Discrimination in UK Housing: Tenant Rights

Author: Rent Guarantor

08/09/2020

Being discriminated against by your Landlord/Estate Agent is never a situation any tenant wants to find themselves in. However, it is important to be brushed up on the lingo and legislation involved when it comes to discrimination and be able to make an informed decision as to whether you have a legitimate case.

 What is Discrimination?

As stated online a Landlord could theoretically be accused of discrimination if they refuse to rent to someone for a specific reason such as:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Sex
  • Gender Identity
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Marital Status
  • Disability
  • Religion
  • Pregnancy

Sadly, a Landlord does not always need to give their reasoning for deciding whether or not to accept a rental application so it’s not always easy to confirm whether discrimination has occurred.

However, if you are already living in the property, the citizens advice website has plenty of information regarding housing discrimination and advises that the main part of legislation that covers discrimination in housing is the Equality Act 2010 – Part 4. However, renters should be aware that not every housing situation is covered by this such as local councils, holiday homes or university accommodation.

Nonetheless, if you are living within a property and experiencing issues, and in the worst instances facing eviction, due to what you believe is discrimination then it is always something you should look into.

It is also worth noting that in July of this year as reported by the BBC it became illegal to advertise a rental property as ‘No DSS’. This now means that Landlords/Estate Agents are unable to discriminate against tenants that apply for housing and are in receipt of benefits.

What Does Discrimination Mean for a Guarantor?

As also explained on the citizens advice website a Guarantor is only liable for what the agreement they sign says. Usually this will be any unpaid rent or malicious damage to the property and wouldn’t mention anything specifically regarding discrimination.

Therefore, usually the best move will be, for you, the tenant, to leave the property if you feel as though you are being discriminated against and surrender the tenancy. This will then bring any Guarantor agreement to an end and ensure that they are no longer liable for any unpaid rent.

Overall, discrimination in UK housing can sadly still be a problem in today's society. However, by ensuring that you know your rights and the legislation that can protect you this should never end up being the case. If you are a Guarantor of a tenant who feels as though they are being discriminated against you should check the agreement you have signed to confirm your responsibilities. You are then informed if the tenant chooses to stay and challenge the issue or leave and surrender the property.

Disclaimer: Rent Guarantor is not qualified to give legal or financial advice. Any information shared in the above blog is an opinion based on personal experiences within the property rental sector, and should never be construed as legal or professional advice.