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Shelter says agents and landlords who ban children are in breach of renting code

Pic credit: Shelter|redress code children parents

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.

Dim view


Sean Hooker, Head of Redress at the Property Redress Scheme (PRS), adds: "We take a dim view of discrimination of any kind at the PRS. 

"It is already law under the Equalities Act 2010 that discrimination is illegal, both directly and indirectly and we are also aware the Government has pledged to outlaw blanket bans against families with children in their forthcoming renters reforms. 

"We are always mindful of the TPO code as it is part of the best practice this sector strives to achieve, so we welcome this clarification. We follow similar codes and guides. 

"See 1.2 point six of the Private Rented Sector Code which we sign up to.

"Agent's whose landlords instruct them not to let to certain 'types'� of people, should robustly point out their legal obligations and have the courage not to act for them if they refuse to back down. If not they are colluding with the prejudice."

Hooker points out that the looming Renters Reform Bill is expected to include a clause that will 'make it illegal for landlords or agents to have blanket bans on renting to families with children or those in receipt of benefits'.

Pic credit: Shelter


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