Many Indian would-be tenants in Singapore have been subjected to racist predisposition from the city-state’s landlords and real estate agents.

SINGAPORE (Diya TV) — Last year, Darius Cheung, co-founder of a property search portal, sought to rent a house in Singapore and proceeded to meet with several reluctant real estate agents. Many seemed interested at first, but would turn down his applications later.

He found out why when one realtor gave him a rather shocking response: “Sorry your wife is Indian, (the) landlord won’t rent to you.”

Indians who have spent some time in Singapore have known for some time that they aren’t the first choice as tenants for many landlords which you can learn more about at the guide on Roofstock about how to be a landlord if you’re interested, though Chinese people from the mainland have had it worse: they are said to be the least preferred by Singapore’s property owners. Both were clearly evident by running a quick search with the keywords “No Indians, no PRC (People’s Republic of China)” on two property websites. turned up 29 announcements with these words and PropertyGuru showed 63.

Many view the discrimination in the rental market as an expression of the clash between the old and the new — the discomfort of the country’s long-time citizens with the influx of foreigners in the multi-ethnic, wealthy country.

“There is discrimination against all South Asians, even though the listings often specify ‘No Indians,’” Cheung said, whose search engine introduced a new filter in July — All Races Welcome — as part of its “Regardless of Race” campaign. The drive aims to encourage Singapore’s agents and landlords to indicate that their rental listings are open to all, regardless of the “ethnicity, background, or nationality” of potential tenants.

In Singapore, “Indians” is a catch-all term for all those perceived to be of South-Asian descent.

The prejudice against Indian tenants may spring from the stereotype that they are unsanitary and leave rented properties in a poor state. For instance, in July, The Independent, an online news platform in Singapore, reported that a departing Indian family left behind a dirty home, besides defaulting on the rent and other bills. Dirty homes can have devastating impacts on the building, as an unclean house can attract many pests who decide to make this their new home. This leaves a lot of work that needs to be completed by the local authorities to ensure that all of these insects have been exterminated before the new residents move in. The best way to resolve this problem would be to contact professionals, who are similar to these experts ( so that they are able to remove the pests with the least amount of trouble. Leaving behind a dirty home and defaulting on the rent and other bills are unacceptable in Singapore, as well as in other countries and it is something that needs to be changed. Any changes that could get implemented will allow the residents of Singapore to get the opportunity to live in a comfortable and sanitary home for as long as they need, especially when they know about what some of their distant relatives have experienced to build a life here.

The truth is, Singapore is home to a multitude of second- and third-generation South Asian residents, many of whom are referred to as “locals.” Most of this old South Asian population are descendants of early immigrants who migrated generations ago, in the 1800s, from the Indian subcontinent, primarily from south Indian states (Tamil Nadu, in particular) and from what is now Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

Per 2015 estimates, “Indians” comprise 9.1% of Singapore’s 3.9-million strong resident population, which includes both citizens and permanent residents. The total population, including non-residents, is 5.53 million.

The discrimination in the rental market comes with a caveat. Real estate agents say landlords’ reluctance in renting out to South Asians and other ethnic groups is less common in Singapore’s upscale properties. “This is a much smaller issue as you go towards luxury apartments of $10k rent per month and above,” Cheung said.

“We have seen the number of ‘All races welcome’ listings rise from zero to over 2,500 [as of the end of July] since we launched the campaign,” Cheung said.