Letting agents and their landlords who advertise properties as ‘no children’ face being accused of breaking discrimination rules, it has been claimed following a campaign by Shelter.
The organisation says agents who advertise properties as ‘no children’ are now breaking The Property Ombudsman’s Code of Practice and could face disciplinary action.
This follows the case of mum-of-four Lexi (pictured), who was evicted from her property in December 2020 and subsequently found it hard to find an agent or landlord who would accept her large family.
But The Property Ombudsman (TPO) will have an uphill battle on its hands – thousands of properties advertised on property portals including Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket feature ads with ‘No Children’ conditions often along with ‘No Pets’ and, despite a previous court case win by Shelter, ‘No DSS’ as well.
TPO’s decision to include such ‘No Children’ ads within its Code of Practice for Letting Agents on discrimination is not an outright ban; the redress scheme has said it will investigate agents whose landlords have asked for properties not to be rented to families.
Agents found in breach will be issued a warning and, in the case of a ‘flagrant’ or repeated breach, face expulsion.
But this is not an automatic ban and the practice is not illegal nor has a court judged it be in contravention of equality discrimination.
TPO’s Code does not specifically cover discrimination against parents but rather says: “You should provide a service to both landlords and tenants consistent with fairness, integrity and best practice”.
This was the case with ‘No DSS’ ads, a practice which in 2020 a county court said unfairly discriminated against a single mum-of-two with a disability, on the grounds of sex and disability under the Equality Act following a similar Shelter campaign.
LandlordZONE has approached the industry’s other redress provider, the Property Redress Scheme, for comment.
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