Yes, according to an investigation carried out by the BBC. A recent report highlights claims that some landlords are discriminating against tenants with children. Landlords say this is untrue and if tenants with children are rejected, it’s because the property isn’t suitable for families.
Tenant Says Landlord Treated Him Unfairly
BBC reporters interviewed a tenant who claimed he was refused a tenancy when he told the landlord his two children would be staying with him some of the time. The man described the property as a two-bed family home with a garden and a garage; he was mystified why the landlord didn’t want anyone with children living there.
“I was honest with the letting agent that the kids would visit,” he said. “I had not rented for 15 years and wanted to be honest about the situation. I was told the landlord did not want children – and that was that.”
He described the experience as very “unfair”.
Kids are No Worse than Adults
Other tenants describe similar experiences. They point out that kids don’t necessarily create any more mess than adults, and even if there is some mess, the deposit should be enough to cover the damage.
Landlords say the reality is that some properties are blatantly unsuitable for families, and they make this clear at the outset. One landlord who rents an HMO says he won’t rent to tenants with kids, as there are a number of older people living at the property. Another landlord rents out a property next to student accommodation. He points out that children and students are both noisy, but at different times of the day, so living adjacent to each other is mutually unsatisfactory.
These landlords both confirm that they wouldn’t evict any tenant who subsequently had children while living in one of their properties.
RLA Agrees with Landlords – Some Properties ARE Unsuitable for Kids
The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) agrees that some properties are not suitable for kids, especially city centre flats with no garden or space for children to play.
“Landlords should always ensure that properties they rent to families with children are suitable and safe to meet the needs of such tenants,” says John Stewart, policy manager for the RLA.
The Equality Act
Where Do Landlords Stand according to UK Law?
Interestingly, landlords are free to rent to whomever they like. There is nothing enshrined in UK law that says they must rent to families with kids. However, under the Equality Act, landlords can’t discriminate against any one group, so if they are seen as discriminating against single mothers, for example, they could be taken to court.
If you do decide not to rent a property to tenants with kids, make sure your policy applies to everyone, irrespective of their gender, religion, sexual orientation, race or disability. Otherwise, you could end up on the wrong end of a lawsuit.
What’s your policy on renting properties to people with children? Tell us where you stand on the issue – we’d love to hear from you!
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