The Government is set for a major battle with the private rented sector after research has revealed that almost half of landlords do not accept tenants with pets or on benefits.
This is despite discrimination of this kind likely to be outlawed by measures within the looming Renters (Reform) Bill.
The research from Confused.com Mortgages come from a poll that shows how attitudes haven’t changed despite the threat of new legislation.
The government recently refused to relax its plans to require landlords to take pets unless the animals involved are not suitable for the property such as a huge dog in a small flat, other tenants with phobias or allergies and whether a property has common parts.
The legal test will be if a landlord’s refusal to take a pet is ‘unreasonable’ but will also cover more technical matters including when a building’s freeholder has banned pets within their head lease terms.
Confused.com found that 44% won’t rent to tenants with pets, 43% won’t let to tenants claiming benefits and 15% won’t rent to those with children.
But this will change as amendments to the Bill published today include new clauses that ban landlords from “discriminatory practices which make it harder for people who are on benefits (and people who have children) to obtain a relevant tenancy”.
Landlords explained their reluctance to accept tenants on benefits as being due to the risk of late or unpaid rent (69%), the risk of benefit not covering the rent (65%) and the benefit being paid directly to the tenant (53%). The property not being suitable for families is the most common reason a landlord wouldn’t be willing to let it to those with children (78%).
The majority of those polled (84%) wouldn’t rent their properties to someone with a history of rent arrears, while 47% would turn down students and 44% would say no to would-be tenants needing adaptations.
Attitudes on pets have not changed much since five years ago, when Kate Faulkner launched a campaign to persuade landlords to take a more accepting view of dogs and cats in rental properties (main image).