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UPDATE Private landlords advertising properties to let 'no children'

(74 Posts)
darcymum Sat 09-Jan-10 19:27:01

Anyone remember my petition to make it illegal for private landlords to refuse to accept families in suitable accommodation? I thought I would give you an update on some of the things I have been doing.

I have contacted Shelter and they are having their campaign team look into it.

I have contacted the Equality and Human Right Commission, they are looking into it.

I have been trying to find out what the situation is in other countries and have yet to find anywhere (apart from the UK) that discrimination against children and families in this way is legal.

Here is the petition if you want to sign it.

petitions.number10.gov.uk/Childlands/

Somebody has set up a group on Facebook

www.facebook.com/#/group.php?gid=187567633950

FrameyMcFrame Sun 10-Jan-10 00:10:03

Thanks for that, will sign it.

darcymum Sun 10-Jan-10 14:25:15

Anyone want to join the Facebook group?

darcymum Sun 10-Jan-10 15:14:52

Some background- I was talking to somebody a while ago who was looking for somewhere to rent with two young children but finding it very hard to find anywhere because so many landlords say 'no children' when advertising. I was telling somebody else this and she told me that she was evicted when she was pregnant because the landlord didn't want a child living in the property.

I thought 'this can't be legal' (it is) so decided to do something about it.

addictedtomn Sun 10-Jan-10 15:35:54

we lost out on our dream house when we were looking for somewhere because the landlord said no-children (we werent told till signing the contract and mentioned to the agent we were ttc) i'm still gutted about it now.

have signed it and linked it to my facebook page

domesticextremist Sun 10-Jan-10 15:44:49

signed...

darcymum Sun 10-Jan-10 16:00:38

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I think I might, unbelievably, be successful in getting the law changed on this. I just need to keep banging on about it.

I have asked the Equality and Human Rights Commission to look at the Human Rights Act with regard to this.

onadietcokebreak Sun 10-Jan-10 16:03:50

Keep up the good work darcymum

darcymum Sun 10-Jan-10 16:08:35

Thanks onadietcokebreak, have you signed?

I need all the help I can get, so if anyone know the legal situation in any other country regarding this please point me in the right direction.

So far I have found out about- Canada, USA, Finland and New Zealand, all illegal to discriminate in this way.

onadietcokebreak Sun 10-Jan-10 16:09:39

I signed up last time. Also think it should be illegal to discriminate against those on DSS.

darcymum Sun 10-Jan-10 16:10:57

I think Shelter has a campaign on their web site about that.

darcymum Sun 10-Jan-10 19:13:04

Sorry can't find anything on Shelters web site, maybe I was wrong. I have learnt that it is illegal in the USA to discriminate against people on benefits though.

Franniban Sun 10-Jan-10 19:45:38

I would be most interested to keep track of this. I manage a office for one of the largest letting agent in England and this if often a problem with my clients. They are often more willing to accept pets than children. I think the correct focus is "suitable accomodation". However, I do think that it is up to the parents to decide what is and what isn't suitable accomodation. It's up to them if they want to live 4 floors up with no lift and no garden!

I would suggest that you contact ARLA, the Association of Residental Lettings Agents. www.arla.co.uk they might be able to help. They are THE body for all quality letting agents and they hold a lot of weight in terms of influencing policy. They were at the fore front of the change in law to private landlords holding tenants deposits.

Good luck with your campiagn, I will sign it!

onadietcokebreak Sun 10-Jan-10 19:56:37

Thanks darcymum.

Franniban thats useful info.

darcymum Mon 11-Jan-10 10:55:59

Thanks Franniban, I will look them up. I haven't contacted and lettings or landlord associations because I just thought they would be on the landlords side.

I estimate that locally about 15% of landlords with 2 and 3 bed properties ban children completely and a further 20% place restrictions (one child, children considered etc). This is just based on looking at to let lists from letting agents locally. I have asked the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research if they have any research into the number of landlords who refuse to accept families and a number of other questions. I don't expect they do but was hoping to raise awareness. I am waiting to hear back.

Would you have any information on numbers?

doctorkitkin Mon 11-Jan-10 11:04:17

Signed!

RockinSockBunnies Mon 11-Jan-10 11:07:36

Signed!

2010aQuintessentialOdyssey Mon 11-Jan-10 11:07:50

franniban do you place many families in your properties?
Do you have any experience of properties damaged by children?

darcymum Mon 11-Jan-10 11:12:08

One of the questions that I have asked the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research is if they have any research into that.

2010aQuintessentialOdyssey Mon 11-Jan-10 11:35:28

To be honest, the cost of the damage my tenants children have done to our house (let out while we are overseas) will surpass her deposit by far!
She has failed to stop her children from drawing on every single wall with black markers. It is not just a scribble. The entire house looks like a telephone doodle. Along with the furniture. When this tenant leave, the entire house needs redecoration, and we must hire a skip to get rid of furniture, and buy new. It has taken her and her children 18 months to ruin a perfectly good house. I will not refuse to let to a family again, but I will quite possible prefer a family with older children, or just a couple. Even student sharers would be better than this. While I understand that families need homes, I dont want to have MY property ruined again, it is too expensive!

darcymum Mon 11-Jan-10 11:47:21

Bad tenants come in all shapes and sizes. Just about all private landlords have tails of nightmare tenants. With this family it was the adult that are the problem.

Ponymum Mon 11-Jan-10 12:18:49

Signed!

I have been both a landlord and a tenant in various countries, due to moving for DH's work. In NZ and Australia it is illegal to discriminate on this basis, and I totally agree with this.

I have been shocked at the attitude of landlords and letting agents in the UK. We constantly see 3-4 bedroom houses with large enclosed gardens listed as "not suitable for children".hmm I have had arguments with letting agents over this point, but they won't even let you view the property to decide for yourself.

As a landlord, my worst tenants were actually a professional couple with no children. Having seen various systems, I suggest that a better way to ensure your tenants are looking after the property is to have regular landlord inspections. This is common practice in other countries - you agree a date and time with plenty of notice, and meet together to inspect the property and discuss any maintenance that might need doing. If you see that the tenants are in breach of the tenancy agreement as far as how they are treating the property you can take action to remedy this at a much earlier stage. But simply the fact that you know you will be having regular inspections means both parties tend to behave themselves a lot better in the first place.

darcymum Mon 11-Jan-10 13:27:13

Thanks Ponymum

I might contact some letting agents in Australia and see if I can get a copy of the law relating to this.

I wonder if anyone has stories they would be willing to share of how this has affected them?

Shelter have asked me to send them the information I have, so a few case studies would be good.

Also if you have lettings lists from other parts of the country, they would be very helpful.

darcymum Tue 12-Jan-10 11:02:42

Come on everyone, sign the petition I want to get to 100 today (then only 400 more to go!)

petitions.number10.gov.uk/Childlands/

PDR Tue 12-Jan-10 19:17:44

Signed!

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