Page last updated at 15:23 GMT, Tuesday, 12 August 2008 16:23 UK

'No foreigners' advert condemned

Sign
The sign posted in the house has since been removed

A sign advertising a house for rent in south Belfast which said it was "not available to any foreigners" has been condemned.

Alliance MLA Anna Lo said the sign on the house in the Donegall Road area was disgraceful.

"To treat other human beings like that is simply appalling," she said.

The man who had advertised the house for rent said he had experienced problems in the past when a foreign tenant was intimidated.

"I rented the property to a Romanian guy. Last week the windows were put in and the bin got burned. He was really scared and just left and is living in a hostel now," he said.

Paula Bradshaw, from the Greater Village Regeneration Trust, said the sign "can't be supported in any way".

"The vast majority of people in the area are very welcoming and recognise that people living there are also working in the hospital nearby, going to the university and contributing to the economy."

'Outrageous'

Donegall Road area
The house is in the Village area of south Belfast

Bob Collins, chief commissioner at the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, said the advertisement was illegal.

"You cannot say no foreigners. You cannot say English speakers only - the law is absolutely clear," he said.

The sign has since been changed to read: "I am renting this property without prejudice to anyone in the whole wide world.

"But please be aware there are a number of criteria suitable candidates must pass before being eligible to rent this property.

"I am looking for tenants, whom the neighbourhood like, who keep their noise down and will not attract attention to themselves."




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