In most cases, a landlord isn’t allowed to directly discriminate against a tenant who wants to rent a property.
It is against the law to discriminate against anyone because of any of the following 'protected characteristics':
- being or becoming a transsexual person
- being married or in a civil partnership
- being pregnant or on maternity leave
- race including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin
- religion, belief or lack of religion/belief
- sexual orientation
There are, however, some exceptions under the Equality Act 2010. In particular, we have outlined two common situations:
If the landlord lives at the property
This applies where the person who is letting the property, or one of their family members, lives in the property and will continue to live in the property when they let part of it. This could be the owner or landlord, or a tenant sub-letting.
For the exception to apply, some of the accommodation (such as the bathroom or kitchen) would need to be shared by both the person letting the property and the person they are renting it to.
It's worth noting that a landlord of a property is not allowed to discriminate because of race: this is always unlawful discrimination.
If there is another law which permits discrimination
For example, some people from abroad are not eligible by law for local authority housing or help with homelessness. If a local authority refuses to provide social housing to someone from abroad because the law says they’re not eligible, this is not unlawful race discrimination.
Similarly, landlords are obliged by law to conduct Right to Rent checks on their tenants so would be entitled to refuse a tenant who was unable to provide the correct documentation.
If you believe you have been discriminated against by the landlord of an OpenRent property, you can report this via the OpenRent listing page and we will look into the situation.