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?




Dr Rosalind Beck

8:40 AM, 10th March 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark W at 09/03/2018 - 15:12
How do you think it would be viewed if you turned down a blind person and their dog for a room in a shared house of 6, with eg a small back yard? I would wonder who would have the responsibility for cleaning up the dog's mess each morning, evening etc?


9:59 AM, 10th March 2018, About 4 years ago

I think we are all decent people but reality is the discreet and indiscreet costs attached to what I would label as potentially higher tariff tenants just would not make economic sense. Nobody gets a premium rent for the additional tariff, not in this line of business. You do in cruise ship cabins, adjusted hotel rooms This is a public sector responsibility.

Ed Tuff

10:51 AM, 10th March 2018, About 4 years ago

Out of interest, what is this person's disability?

Mandy Thomson

14:30 PM, 10th March 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Martin Roberts at 09/03/2018 - 08:23Yes, you must by law allow an assistance dog, but I've also never heard of anyone having more than one! I would also strongly advise against declining on the basis of housing benefit when that benefit is being paid because the applicant is disabled
Having said that, under the Equality Act 2010, you are only expected to make "reasonable" adjustments - for example, make the tenancy agreement easier to read. You are not expected to make structural changes to the rental property or do anything else you don't have the resource to do.
Also, as someone else on here has already said, a tenancy applicant (whatever their circumstances) displaying an attitude to a prospective landlord is not a great candidate. This is just the same as bad mouthing the person who interviews you for a job or a mortgage.

Mandy Thomson

14:41 PM, 10th March 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by AA at 09/03/2018 - 16:22
I'm sure we've all applied for jobs where you get a rejection letter (if you're lucky) along the lines of, "Thank you for your application but we had many interested candidates and you have not been successful on this occasion" - that's if you get any acknowledgement at all, after spending hours putting together an application.

Mandy Thomson

15:01 PM, 10th March 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Dr Rosalind Beck at 10/03/2018 - 08:40If it was shared living accommodation with a live in landlord, or the landlord's former home, the landlord would most likely be able to discriminate against a disabled tenant or lodger under the small premises exception to the Equality Act.
In any case, even if neither of these applied, the tenant may well qualify for additional benefits to mitigate complications arising from living with their disability, such as Personal Independence Pay (PIP), which in the scenario of the blind tenant's dog making a mess, could be used to pay for a cleaner or someone to walk the dog.


15:05 PM, 10th March 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Ed Tuff at 10/03/2018 - 10:51
I've no idea what the disability is, as the enquiry was via social media and I have not met the man in person. He did say however, that the dogs are companionship pets, so possibly a mental health issue rather than a physical one. I may be wrong on this as I have never heard of anyone having a dog for companionship due to disability reasons. It's something lots of people want anyway.


15:07 PM, 10th March 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mandy Thomson at 10/03/2018 - 14:41
Exactly how I intend letting people know in future.

Chris @ Possession Friend

17:55 PM, 10th March 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mandy Thomson at 10/03/2018 - 14:30
Perhaps the first dogs eyesight isn't too good and he needs another dog to help him 😉

Mark W

19:21 PM, 10th March 2018, About 4 years ago

As I wrote in my first post = be careful. The DDA is a useful law for disabled people. There have been many silly comments on this thread. However, the my advice is be reasonable. Remember that service dogs are NOT pets in law and are extremely well trained. Some of the views expressed on your question could get you into breaching the DDA, which is designed to stop discrimination against disabled people. There is a Disability Law Charity which may help you if you ask positive questions. If you have a flat which is suitable for a disabled person you are likely to find someone who has a secure income, is quiet, no parties, long term tenant, hence you get a reliable income. I am horrified by the views posted on this thread. MarkW

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