Landlords and Ministers set for battle over discrimination, poll suggests research found that nearly half of landlords won't take pets or benefits tenants despite it being outlawed soon within Renters (Reform) Bill.

Pets Thinktank imageThe 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 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.

Refusing tenants 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).


  1. I’m biggest Benefit Landlord in Nottingham. Housed more than any other private provider over 26 years. And I am now refusing Benefit tenants.
    Do we not think it’s time Shelter & the Govt come ask me why?
    So we can tackle the cause?

    Oops there it is again, £30,000 fine. That will keep more Landlords in for more supply for cheaper rents, shouldn’t it? Great thinking Govt & Gove.

    Ooh & if it wasn’t bad enough already paying tenants £12,000 for a paperwork error for a VERY NICE HOUSE, but no Selective License, the punishment is now £24,000. Absolute Nuts. Govt, you have now just caused more Landlords to sell & increased rents for good tenants that have done nothing wrong.

    Surefire way to become a criminal & go to prison-Become a Landlord. You try & help the homeless & u get fined for it-Why bother?

  2. As an agent we obviously do not to discriminate and personally I do feel for people on benefits not being able to afford or be accepted but I do know local if councils paid the landlord directly (again) this would change some LL attitudes.

    Why would you rent to someone with history of rent arrears and who have probably failed references which means if you have LL insurance they wouldn’t be covered! Again the councils need to help here by building more council homes or paying landlords directly.

    There are so many reasons why Landlords aren’t interested in letting to various groups and dont forget it’s them that are taking the risk and seldom do they get any swift help/justice from the courts when things do go wrong.

    Also with regards to pets the majority of leaseholds apartment blocks do not allow pets in the lease… so bashing landlords for complying with the lease also isn’t fair… and lets be honest it causes more issues for the landord with complaints from neighbours as they hear some dog barking because it’s been locked away in a empty flat all day or smells and possibly fouling the communal gardens etc

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