Landlords could be breaking equality laws by using blanket bans against tenants
Private landlords could be breaking the law by rejecting housing benefit claimants.
A survey of 1,137 private landlords carried out by housing charity Shelter in 2017 found that 43% had an outright ban on letting to this group of tenants.
A further 18% of those surveyed revealed that they preferred not to let to them.
A recent legal case saw a single mother win compensation for sex discrimination from a letting agency after it refused to consider her as a tenant for a property after she revealed that part of her rental payment would come via benefits.
Rosie Keogh had been living in the property for 11 years with the rent having been paid in full every time.
Keogh successfully argued that blanket bans on benefit claimants indirectly discriminated against women and particularly single women as they are proportionately more likely to be claiming housing benefit than single men.
The agents dismissed an initial letter of complaint after which the mother of one issued a claim for discrimination in the county court.
“I felt something had to be done to challenge it. I was motivated by anger at such inequitable practice,” said Keogh.
“You are being treated differently – and it’s women and women with children who are bearing the brunt of this because they need to work part-time.”
Keogh was supported in her case by Shelter, whose legal officer Rose Arnall, commented: “By applying a blanket policy they are actually preventing good tenants from accessing the private rented sector.
“Women are more likely to be caring for children and therefore working part-time and are therefore more likely to top up their income by claiming housing benefit.”
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