Recently, while I was around town talking to one of my clients, we spontaneously brought up the issue about renting out to Africans, China Chinese, and Middle Easterns. Not that this is new or even something we want to talk about but recently, there seemed to be this spark from residents, especially condominiums’ about the refusal of renting out to specific races, especially the Africans. She was quite insistent on not having her unit rented out to the above categories. I’m not too particular about this but having her asking me what is my view on this is a little awkward.
To be honest, a tenant is a tenant. As long as they entered the country officially and legally and most importantly, able to pay the rentals on time, who are we to turn them away? I would usually request for some background details before proposing the potential tenant to my client. Although not much we can get from these profiling work, at least some due-diligence was executed nonetheless.
Yes, we (estate agents) have encountered or somewhat heard from our counterparts about how some of these tenants wrecked the place, lousy paymasters and sometimes, even disappeared after awhile running away with some of the items from the house/condominium. But this happens even with local tenants. Why are we looking at the black dot on the whiteboard rather than acknowledging the white spaces around it that more or less represent a healthy rental market from these categories of people? We can’t generalize the entire nation just because one or few of them behave that way.
I have really good Middle Eastern tenants and they can be the nicest and most flexible tenants to work with. They also pay their rentals on time too. Well, about wrecking the place, it’s a 50/50 thing. After a few years staying in the same place, especially more than 2 years, using the same items and utilizing every space available, it is fair to say that the wear and tear usually turn out slightly worse than those after a year. Some are born more ‘heavy handed’ (more careless and reckless) hence a little rough in handling the appliances and such. Therefore, nothing much you can do about it but to dig into the Tenancy Agreement and re-highlight the T&Cs which would trigger the security deposits.
And to be honest, yes, I’ve heard and seen that the locals are terrified when they are in close proximity with the Africans. They are pretty imposing at times and the stuff we heard about some of them do make the case. But generally, they are friendly people. At least they greet the people they meet in the lift.
But demanding the owners to refuse renting to these races by the resident committee or the condominium management at certain extent is really out of place in Malaysia. It’s a blatant act of racism if you ask me. Maybe I don’t know what happened between these folks and the Africans, but it doesn’t warrant them to issue a blanket order as pictured above. Coupled with 2017 KPI of 0% rentals to the Africans some more… that’s is a little absurd. Really people?? Seriously?
Take a look at the following video. You sort of feel for the African guy looking for a place.
Is there racism in the Malaysian property rental market? Three R.AGE journalists of different races called the same 30 listings to find out
Then again, I’ve come across owners and landlords that are very accommodating too. They acknowledged the current soft market and think nothing more than to be able to rent out their units asap. Yes, they do have concerns about the type of tenants tenanting their place but if they try to be picky and discriminating as what we discussed earlier, it would only eat into their pockets and making life difficult for themselves.
Agents like us play an important part in profiling these potential tenants to the owners. Commission aside. We are the bridge for the tenants and the landlords. We have a job to do besides just introducing the units and getting the deal over the line. The good sense of responsibility and accountability separates a good agent and those fly-by-nights.
I am more curious if the banner of requesting the owners not to rent to the Africans, if at all legal and law abiding? Who sanctioned the move and did they seek the proper authority for execution before they do so? What would the impact be for the owners, the agents, the tenants and the nations?
Racists and racism is a strong word. We would avoid it at all cost if we could. There is no room for that everywhere. Think about our actions and what we can do to mitigate the issues before going down the path of branding ourselves as racists. And for the agents, please, even if you are representing an owner who doesn’t want to be associated with such tenants, at least, be more tactful when declining the offer. We all have emotions and feelings too.