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Study reveals racist discrimination in Austrian housing market

Applicants with Muslim names receive significantly more rejections and face a harder process to find housing.

The Austrian housing market suffers from racist discrimination, especially for people with Muslim backgrounds, a study commissioned by the Ombud for Equal Treatment (GAW) has shown.

In early 2023, 157 housing advertisements in the major Austrian cities of Graz, Vienna, Innsbruck and Linz were responded to by two fake profiles, public broadcaster ORF reported on Sunday, citing the study.

The first profile “Muhammad Asif” received an appointment in only 50 percent of the cases.

The second profile with the fictitious name “Michael Gruber”, who always called after “Asif”, always received an appointment.

“People who are discriminated against outside the workplace because of their ethnicity report this to us most often in connection with the search for an apartment,” Sandra Konstatzky, the study’s director, told ORF.

“Because individual cases are often difficult to prove, we wanted to use this study to show how often discrimination occurs in the housing market, ” she added.

False pretexts to reject

Test caller “Asif” was told in 18 percent of his calls that the apartment was already taken. In 4 percent of his calls, he was told that no appointments were currently available.

According to Konstatzky, the landlords use false pretexts in the rejections, since the native-sounding applicant “Gruber” received a promise even two hours later in some cases for the same apartments.

But also, if not directly cancelled, it was clearly more difficult for “Asif” to find an apartment, said Konstatzky.

In 34 percent of the cases in which an appointment date was not directly given, further documents were requested from “Asif.” In 25 percent of cases additionally, a written application was asked for.

The applicant “Gruber”, on the other hand, received an appointment for a visit directly in all calls.​​​​​​​

Source: TRT World



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