Discrimination is prohibited – and landlords and letting brokers are topic to this, as are many others offering providers.
However what’s discrimination?
As I mentioned in this post , there are what are often called ‘protected traits’ that are as follows:
- being or turning into a transsexual particular person
- being married or in a civil partnership
- being pregnant or on maternity depart
- race together with color, nationality, ethnic or nationwide origin
- faith, perception or lack of faith/perception
- sexual orientation
It’s illegal to discriminate towards anybody making use of to hire a property on the idea of any of those.
Nonetheless, since I wrote that publish in 2017, the legislation has moved on, and we now additionally should take note of the foundations about oblique discrimination.
That is the place you’re discriminating on the idea of one thing which isn’t in itself a protected attribute, however the discrimination has a worse impact on individuals with sure protected traits.
There are actually two vital sorts of oblique discrimination which have an effect on renters:
1 Discrimination towards candidates on profit
By ‘profit’, I imply all sorts of advantages, together with Common Credit score). This has been discovered unlawful because it disproportionately impacts sure sorts of individuals with protected traits akin to
- Girls (55% of adults who obtain Common Credit score are ladies)
- Disabled individuals, and
- Black and Bangladeshi households (Black households are virtually 3 times extra seemingly than White households to obtain Common Credit score).
The case of Tyler v. Carr was a couple of disabled man who efficiently claimed compensation on the idea that he was being discriminated towards not directly. You possibly can read about this here and (on the finish of the publish) watch a webinar the place one of many barristers discusses the case with me.
Thoughts you, landlords don’t HAVE to grant a tenancy to candidates on profit. If the applicant clearly can’t afford the hire, the owner is justified in refusing to let to them.
Nonetheless, the owner or letting agent should deal with them the identical approach as everybody else and never refuse to contemplate their utility just because they’re on profit.
Many profit tenants are fantastic tenants who pay promptly and take care of the property effectively. Keep in mind that they might have financial savings or household keen to assist them with the hire. So it’s good to give them the chance to clarify this.
2 Discrimination towards households with youngsters
Blanket bans towards households have additionally now been discovered to be oblique discrimination and towards the equality laws.
It’s because ladies usually tend to have dependent youngsters residing with them than males. Which implies that refusing functions for suitably sized houses from these with youngsters will disproportionately have an effect on ladies – who’ve the protected attribute of intercourse.
This has now been upheld by the Property Ombudsman, and though I’m not conscious of any courtroom instances but, I’m positive there can be.
I think that the majority Judges will rule in favour of candidates the place a landlord or agent has refused to contemplate them as tenants, just because they’ve youngsters when the property seems to be appropriate for them.
So what ought to landlords and letting brokers do?
By no means embody phrases akin to ‘no DSS’, ‘professionals solely’ or ‘no children’ in your adverts. If candidates are on profit or have youngsters, it’s good to think about them on their deserves and never dismiss them out of hand.
Supplied you’ve an affordable cause for renting to another person, you need to be all proper. Nonetheless, blanket bans are simply asking for candidates to sue you for compensation.
Cheap causes for refusing to simply accept candidates could be:
- That their earnings just isn’t ample to pay the property hire
- That the property is simply too small for the household dimension, and even
- That there have been many candidates for the property (assuming there have been), and you’ll solely select certainly one of them
Simply as long as your cause just isn’t ‘I by no means enable youngsters in my properties’ (landlord) or ‘our directions from the owner are that youngsters usually are not allowed’ (agent). All the time give all candidates a chance to show their suitability.
There’s a useful web page on the Shelter website here with extra info for landlords and brokers.
What are you able to do if you’re a tenant?
Occasions are powerful for tenants simply now, what with the scarcity of obtainable rented property usually and the hire hikes, attributable to landlords having to cowl their elevated mortgage funds following latest rate of interest rises.
Should you come throughout brokers who’re refusing to contemplate your utility, then (assuming you possibly can afford the property and it’s appropriate for your loved ones) you possibly can complain to their Property Redress Scheme about it.
Shelter have a useful page right here with steering and a useful template for a letter or electronic mail you possibly can ship to brokers who’ve refused to contemplate you as a result of you’ve youngsters.
And at last
The actual downside behind all these points is the dearth of appropriate houses accessible to hire.
As far as low-income households are involved, that is prone to proceed till (as I discussed here) we now have a authorities which removes the ‘proper to purchase’ and encourages Native Authorities to embark on a giant social house-building program.
However that’s clearly not the Conservative authorities we now have on the time of scripting this publish!