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Should ‘Master' bedroom be dropped from property descriptions?

The Black Lives Matter debate has reached the property industry with some agents dropping the term ‘Master bedroom’ from descriptions.

The Times over the weekend reported London agent Peter Wetherell as having already dropped the use of the ‘master’ term, and saying: “These changes are being driven by political correctness and dramatic transformations in the buyer demographic across prime central London.

“The typical buyers are now aged from their early twenties to their mid-forties and from all over the world.


“This young demographic tends to be very broad-minded and find any form of racism or sexism deeply offensive.”

David Westgate of the 50-branch Andrews chain - which has also dropped the term, was reported as saying the Black Lives Matter movement had made the company more aware of its behaviour and wanted to “make sure people are treated with respect”.

This debate has been active for some time in the United States.

In Texas the Houston Association of Realtors - the city’s equivalent of a local branch of NAEA Propertymark - says it will no longer allow the terms “master bedroom” or “master bathroom” to be used in descriptions on the multi-listings service that it operates for consumers.

HAR has substituted the terms ‘primary bedroom’ and ‘primary bath’ and says this brings property descriptions into line with US house builders who apparently stopped using the word ‘master’ some years ago.

In recent weeks - since the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis in the US - social media platform Twitter has agreed to drop the terms ‘master’, ‘slave’ and ‘blacklist’ from its software programming codes in favour of more inclusive language, and the global bank JP Morgan has announced a similar move.

The Court of Master Sommeliers says it will also cease using the term ‘master sommelier’ because of its racist implications. Mars, owner of the Uncle Ben’s rice brand, is also considering changing the name and imagery on the product.

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    Master Bedroom has nothing to do with slavery. It's because a householder, if male, was known as the Master, the abbreviation for which is Mr. His wife the mistress of the house has the abbreviation Mrs. The master bedroom is the one used by the Master or the Master and his wife. ... The “master bedroom” was used in architectural plans to mean the owner's bedroom. This has gone too far and is total nonsense.

    Algarve  Investor

    Even that seems a bit outdated and archaic, doesn't it? Bit like how the servants' quarters or the drawing room would now seem highly out of place.

    In your description, which I don't doubt, it suggests a world where only men can be homeowners - you don't see any Mrs Bedrooms, do you? - and of a world where there are masters and those below them.

    I doubt anyone actually links a master bedroom to its original meaning very much - I know I've never really considered its origins before, I kind of just assumed it meant the biggest room in a house - but I can see why people could see as it being a bit of a colonial relic.


    Algarve Investor - I don't the wife would be too pleased if I had a Mistress bedroom in the house.

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    Virtual signalling at it's worst!

  • Mike Lewis

    The modern definitions of "Master" are principal; main; skilled.
    So if we are we to now dump the term for a bedroom, should we also change "Master key"; "Master switch"; "Master Class"; "Masters degree" etc. Bizarre !!


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