Discriminating Against Tenants

Possession proceedings brought under Ground 8, Rent Arrears and Section21 Accelerated Proceedings are known as Mandatory Grounds and the Court has no choice but to order possession, as long as procedures have been correctly followed.

However, it is possible that Tenants can defend proceedings by relying on the Equality Act 2010 and/or Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Under Part 4 of the Equality Act 2010 it is illegal for Landlords to discriminate against tenants on the basis of Race, Gender, Disability, Religion or Sexuality.  These are known as protected characteristics and include: --

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender Reassignment
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation

Discrimination can be direct or indirect.

If you treat someone less favourably, due to their protected characteristic, than you would someone else without that protected characteristic then that is known as direct discrimination.  By way of example, a disabled person is discriminated against if they are treated less favourably because of something arising from their disability and the person discriminating cannot show that the treatment is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

Indirect discrimination arises when the person discriminating applies to another person a criterion, provision or practice which is deemed discriminatory.  A criterion, provision or practice is discriminatory if the overriding answer is yes after considering the following: --

  • Who does the criterion apply to
  • Does it include anyone with a protected characteristic
  • If yes, does it put that person at a disadvantage as opposed to other tenants
  • Who is that person most likely to be competing against – is it other tenants without a disability
  • Are the comparator group also at a disadvantage
  • What is the criterion trying to achieve
  • Is it the only way of achieving the objective
  • Could it be achieved in another way that would avoid disadvantaging the people with protected characteristics or in a way that disadvantages them less

So what is the effect of a landlord unlawfully discriminating against a tenant by evicting them?

Regardless of whether or not you have relied on a mandatory ground, the claim for possession will be dismissed and, as it is likely that the tenant has brought a counterclaim, you will be potentially liable for the tenant’s legal costs and also damages.

Contact us to have a no obligation chat at our Corby office on 01536 276300 or Kettering 01536 311690 or use our online enquiry form.

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Carol O' Leary

Specialist Landlord Services

My name is Carol O’ Leary. I am a lawyer who specialises in landlord legal services. We aim to provide our clients with an outstanding legal service.

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Please contact us for a free, no obligation chat at either our Corby office on 01536 276300 or our Kettering office on 01536 311690 or contact us online.

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