Discrimination in context to Tenancy Agreements

Tenants must not be discriminated by Landlords because any of the following reasons:

  • Sex / Gender based discrimination
  • Disability based  discrimination
  • Racial discrimination
  • Discrimination based on Beliefs or Religion

It is illegitimate for any landlord to do any act of discrimination against his tenants due to any of the above reasons. As a result, the following aspects of discrimination are completely against the law.

  • If a landlord Rents out a property to specific tenants by providing them worse terms and conditions than the other tenants.
  • If a landlord treats some of his tenants in a different way at the time of determining various policies about access to certain facilities like garden access and laundry.
  • Harassing or Evicting tenants because of gender disability, race, sexuality or even religion, among others.
  • If a landlord refuses to entertain reasonable requests from disabled persons; for instance, if he doesn’t allow a dog to reside with blind tenant in his property etc.

If the landlord lives in the same property as the tenant some of the above rules may not apply; however, the landowners are still prohibited to discriminate any of their tenants because of their race.

Sex / Gender based discrimination

The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (SDA) is introduced not only for sex discrimination against women, but this law also applies to various acts of sex discrimination against men. This act basically states two types of sex discriminations. First one is direct, and the second one is indirect.

A common example of this type of sex discrimination is a landowner who treats a female tenant as an inferior tenant as compared to the male tenants, due to her sex.

A common example of this type of sex discrimination is a landowner, who applies a specific requirement or condition for a female tenant; and female tenant is required to comply with this condition or requirement to obtain tenancy.


If a landowner victimise his tenants due to his/her sex by treating him or her differently and less favourably than his other tenants; it would be considered as an act of sex discrimination and is completely against the law.

Disability Discrimination Act

This Act makes it illegitimate for any landlord to discriminate his tenants due to any type of disability. A ‘disabled person’ in this act, is defined as follows:

“A person has a disability if he or she has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his/her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”

According to this Act, a landlord can be discriminating if:

  • He treats a tenant differently due to some reasons based to his disability.
  • If the landlord cannot justify the mentioned treatment
  • The landowners fail to fulfil Part 2, Sec 6 mentioned in the Disability Discrimination Act. This section describes the various adjustments that are usually done to such agreements for the purpose of making it suitable for a disabled tenant.
  • The landowner cannot justify his failure to fulfil the requirement mentioned in Sec 6.

Various reasons, which are Acceptable, and can be used to treat a disabled tenant with difference

Below are the various circumstances whereby it’s acceptable to treat a disabled tenant with difference.

  • Sometimes, disabled person can be treated differently on the basis of his safety and health.
    • It is quite acceptable to refuse an access of a facility to a disabled person, when it is known that allowing access to a certain facility may pose danger to others’ safety.
    • If a disabled person cannot sign an enforceable agreement legally, or have not given any legal consent, it can be acceptable to treat him differently.

Making Adjustments to Properties

Landlords are not required to make any special modifications in their properties to make their property easy to access by disabled persons.

Racial Discrimination Act

It is illegitimate for a landowner to discriminate his tenant on the basis of racial grounds according to Race Relations Act. This Act describes various types of racial grounds such as colour, race, ethnic group, nationality and national origins etc.

Under this Act, there are 4 main types of discriminations related to various racial backgrounds: first one is direct; second one is indirect, third one is victimisation, and lastly harassment.


A common example of this type of racial discrimination is a landowner who treats a particular tenant as an inferior tenant as compared to the other tenants, due to his/her racial background.

In this type of racial discrimination, a landowner applies an additional requirement or condition to a tenant because of his racial background. A tenant must comply with this condition and the requirement to obtain tenancy. This is an example of indirect racial discrimination.


If a landowner victimise his tenants due to their race by treating them differently and less favourably than his other tenants, it would be considered as an act of racial discrimination and is completely illegitimate.


According toRace Relations Act 1976 (Amendment) Regulations 2003, any type of racial harassment on the grounds of ethnic, race or national origins is considered illegal, excluding racism on the basis of nationality or colour.  Harassment on the basis of nationality or colour may be considered as illegal direct discrimination.
A landowner harasses his tenants on the basis of race, national, or ethnic origins, or if landowner  indulges in some form of unwanted conduct that can affect the dignity of tenants, or creating a degrading, hostile, offensive, humiliating or environment for them.

How to Tackle Discrimination

If you feel that you may have been discriminated in any form by your landlord, then you have all the rights to take a legal action against them. The first step is to take some reliable advice from a qualified and reputable attorney, the Citizens Advice Bureau or from a legal advice centre.