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Rental agent says prejudice common among landlords after Māori woman's discrimination experience

A Tauranga rental agent says discrimination among landlords is common, but that they need to check references instead of making assumptions.

Dan Lusby made the comments after a Māori student complained that she was racially profiled by a prospective landlord while seeking a flat.

Reremai Cameron says she was asking about a private rental online when the landlord asked her, "Just reading your name, are you Māori?"

"If so," the text read, "I hope you are aware the rent would only cover you and no friends or family to stay in the sleep out.

"We had a Māori in our home before whom had multiple family and friend visitors, that is something we will not tolerate."

Mr Lusby, who is principle officer of Tauranga Rentals, told 1 NEWS that "there's lots of private landlords out there advertising for themselves and maybe they're smarter than this particular landlord was in the way they choose their tenant.

"They certainly shouldn't be saying that or putting it in writing," he said.

"They need to be checking the references, these private landlords, to see how they've got on in the past.

"That will tell much better than trying to assume themselves what they may be like."

Mr Lusby said many landlords discriminate, including some of his own.

"We have some Māori who don't want Māori on their properties - Indians that don't want Indians ... there's quite a lot of negativity towards spicy cooking," he said.

"Even flatting situations, which makes it hard for students to find anywhere to live ... Some people don't want little kids, lots of people don't want animals, smokers...

"So it's all about finding the right people as a match for these properties."

Ms Reremai says after she received the texts from the landlord, she politely declined to rent the flat, telling them, "Yes I am Māori, and thanks but I'll pass.

"Would rather pay $215 a week in rent to someone who isn't prejudice against Māori. Enjoy your week."

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Dan Lusby of Tauranga Rentals says landlords should rely on references when choosing a tenant, not prejudices.