Will I fall foul of discrimination law?

by Readers Question

15:24 PM, 9th April 2018
About 8 months ago

Will I fall foul of discrimination law?

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Will I fall foul of discrimination law?

I have been referencing a couple for one of my properties. There is a CCJ on one of the applicants reports, but I knew of this from the start and as its being paid and only a small amount I carried on with referencing.

The property they are living in I was told was a relatives so therefore no reference to be got, but I called at the house to put some paperwork through the letterbox and found property looked pretty rough and back garden full of old stuff.

I am reluctant to move forward with the application and feel perhaps that I should return the Holding Deposit.

My question is will I need to state the reason if I reject their application.

Can I be accused of discrimination.

Jan



Comments

Dr Rosalind Beck

9:14 AM, 10th April 2018
About 8 months ago

I'm not an expert, but I don't think you have to give any reason. I would simply return the deposit and say 'sorry, but I am not able to go ahead with the application.'

Jan Martin

10:29 AM, 10th April 2018
About 8 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Dr Rosalind Beck at 10/04/2018 - 09:14
I thought after seeing the state I could just not go ahead too but I had a conversation with association and was warned that it could be classed as discrimination by the potential applicants.

Dr Rosalind Beck

10:33 AM, 10th April 2018
About 8 months ago

I can't see how it is legally discrimination as there needs to be discrimination against those with 'protected characteristics' like race or gender. I would just keep it short as I suggested above and if they ask what the reason is you might say you can't say because of data protection! (that's partially a joke but one that you might want to use).

Deborah Clare

10:45 AM, 10th April 2018
About 8 months ago

I wouldn't have thought that you could be accused of discrimination. What are you discriminating against? Messy people? I would just say that you are not able to proceed with their application and not give a reason. However, if they are only staying with another person, bear in mind this may not be their mess. If anyone saw the state of my home they would think I'm a very messy person, which is not true, but my adult kids who live with me are! It's a tricky one, maybe they want to leave their current home because of the mess?

Jan Martin

10:52 AM, 10th April 2018
About 8 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Deborah Clare at 10/04/2018 - 10:45
Thats what worries me I didnt get to see inside of house . I only saw the garden and front door and letterbox hanging off.Items in garden looked as though been there for years.I cant get a reference as they tell me its a relatives house .Check tells me lived there for years .

Ann Shaw

11:17 AM, 10th April 2018
About 8 months ago

The Equality Act 2010 states that the 'Protected Characteristics' are as follows:-
age;
disability;
gender reassignment;
marriage and civil partnership;
pregnancy and maternity;
race;
religion or belief;
sex;
sexual orientation.
Therefore, you are NOT discriminating in any way shape or form, if you now say you have had second thoughts and don't want to progress with the AST. You are entitled to change your mind, providing you haven't signed the AST. I wouldn't give too much information away, but politely decline their application and return the 'holding deposit'. Just as an aside, I never take a holding deposit until I am absolutely sure I want to go ahead with the tenancy. Just one to note for future. Trust your gut, and don't take these tenants. The CCJ in itself would have left me running for the hills. If a tenant isn't worried about paying a debt and having a CCJ on their credit file, then they're not worried about further debts i.e unpaid rent etc, in my opinion.
In future, you can also check bankruptcies online with https://www.thegazette.co.uk/. Just type in their full name under 'search the archives' and choose the 'insolvency' orange button. There is no time limit on bankruptcies i.e, they are not removed after six years, whereby a CCJ can be on a credit file.
Best of luck with finding some neat and tidy tenants with no CCJ's.

Jan Martin

12:38 PM, 10th April 2018
About 8 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Ann Shaw at 10/04/2018 - 11:17
It was my gut feeling that led me to go to the property . I had paperwork to give and sent text to say I would put through letterbox and on two occasions I was told nobody at house just send in post please. Another time they said they would meet me at the rental property . This is the first time that I have ever wanted to stop tenancy after holding deposit received. I am questioning it today as I have been warned by an association that I could possibly fall foul .

Ann Shaw

12:43 PM, 10th April 2018
About 8 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Jan Martin at 10/04/2018 - 12:38Which 'association' is saying you are in breach of the Equality Act 2010, Jan? I would ask them to qualify the breach of the act.

Dylan Morris

13:02 PM, 10th April 2018
About 8 months ago

Have they been paying rent as it's a "relatives house" ? I always insist on seeing the last 12 months bank statements so I can see rent going out by standing order. If they pay cash then I automatically decline the application as verification of rent history cannot be obtained. As far as I am concerned this my underwriting criteria and not discrimination.

DALE ROBERTS

14:52 PM, 10th April 2018
About 8 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Jan Martin at 10/04/2018 - 12:38Listen to your instinct. There is nothing I have read about this potential tenant that doesn't make me absolutely distrustful. I'd rather refuse a tenant I'm wary of than ever have to go the horrible and expensive and lengthy process of evicting them. And being saddled with the collective losses of rental arrears and damages and a CCJ that has to be enforced, also at your cost, is to be avoided. if you are forced to provide a reason for rejecting their application cite their credit history.

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