By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.
Graham Awards


Pets and Kids Not Welcome? New analysis of rental listings

Thousands of listing for rental properties on two popular websites explicitly say children or pets are not welcome.

A BBC analysis of Zoopla, where listings are uploaded only by agents, and OpenRent - where landlords directly upload -  found that 24 per cent of OpenRent ads said families were not allowed to rent the homes. This accounted for about 1,800 of just under 8,000 in the sample looked at by the BBC.

Over 300 Zoopla listings explicitly said children were not wanted, although this was less than one per cent of the sample. 


Some 73 per cent of sampled OpenRent listings said tenants with pets were not welcome, compared with six per cent on Zoopla.

Such statements and bans are by no means illegal although blanket bans on tenants with children in Wales and Scotland are considered by some legal experts as a likely breach of the Equality Act, particularly if considered to discriminate against women.

The Property Ombudsman said earlier this year that blanket bans on renting to families breached its code of practice because they disproportionately affect women, who are more likely to live with their children.

Lettings agents’ trade body Propertymark told the BBC in response to the survey that a government cap on deposits in England made landlords more wary of damage by pets; the National Residential Landlords Association said it recognised how important pets were to many tenants and that any bans on children reflected "the actions of a minority of rogue landlords".

An OpenRent spokesperson said it was clear that when a landlord did not accept children or pets this actually helped tenants “prioritise their searches” and that “the decision of who to let to is entirely with the landlord”; Zoopla said 95 per cent of its listings had no references to pets or children and there was no evidence of agencies enforcing blanket bans on either.

* In separate research for the BBC, Zoopla says about 4,000 landlord homes have been listed for sale every month in London so far this year.

  • icon

    Landlords’ properties, landlords’ capital investments, landlords’ choices. No doubt this will be the next campaign by Polly and Generation Rent. Then they wonder why landlords are selling up and rents are increasing.


    I think that certain properties being listed as no young children is fair, as I have a couple of properties on working farms, with farm-vehicles passing by. The Landlord judged that the risk of a small child getting through a fence or gate too high, and said no children under 10 as by that age they should be able to understand the dangers. But it general, stating no children is unfair and significantly reduces your applicant pool.

    Although I did once have someone with a one bedroom cottage (lovely little place) and they had twins during their tenancy. We waited for them to serve notice, but they didn't, even though we could see it was starting to get a bit crowded. Then the neighbours reported a caravan had appeared in the back garden... They had made the bedroom into the children's room and were sleeping in the caravan... We had to serve notice at that point! Some properties are not suitable for children.


    Country lass, whats the worst that can happen with the caravan?

  • jeremy clarke

    I agree with fedup landlord, the properties belong to the landlord, they must be able to choose who lives in that investment. Normally the choice is made due to suitability, significant that the lady interviewed was not asked some key questions such as income, employment etc?
    What we are seeing is an ever increasing number of applicants who are enquiring about properties that are unsuitable but fall into their price range e.g. families with 2+ children enquiring about small 2 bedroom properties - these are the tenants that need social housing not charity from the PRS!

  • icon

    Steve Macey, apart from the issue that their contract has a clause for no caravans or motor homes, there are several other issues. Firstly, child safety. Whilst yes, in a house a parent will have to get from their room, to their child's in the event of sickness, injury or plain-old nightmares, if the parents are in a caravan, they have to get out of there, into the house and then into the child. Which leads us to; access. Do they climb in through the window? Health and safety hazard. Ok, through the door? So you leave the door unlocked? Security issue. Lock it? Have to remember to take the key (and as a parent who quite often became conscious whilst standing in her child's room that is unlikely). Lock it and leave the key in the lock? Why bother locking it?
    It is, from a child safeguarding perspective, not different from having your child sleep in the house next door by themselves.


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up