Landlords and letting agents groups have insisted their members shouldn’t be – and aren’t – discriminating against furloughed would-be tenants.

They have responded to a written question asked by Labour MP Paul Blomfield (pictured) about what assessment Housing Minister Christopher Pincher had made of the extent of landlords and private letting agents refusing prospective tenants in receipt of support from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Pincher replied that his department didn’t hold this information but said there was no reason landlords or letting agents should be refusing tenants outright on the basis of being furloughed.

He added: “A letting agent is free to carry out any referencing checks within the law as they deem appropriate before accepting a new tenant. This may include income requirements or the need for a guarantor, depending on the decision of the individual landlord.”

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No evidence

Propertymark insists it has not seen agents refusing prospective tenants on these grounds. Mark Hayward, its chief policy adviser, tells LandlordZONE: “References look into the affordability of the proposed tenant and then the agent will react to the contents of that reference; however, we’re not seeing any evidence at the moment that those tenants on furlough have been prejudiced against.”

Case by case

A spokesman for the National Residential Landlords Association adds: “Landlords and letting agents should not have blanket bans on specific groups of people being able to rent their properties.

“Each tenant should be considered on a case-by-case basis, with appropriate checks to ensure they can afford the rent. Where needed, making use of guarantors can be helpful in providing confidence to both the landlord and the tenant.”

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