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Individual rights & freedoms

Areas of life where discrimination is illegal

Renting a flat

Human Rights Act 1993, s 53

It’s illegal for a landlord to discriminate against you on any of the illegal grounds by:

  • refusing to rent you a flat or house, or
  • charging you higher rent and otherwise offering you worse conditions than other people, or treating you differently in some other way, or
  • ending your tenancy agreement (for example, if they’ve learned that you and your flatmate are a same-sex couple), or
  • limiting, or trying to limit, the people who can visit you at the property.

Exceptions that allow discrimination by landlords

Human Rights Act 1993, ss 54–56

These exceptions allow discrimination by landlords, hostels and other providers of housing and accommodation:

  • Sharing with your landlord – A person who owns or rents a house can discriminate when looking for someone to share with.
  • Hostels and clubs – It’s legal for hostels and other places (like hospitals, clubs, schools, universities, and retirement villages) to provide accommodation for people of the same sex, marital status, or religious or ethical belief, or for people with a particular disability, or for people in a particular age group – for example, a single-sex hostel at a high school.
  • Disability – A person with a disability can be excluded if their disability or illness is a risk to themselves or to others (including the risk of infection) unless the risk can be reduced to a normal level without unreasonable disruption. Further, there’s no requirement to provide special services or facilities to make accommodation suitable for a person with a disability if those services or facilities can’t reasonably be provided in the circumstances (see: “Renting a flat: Access to housing and accommodation”).
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Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide you with free initial legal advice.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

Te Kāhui Tika Tangata/Human Rights Commission

The Human Rights Commission website provides information about human rights in Aotearoa and outlines how you can make a complaint to the Commission.

Website: www.tikatangata.org.nz or www.hrc.co.nz
Email: infoline@hrc.co.nz
Phone:  0800 496 877 (0800 4 YOUR RIGHTS)

To make a complaint online, download a complaint form or find out more about the complaints process: www.tikatangata.org.nz/resources-and-support/make-a-complaint

Human Rights Review Tribunal

This website provides information about the tribunal and the hearing process and contains the relevant application forms.

Website: www.justice.govt.nz/tribunals/human-rights

Make a claim to the Human Rights Review Tribunal: www.justice.govt.nz/tribunals/human-rights/make-a-claim

The Office of Human Rights Proceedings

The Office of Human Rights Proceedings can provide free legal representation to people wanting to bring unlawful discrimination proceedings in the Human Rights Review Tribunal.

Website: www.tikatangata.org.nz/about-us/office-of-human-rights-proceedings
Email: ohrp@ohrp.org.nz
Phone: 09 375 8623

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