Private Rented Housing: Discrimination

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 5th July 2018.

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Photo of Alex Sobel Alex Sobel Labour/Co-operative, Leeds North West

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps the Government have taken to tackle discrimination in the private rented sector in the last five years.

Photo of Alex Sobel Alex Sobel Labour/Co-operative, Leeds North West

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps the Government plans to take to tackle discrimination in the private rented sector.

Photo of Heather Wheeler Heather Wheeler Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

The law is clear - agents and landlords must not advertise or let a property in a way that unlawfully discriminates on the basis of a person’s disability, gender, pregnancy/maternity, race, religion or belief, gender reassignment or sexual orientation. It is important that these equirements are clearly understood and, on 26 June 2018, we published a new “How to Let “guide to help landlords better understand their rights and responsibilities. We also updated the “How to Rent” guide, which was first introduced in 2015, to support tenants to understand and exercise their rights.

A number of other MHCLG policies work to combat discrimination and unfair practices. These include the introduction, in April 2018, of banning orders and a rogue landlord database designed to remove the worst landlords and agents from the sector and the requirement, since 1 October 2014, for letting and managing agents in England to belong to a Government approved redress scheme, giving tenants access to free dispute resolution where problems, including those related to discrimination, occur in relation to their agent. on 2 July we launched a consultation seeking views on how to overcome the barriers to longer tenancies to ensure that all tenants have the security they want and need.

In addition, we are committed to regulating letting agents and requiring them to meet minimum training standards and comply with a code of practice, which will include treating all tenants equally. We will also require all landlords to be members of a redress scheme to ensure that all tenants, not just those who use agents, have access to quick and easy dispute resolution when things go wrong. Our eight week consultation on strengthening redress in housing closed on 16 April. We are analysing responses with a view to publishing a Government response in the Autumn.

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