounds. The first half of this year has already seen 43 complaints, compared to 60 for all of last year.

According to DO, groups most likely to be discriminated against are Africans, Roma, Muslims and people from Middle Eastern countries.

“We have come across terrible situations whereby people have become trapped in ghetto-like areas. They have often applied for hundreds of apartments in an attempt to get out of the areas in which they have been placed. It is a situation that breeds despair,” John Stauffe, DO’s lawyer and project manager, told Svenska Dagbladet.

None of the cases reported to DO have resulted in a single court decision. The ombudsman’s office has however instigated proceedings on five occasions, most recently in the case of a Roma woman evicted from her apartment in Sundsvall.

Legal proceedings are underway in a further three cases. In the fifth case, an out of court settlement has been reached, with the tenant receiving 20,000 kronor ($2,900) in compensation from the landlord.