Letting agents who act on landlords’ instructions to refuse tenants claiming benefits may be breaking the law.
A legal case recently found in favour of a tenant who won compensation from an agency that refused to consider her as a tenant.
The BBC says that Rosie Keogh, a cleaner and former paralegal, successfully argued that blanket bans on benefit claimants indirectly discriminated against women, especially single women.
This is because they are proportionately more likely to be claiming housing benefit than single men, according to official figures.
The incident started back in spring 2016 when an agent in the Kings Heath area of Birmingham declined Rosie as a tenant when she revealed that at least part of her rental payment would come via benefits.
“She had been living in the same property for 11 years with the rent being paid in full every time. After a letter of complaint was dismissed by the agents, the mother of one issued a claim for discrimination in the county court” the BBC says.
The story cites a survey of 1,137 private landlords for housing charity Shelter in 2017 which found that 43 per cent had an outright ban on letting to such claimants. A further 18 per cent preferred not to let to them.
Keogh was backed by Shelter in bringing the case, and a spokeswoman for the charity says: "By applying a blanket policy they [agents and landlords] 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."
You can see the full story here.