Reasons for not selecting tenant and claims of discrimination?

by Readers Question

17:00 PM, 8th March 2018
About 2 years ago

Reasons for not selecting tenant and claims of discrimination?

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Reasons for not selecting tenant and claims of discrimination?

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

Monty Bodkin

21:57 PM, 10th March 2018
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark W at 10/03/2018 - 20:50
with a definite income from HMG

It is not a definite income though Mark is it?
It can change so easily by political whim.
And crucially, it is not index linked to rents.
Please prove me wrong and give me the ammunition to argue otherwise.

Mark W

21:59 PM, 10th March 2018
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Deborah Clare at 10/03/2018 - 21:39
Yes. Next insulation standards, and fire safety before too long, but it can be a reliable income in a great city like Oxford.

Mark W

22:08 PM, 10th March 2018
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Monty Bodkin at 10/03/2018 - 21:57
It’s only indexed by RPI. However long term tenants are higher profit margin than 6 monthy changes especially after fees are outlawed, in my experience.
Good night all.

Deborah Clare

22:12 PM, 10th March 2018
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark W at 10/03/2018 - 21:59
Fortunately I think my properties are up to scratch on insulation and fire safety. After a visit from the council a couple of years ago at one property, I updated all properties to the standard recommended.

Interestingly, I have experience of tenants going onto benefits after moving in to a property. When in work they frequently paid late and seemed to be struggling financially. After going on to partial benefits, there has been no problem with late payments. I agree that income from benefits is usually fairly reliable when compared to income from insecure jobs, which can end at the drop of a hat.

Monty Bodkin

22:17 PM, 10th March 2018
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark W at 10/03/2018 - 22:08
Thanks for trying Mark.

Deborah Clare

22:25 PM, 10th March 2018
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Sam Addison at 10/03/2018 - 21:49
Thanks for your supportive comment. It's given us something to think about.

John Frith

15:36 PM, 15th March 2018
About 2 years ago

I am uncomfortable with many of the responses. One thing that mystifies me is why some have decided that the man "had a difficult attitude".

I imagine it must be more difficult finding suitable accommodation if your disabled, particularly when faced with people who discriminate against you. From what the OP quoted him as saying, he merely stated the law. Does that make you a "difficult person"?

Mark W

15:57 PM, 15th March 2018
About 2 years ago

Most disabled people experience discrimination at some time, which means starting with a statement of the law can be their opening line. Personally, when confronted by a rude person, I use a phrase 'I'm a rich cripple, what's your problem?' Their squirming is entertaining for me.
MarkW

Deborah Clare

17:02 PM, 15th March 2018
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by John Frith at 15/03/2018 - 15:36
John Frith, To be honest the general tone of the comments made by the man in our discussion (which was all online not in person) did come across as though he would have a 'bit of an attitude' in person. I think that this was as a result of him being frustrated at having been trying to find a property for a couple of years and letting of steam to the first person who would discuss this with him. It's a bit of a catch 22 for him I suppose. Either he mentions the issue up front and risks being seen as a problem, or waits until he's refused and by then, even if he mentions it or takes it further, chances are somebody else will have moved in to the property anyway. Personally, I would not have had a problem with being told the information he stated, if we had met in person and he brought it up in a non confrontational manner, by asking if I was aware of the rules regarding discrimination and disabilities and explaining it if I didn't already know. However, if he goes in with an attitude of 'you have to accept me as your tenant, you've got no choice', I can understand if it landlords don't want him as their tenant.

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