Building racial equality in Britain’s housing market
02 October 2006
The Commission for Racial Equality today launched its new statutory code of practice on racial equality in housing – a toolkit to eliminate racism from the housing market.
The code, which came into force on October 1, 2006 offers best practice guidance to everybody operating in the housing sector: from housing associations and estate agents to mortgage lenders and building contractors, as well as tenants and private landlords.
Trevor Phillips, CRE Chair said:
There is a long history of racial inequality in housing. Ethnic minorities are more likely to be homeless and to live in overcrowded conditions. Imposed ‘segregation’ through housing continues to pose problems for social integration in some parts of the country and for many people racial harassment is a continuing reality.
Today, the CRE is publishes new guidance to address these issues – drawn up in partnership with an advisory board of key organisations from the public, private and voluntary sectors. Following the code’s guidance makes good business sense, will avoid potential for discrimination and bring an end to poor decisions which can lead to increased segregation, leaving communities isolated from the mainstream.
Peter Bolton King, Chief Executive at the National Association of Estate Agents represented on the code’s advisory board, commented:
Designing the code to be a practical document with workable solutions was a priority for the board. We now have clear guidance which offers the potential to address racial inequality without being an additional burden on the sector.”
David Butler, Chief Executive Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), said:
As the professional body representing people who work in housing across all sectors, and in all parts of the UK, CIH welcomes the new code of practice on racial equality in housing. CIH is committed to ensure that good practice is translated into common practice and the code provides practical guidance, examples and recommendations which will help housing organisations promote equality and diversity.
Key points of the code:
– new sections on homelessness and partnership working
– new private sector specific and general summaries
– 50 examples illustrating good and unlawful practice
– predicted outcomes following implementation of the code’s recommendations
– More information about the code, and downloadable versions
– As well as recognising changes to race legislation and the race relations landscape, the new code pulls together the two previous CRE housing codes published 15 years ago, into one document.
For further information or to request an interview, contact the CRE Media Office on 020 7939 0106 / 0064
Notes to editors
The CRE carried out a three month consultation on a draft code of practice on racial equality in housing during the summer of 2005. We held eight events in England, Scotland and Wales and received 79 questionnaires and 40 written commentaries from separate organisations containing valuable feedback.
The CRE was encouraged to update its codes of practice in employment by the Audit Commission and ODPM.
The revised code of practice is a statutory document which will be admissible as evidence in cases of discrimination. It will come into force in October 1 2006.
The original codes of practice on racial equality in rented and non-rented housing came into effect in 1991 and 1992 respectively.
For a copy of the code visit: http://www.cre.gov.uk/gdpract/housing_code.html
About the CRE
The Race Relations Act 1976 makes it unlawful to discriminate against anyone on grounds of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins. The Commission for Racial Equality was established under the Act to work for the elimination of discrimination, the promotion of equality of opportunity and good race relations generally.
The Commission can advise or assist people with cases before courts and employment tribunals and can conduct its own investigations when it has grounds to believe discrimination may be taking place.
Public bodies have a duty to eliminate discrimination in the way they work and to promote equality of opportunity and good race relations. The Commission is working to help them deliver this duty.