A Perth-based real estate agent has been stripped of her licence after sending an allegedly racist email to tenants criticisng Indian culture and living conditions in India.
The Western Australia State Administrative Tribunal heard the agent sent the email to former tenants Mr Kumar and Ms Sharma in May 2021 after a cleaning fee was taken out of their bond.
In her email, Daily Mail reports, the property agent allegedly compared the cleanliness of Australians and Indians following a dispute about the tenancy bond.
Mr Kumar and Ms Sharma who had been living in the home left in December 2020. The agent after carrying out a final inspection as per general practice in Australia informed the tenants that the owner did not agree that the bond should be released in full.
After discussions regarding the full return of the bond money, in May 2021, the agent sallegedly ent the tenants an email in which she criticised Indian culture. The agent allegedly wrote:
“Our living standards, our quality of life and expectations are very different to the overcrowded, overpopulated, dirty squaller [sic] of many other countries including India. Therefore, it is impossible to have a discussion about what is clean and when I and most Australians have an expectation of what is clean and you are talking from what you are used to.”
The agent added:
“I and most Australians have an expectation of what is clean and you are talking from what you are used to. There is no comparison, there cannot be any discussion as you are not used to our cultural way of living. I as a white Australian believe you and the others that come to Australia as you want to enjoy the lovely way of life we enjoy, clean, fresh air, jobs or if you cannot get a job social support, medical help and no overpopulation.”
Further, she allegedly wrote:
“Hopefully the massive influx of Indian people will not turn our beautiful country into the filth that is India where bodies are on the street, half burnt bodies are in the river and people climb over each other for medical help. While living in absolute slums. It all starts with cleaning the rental properties though and being mindful of what you have left and knowing the same thing as India will become Perth if you make no attitude changes.”
The agent continued in the email:
“And a white Australian has an expectation that they will move into a clean Australian standards clean not an Indian standard clean. Different if we moved to India then we would have to put up with the Indian standard.”
A few weeks later in June 2021, it was reported that the agent sent the pair an apology email where she said she ‘never intended to be racist’.
The agent said:
“Firstly, I apologise if you believe I have been racist against you. That was never my intent,’ she wrote. I compared the ingoing property condition report and photos with how the property was handed back, the same as is done for every tenant.”
The agent added:
“After vacating more than 6 months ago you have both been strongly vocal about the process. Each and every attempt to resolve the issues has been an argument until I realised that due to differing views which I tried to explain in my last email and are not racist, and never intended to be racist. [It was] just the result of differences in culture and different life experiences by each party meaning that the situation is seen through differing lenses.”
The agent has agreed to undertake training to prevent a similar situation from happening again.
The tribunal suspended the agent’s licence for eight months following the dispute.
The Real Estate Institute of WA has emphasised that its member agents are expected to adhere to the Real Estate and Business Agents and Sales Representatives Code of Conduct and the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 to protect people from discrimination.
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