The district court of Augsburg ruled on Tuesday that the landlord had discriminated against foreigners after he placed an advertisement that said he would only lease his apartment “to Germans”.
“This open discrimination of foreigners is simply not acceptable,” said judge Andreas Roth. The court said the landlord is not allowed to include this requirement in adverts when renting out property in future.
The case came about after a prospective tenant from Burkina Faso, West Africa, reported that the landlord ended a phone call with him when it became clear he had a migration background. The apartment owner said he only wanted to rent to German nationals.
The 81-year-old, who rents out more than 20 apartments, justified this by saying he had once had trouble with an alleged Turkish drug dealer living in one of his properties.
However, the judge said: “Crimes and offences are committed by people, not by nationalities.”
The man, who had been planning to move to Augsburg from Munich, demanded €1000 in compensation.
In the past, other German courts have awarded damages to foreigners if they had been refused housing because of their origin.
According to estimates by the federal Anti-Discrimination Office, about 70 percent of people with a migration background feel discriminated against when looking for accommodation in Germany.
Earlier this year readers told us they were concerned about discrimination in the housing market.
Adarsh, who's from India and lives in Munich, told us the process of finding somewhere to live is “daunting and frustrating for young male immigrants especially from Asian countries”.
Adarsh said it frequently felt like landlords or people living in shared flats showed disinterest in him and would say within a few minutes of him entering that they were ‘looking for someone else who would be better fitting'.
Eno, 56, who lives in Heikendorf in Schleswig-Holstein had said he found the flat-finding process to be “very discriminatory”.