Rejecting tenants on housing benefit deemed indirect discrimination24 Jul 2020 | Adele Pinkett
In a recent decision in the County Court at York it was held that a letting agent’s policy of rejecting tenancy applications because the applicants were in receipt of housing benefit was unlawfully indirectly discriminatory on the grounds of sex and disability contrary to sections 19 and 29 of the Equality Act 2010.
Shelter represented the Claimant and analysed data from a number of sources. Evidence was provided that whilst women make up 50.6% of the population they constitute 61% of housing benefit claimants. Disabled households were also shown to be five times more likely to rely on housing benefit compared to non-disabled households.
This particular case concerned a single mother with a disability who was in employment. She had been refused a viewing after she had disclosed that she was receiving housing benefit and was expressly advised “Rather than it being on an ad hoc basis we have had a policy for many years not to accept housing benefit tenants”. Damages were awarded in the sum of £3,500.
This is a county court judgment and is not therefore binding on other county court judges however it is anticipated that other courts will follow suit. Private housing in the capital remains unaffordable for the vast majority of those receiving benefits and this decision is likely to have a greater impact outside of London.
Although a positive and welcome decision, it may lead to letting agents and landlords being less overt in their reasons for rejecting applicants. A large number of the population are suffering from financial hardship as a result of COVID 19 and hopefully this decision will encourage letting agents and landlords to consider applicants from a broader background or risk the cost of litigation.
Contact us today
For a free initial conversation call 020 7485 8811
Email us Send us an email and we’ll get back to you
News & InsightsVIEW ALL
Immediate, Non-Deferrable and Unqualified
Judgment was handed down on 04 May 2022 in the Court of Appeal in an important case regarding the main housing duty....Read more
Vulnerable child wrongly assessed to be an adult
Upper Tribunal finds a vulnerable child to be 17 years old despite two flawed local authority age assessments which led to...Read more
High Court decides on uplift to legacy benefits
Statement on High Court decision on the Government’s failure to apply a £20 uplift to legacy benefits What was the...Read more
Council overturns unlawful housing policy
Homeless teenager claims victory for more than 1,200 homeless people after forcing council to overturn unlawful housing policy A homeless teenager...Read more
Homeless Teenager takes London Council to High Court
A homeless teenager is taking a London council to the High Court for ‘unlawfully’ banning hundreds of homeless people from...Read more
Housing Disrepair Scandal in South London
Following an investigation by ITV nearly 500 homes in the Eastfields Estate in Mitcham, south London, owned by the housing association...Read more
Possession Claims Amends Due to Pandemic
Last year I set out in two blogs the amendments implemented by the Government in the procedure for residential possession ...Read more
Possession Proceedings Update During Covid-19
On 04th May 2020 I posted a blog about tenants’ rights during the pandemic. Since then there have been a number...Read more
High Court challenge the denial of benefit increases...
The High Court is to decide whether it was lawful of the Government not to give nearly 2million people on...Read more
Council to amend unlawful housing allocation banding process
For the last 8 years Brent Council has stopped the majority of homeless applicants from bidding for rehousing, treating them as ‘...Read more
Trapped in your Home Lockdown or Not! – The...
Thousands of leaseholders are facing huge bills for safety improvements to their building after the Grenfell disaster. As a result...Read more
What does the national lockdown mean for possession...
The coronavirus pandemic has caused disruption to all elements of life, and possession proceedings are no exception. The number of...Read more
Hackney Council ignore vulnerable resident’s request
Paranoid schizophrenic ignored by Hackney Council for four years wins legal battle over unsafe front door A man who suffers...Read more
Teenage asylum seeker wins legal battle against Council...
Vulnerable teenage asylum seeker wins age case against the council which unlawfully assessed him A vulnerable teenager who sought asylum...Read more
Is Overlooking a Nuisance? Supreme Court to Decide
Is overlooking a nuisance? The Neo Bankside residents granted permission to go to the Supreme Court In February 2020 the Court...Read more
EU Nationals with Pre-Settled Status entitled to benefits...
Court Judgment means EU Nationals with Pre-Settled Status can access benefits and housing On 18 December 2020 the Court of Appeal handed...Read more
Young mother secures accommodation after illegal evictions during...
Here at Osbornes we have seen illegal evictions on the increase during this global pandemic. Osbornes have been advising many...Read more
Eviction from home of vulnerable man during lockdown...
Osbornes were instructed just before the lockdown to prevent the eviction of a vulnerable man with capacity issues. He had...Read more
Osbornes applying to Supreme Court in housing possession...
In the case of Gateway Housing Association –v- Begum (2) the Court of Appeal recently decided that a tenant must leave...Read more
Housing disrepair issues resolved after three years
Osbornes were instructed on behalf of a disabled tenant who had been decanted from her temporary accommodation for some three...Read more
Education provision to age disputed migrants
The thorny issue of education provision to age disputed migrants There was an interesting article in The Guardian last week...Read more
Is the delay in the Renters Reform Bill...
There have been issues tenants have faced for a long time before pandemic; namely no fault evictions and the other...Read more
Up Up and away to the First Tier...
This year we assisted in written representations for a welfare benefit case in the Upper Tribunal. This is a Housing...Read more
You are homeless because you are in shared...
It is well established that shared facilities are not suitable for families with children as long term accommodation. The client...Read more