Adverts for tenants could be breaking discrimination laws
Thursday 5th July 2012
There is no suggestion that letting agents are breaking the law, but could landlords who advertise for their own tenants be guilty of discrimination if they specify race or even gender?
Three years ago, agents in Lincoln were found to be breaching the Race Relations Act by specifically excluding migrants as tenants. This was on the request of their landlords, which makes us wonder if it still happens, and if so, how agents deal with it.
Now a new BBC investigation has found adverts in London and Birmingham in which landlords specify race – for example, Asian or Filipino only.
The law on equality seems pretty clear – and for it to apply to agents, landlords (including live-in landlords), and tenants looking to house-share.
The Equality Act says it is “unlawful for a person who has the authority to dispose of premises (for example, by selling, letting or subletting a property) to discriminate against or victimise someone else in a number of ways including by offering the premises to them on less favourable terms, by not letting or selling the premises to them or by treating them less favourably”.
An Equality and Human Rights Commission spokeswoman says it has written to letting agents in the past to explain that “usually they cannot specify that a prospective tenant is British, Asian or otherwise”.
The Commission also says that rental adverts specifying ‘female’ or ‘male’ only might also be against the law – as might be ‘gay’.
There is much more on the link below – and it is an interesting talking point.
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