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Students facing discrimination from landlords on the rise

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Why saying "no DSS" can give rise to discrimination

A survey has revealed that 38% of students consider that they have been discriminated against by their landlord. The main reasons noted in the survey, where students reported that they had faced discrimination for reasons including their gender, religious beliefs, ethnicity and/or their sexuality.

Statistics from show that whilst 8% of students report to have been the victim of discrimination with regard to their religion, 22% of students have been discriminated against as a result of their sex or race, which is considered to be extremely concerning.

In response to the survey, Danielle Cullen, Managing Director of said: “I think a lot of the problem here is a landlord’s awareness of actually what they can and can’t do. The attitude we face is very much ‘it’s my house, I can let it to who I want’ and it’s very sad to see the trouble and anguish some of these students are facing.”

Under the terms of the Equality Act 2010, individuals are protected from discrimination where it has been perpetrated as a result of a ‘protected characteristic’.

Section 4 of the Equality Act 2010 sets out the definition of protected characteristics and what constitutes the same. They are as follows:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Sex
  • Gender reassignment
  • Sexual orientation
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief

This therefore means that if you consider that the way in which you have been treated as a student tenant relates to one or more of the characteristics which is/are held by you under the act, then you may be able to pursue a claim against the perpetrator for discrimination in the county court.

The typical remedy for a claim of discrimination is compensation so as to reimburse a successful claimant for what they have lost and for any injury to feelings caused by the acts of discrimination to which they have been subjected. However, the powers of the county court in cases of this nature are wide and additional remedies may include the issuance of an injunction (i.e. requiring something to be done to ensure that the claimant is not subjected to discriminatory acts by the perpetrator in the future) or a declaration, (a formal statement that addresses the discrimination).

It should be remembered that not all landlords will behave in such a way and many will be accepting and helpful. If, however, you feel that you have been the victim of discrimination, please contact our team on 01616 966 229.

By Laura Brown, discrimination law team