I recently came by a thread on the landlord-forum.co.uk website (update: website has closed down) regarding discrimination against tenants. Transsexualism specifically.
I’m a strong believer in equal rights, so I feel passionate about covering the issue of discrimination against tenants, including what the law says about it (just in case, you know, any shit-for-brains landlords wishes to dabble in the practise).
Landlord-forum.co.uk in itself is an absolute junk yard; it’s buried with spam, and the owner(s) don’t seem to give a shit. Now and then an interesting topic will appear, and if you’re quick enough, you’ll catch it before hundreds of automated spammers push it onto the second page (where no one will see it) by posting threads stuffed with links to counterfeit designer clothing. I’m actually amazed that the 2-3 regular contributors to the forum are still “regulars” I digress.
Here is the core sections of the thread post which I found quite interesting:
I am a male to female transsexual. Currently I’m still living as male, but set a date for living full time as a woman, from 25th July .
I live in a privately rented 1 bedroom flat above a shop. I realise I will need to notify my landlord of my transsexual status as I see them fairly regularly as they also run the shop.
I currently have a Periodic Assured Shorthold Tenancy as the fixed term of 6 months elapsed in December 2010.
I am a bit concerned about the possible discrimination I may face from my landlord and wondering about the best way to approach this subject.
Under the Equality Act it is against the law for them to discriminate against me because of gender identity, but just because it is against the law to do so, it would also be difficult to prove if they should give another reason for evicting me.
I wouldn’t be so concerned about this under most circumstances, but I have a quite good deal when it comes to rent, I live in an area I like and feel safe in, and also wouldn’t want to move to a different area and have to find a new GP who may not be so understanding of my situation.
I’m wondering if anyone on here has any experience of dealing with Transsexual tenant’s and if so, what would be the best way to approach this topic with my landlord? Should I try to insist on a new tenancy for a fixed term before telling them to ensure I wont be evicted at least in the next few months? Also I’m wondering if anyone knows of any leaflets and things that would be useful to give to my landlord?
I’d really appreciate it if anyone could offer some advice!
Unless the landlord has the mental capacity of a premature domestic turkey, I honestly can’t see a problem with the tenant’s lifestyle as long as she’s been a good tenant in the past, so she really shouldn’t be so negative off the mark. Have more faith.
In any case, I’m pretty sure most landlords would put money before their discriminatory opinions. For example, even if a landlord does ordinarily discriminate against a particular skin colour, I’m confident they would still happily accept money from them. It’s quite incredible how money can fuck with perception and personal beliefs. Sad, really.
I actually have strong feelings towards discrimination. I don’t give a shit about skin colour, gender or sexuality. People should be able to live how they choose to live as long as they’re not harming others.
We’re all people of the world.
I can’t tolerate narrow-mindedness, nor can I tolerate those people that think they’re open to issues like homosexuality when they’re actually not. You know, they’re the dribbling fools that say, “They can do what they want behind closed doors, as long as they don’t try anything funny with me. Otherwise they’ll have a problem on their hands”
People like that are just half evolved homophobic. Homophobic nonetheless. I don’t expect anyone to hide their sexuality or gender behind closed doors. Moreover, I’m heterosexual, but if a homosexual tried chatting me up (it’s happened on occasions), I’d take it as a compliment, and I certainly wouldn’t flinch if they got close or touched my shoulders. I’ve seen so many guys get edgy around homosexuals because they automatically assume they want dick-to-arse action. It’s actually embarrassing more than anything else. Once again, I digress.
As long as my tenants treat my property with care, pay rent on time, and respect their neighbours, nothing else really matters to me. For all I care, my tenant can have anal sex with his boyfriend on every square inch of the property as long as he sterilizes every square inch after. Mind you, that goes for heterosexual couples, too. Just clean up after your shit, that’s all I ask.
The Equality Act 2010
Just to highlight the point of the Equality Act 2010, it states that the following characteristics are protected characteristics:
- Gender reassignment
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Religion or belief
- Sexual orientation
It is illegal for a landlord to discriminate against anyone based on those characteristics. That includes:
- A landlord renting a property to a tenant with worse terms than other tenants
- A landlord treating a particular tenant differently than others in regards to usage of facilities such as a laundry or a garden
- A landlord evicting or harassing a tenant because of discrimination
- A landlord refusing to make reasonable changes to a term in the tenancy agreement which would allow a disabled person to live there.
Do you discriminate against tenants?
I’m under no illusion. I’m very well aware that there are landlords out there that consciously discriminate against certain tenants based on the characteristics listed above.
Feel free to anonymously/openly confess if you’re one of those landlords that discriminate, or if you’d had any experience with landlords discriminating (I really hope this doesn’t turn into a topic revolving around DSS Tenants – that would bloody suck!).
If you’re a landlord that discriminates, I’d be interested to know what you discriminate against and why. I’d also be interested to know if any letting agents have had experiences with landlords that have made it clear that they didn’t want a particular type of tenant. I’m sure it happens.
Do you feel discriminated against?
If you feel you’re being discriminated against in any shape or form, I would advice connecting with the Equality and Human Rights Commission– they can advise you about whether you have been discriminated against, and what you can do about it.
Disclaimer: I'm just a landlord blogger; I'm 100% not qualified to give legal or financial advice. I'm a doofus. Any information I share is my unqualified opinion, and should never be construed as professional legal or financial advice. You should definitely get advice from a qualified professional for any legal or financial matters. For more information, please read my full disclaimer.