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What happens if a landlord discriminates against a potential tenant?
Whether or not a person needs and has permission to stay in the UK and has a right to rent is a matter of fact that can be verified by the documents specified by the Home Office. The law says that people mustn't be discriminated against because of their race when renting property.
The required ‘right to rent’ checks must be performed without regard to race, religion or other ‘protected characteristics’ as specified in the Equality Act 2010. These ‘protected characteristics’ include age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
A landlord or agent therefore shouldn’t make assumptions about whether someone is a relevant national or has a right to rent on the basis of their colour, accent, and ability to speak English. If they do, they may be unlawfully discriminating against that person.
The Home office has published a separate Code of Practice for Landlords on how to avoid unlawful discrimination when conducting ‘right to rent’ checks in accordance with statutory equalities duties.