Reasons for not selecting tenant and claims of discrimination?

Reasons for not selecting tenant and claims of discrimination?

17:00 PM, 8th March 2018, About 4 years ago 69

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I have had an enquiry from a disabled gentleman who has two dogs to help him with his disability and has disability benefits as his only income. He has claimed that Citizens Advice and the local council have both told him that it is illegal for a landlord to refuse to let him a property on the grounds that he is disabled or that his income is disability related. He also claims that his dogs must be allowed as they are required due to his disability.

I have told him that often landlords state no benefits or no pets due to insurance policies or mortgage limitations and that therefore they cannot make exceptions. He does not accept this as being a valid argument.

In view of discrimination being a topic of discussion in the press lately, I wondered how a landlord’s selection process stand in a legal sense.

For example, my preference for tenants for a particular property would be as follows:
1. Employed single professional
2. Employed professional couple
3. Employed single parent with one child
4. Employed single parent with two children
5. Employed couple with one child
6. Employed couple with two children
7. Any other applicants that can pass the referencing/credit checks/provide guarantor etc.

So if I were to use this list as my way of selecting from 5 applicants for the property and placed them in this order, would I be breaking any discrimination rules. I don’t think I would be as everyone is considered, but ultimately one has to be chosen and for reasons such as less chance of wear and tear on the property, more chance of a longer staying tenant, etc. this is the order I have come up with.

What are your views on this?

Thanks.

Deborah



Comments

by Di Driscoll

13:44 PM, 9th March 2018, About 4 years ago

But if I let to individual single people on individual tenancy agreements and I pay the bills surely there are ways of selecting regarding pets, age, DSS etc to consider current tenants?

by Mark W

13:53 PM, 9th March 2018, About 4 years ago

Deborah,
Given the info you gave I think you would loose a DDA case, and the fines are not trivial. Take care. MarkW

by Ed Tuff

13:55 PM, 9th March 2018, About 4 years ago

What is this world coming to?

by Ian Ringrose

14:04 PM, 9th March 2018, About 4 years ago

To start with will your RGI cover him?

by Deb

14:08 PM, 9th March 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Ringrose at 09/03/2018 - 14:04
RGI is another issue. I use a company who reference, credit check and collect rent on my behalf. They pay me on a set date and deal with any arrears etc. at their own cost. Therefore, they have fairly strict criteria. They have told me that they do not discriminate and whether disability benefit or any other benefit, the tenant must have a suitable guarantor.

by Deb

14:15 PM, 9th March 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark W at 09/03/2018 - 13:53
The main issue would be the benefits income, which would not prevent him having the tenancy if he could provide a guarantor (as is the case for any benefit, not just disability benefit). The disability issue is not a problem at all. However, from your reply, it seems I am not allowed to consider other prospective tenants to be more suitable? He automatically has the right to any property he chooses, regardless of any other applicants? This seems to be discrimination against all the other tenants as they could not even be considered if a disabled person wanted a property.

by Ed Tuff

14:16 PM, 9th March 2018, About 4 years ago

Careful Deborah, you're using common sense now.

by Mark W

14:23 PM, 9th March 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Deborah Clare at 09/03/2018 - 14:08
A disability benefit awarded for life must be thought of as income by your agent, otherwise they fail DDA test. Guarantor is HMG, no less.....

by Annie Landlord

14:25 PM, 9th March 2018, About 4 years ago

I'm sure there was a case a while ago where a landlord for fined for refusing (not selecting) a tenant with mental health needs. Disability Discrimination laws are complex. As landlords we are hampered due to Lenders' and insurance cover clauses, but the general public isn't particularly interested in that aspect. Disabled people are regularly discriminated against, and many people do rely on a service dog (including guide dogs), so as landlords we need to ensure we can provide adequate reasons for not selecting a disabled tenant that doesn't make reference to their disability, unless it is obvious that the property would be totally unsuitable for their needs.

by Mark W

14:27 PM, 9th March 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Deborah Clare at 09/03/2018 - 14:15
It is positive discrimination and it is the DDA. MarkW


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