How to challenge discrimination when renting with children

Letter template: Complain about 'no kids' rental policies

'No kids' rental policies are likely to be indirect discrimination.

Women are more likely to live with children than men are. So restrictions on renting to families with children are likely to be indirect discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.

'No DSS' policies have been ruled unlawful by the courts because they indirectly discriminate against women and disabled people.

Make a complaint

This could be your next step if the agent ignores or refuses a viewing request just because you have children.

The agent has up to 8 weeks to give a final response.

Copy our template into an email.

[Use the subject: Complaint about 'no kids' rental policies]

Dear [name of agent]

I applied to view or rent the property at [address].

I was told or it was suggested that you do not accept families with children.

I respectfully asked you to reconsider and offer me a viewing on [date of previous email].

My personal situation

As a reminder, my monthly income is £xxx and I can afford this property.

I currently rent a similar property for a monthly rent of £xxx. I have always paid in full and on time. I can provide proof of income and rent payment history.

My complaint

I believe I have been unfairly discriminated against.

You refused my application to view or rent a property that was both suitable and affordable just because my children live with me.

Please reply within 3 weeks to confirm that:

  1. You will reconsider my application for this property or similar properties.

  2. You will no longer reject tenancy applications from families with children.

[If the agent is a TPO member]

The Property Ombudsman (TPO) has agreed to investigate complaints of 'no kids' discrimination that have not been resolved by the agent.

As a TPO member you should acknowledge my complaint within 3 days and investigate and respond within 3 weeks.

[If the agent says it's the landlord's choice]

You told me it's the landlord's choice not to rent to families with children.

Agents who take instructions to discriminate breach equality law.

[If the agent says you will fail checks]

You told me that I will fail affordability checks.

You should not use processes or external referencing companies that automatically exclude certain groups of tenants.

[If the agent says the mortgage or insurance company will not allow children]

You told me the landlord's mortgage lender or insurance company won't allow lettings to tenants with children.

Please tell me what steps you have taken to check that these restrictions are in place?

Please be aware that any restrictive mortgage or insurance terms are likely to be unenforceable as they may be indirect discrimination.

In conclusion

I still wish to view or rent this property.

I have shown that I would be a suitable tenant for this property or similar properties.

If I do not receive a satisfactory response within 15 working days, I will report the matter to your redress scheme.

I look forward to hearing from you.

[Your name and contact number]

You can also send the template as an email attachment or letter:

What happens after you complain

You should allow the agent time to look into and respond to your complaint.

With a formal complaint you should get:

  • an acknowledgement within 3 working days

  • a full response within 3 weeks

  • a final response within 8 weeks

Your complaint could be resolved quickly and you should not need to take further action.

For example, if you're offered a viewing or a tenancy, or an apology and promise to deal with future applications properly.

Taking your complaint further

Redress schemes look into customer complaints about letting agents.

All letting agents must be registered with either:

  • the Property Ombudsman (TPO)

  • the Property Redress Scheme

They must display the scheme they belong to in the offices and on their website.

The Property Ombudsman (TPO) will investigate 'no kids' discrimination by their members.

The Ombudsman has worked with Shelter on guidance to help you complain.

If the agent is not a TPO member, ask the Property Redress Scheme to look at your complaint.

You can take your complaint to a redress scheme if:

  • you do not get a final response within 8 weeks

  • you're not satisfied with the agent's final response

Last updated: 13 September 2022

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