You must not be discriminated against in access to housing regardless of whether it is provided by the state, a municipality or a private provider.

Discrimination in providing access to housing may include cases where a service provider refuses to rent out a house or apartment, makes degrading or insulting remarks or offers you different terms in the contract, such as a higher price just because you belong to a group of people with certain characteristics. 

example Discrimination may occur where a landlord refuses to rent an apartment to a person just because he/she is black or belongs to a sexual minority, such as homosexuals.

However, different treatment in the choice of tenants is allowed if housing is provided privately without public advertisement and within a close circle of acquaintances and family.

example It will not be considered discrimination where an elderly lady feels more comfortable and wants to rent out a room in her apartment to a female student.

In Estonia, the Equal Treatment Act and Gender Equality Act apply also to housing, in combination providing protection from discrimination on the grounds of sex or gender, and race or ethnic origin. In addition, the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia prohibits discrimination in general regardless of the ground.  In certain cases housing may be provided to a specific type of client by applying the exception of genuine requirement.

What human rights violation may there be?

The prohibition of discrimination will be violated if you are denied housing or offered individual, more disadvantageous terms in a contract only because you possess certain characteristics which are recognized as prohibited grounds, such as gender, religion or race.

How to complain

If you believe that you may have been discriminated against by a private housing business, you may file a complaint to the Consumer Disputes Commitee or to the civil court

Additionally, there is a possibility to turn to the Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner or to the Chancellor of Justice for their opinion.

Read more about how to complain.


Last updated 26/09/2019