6 Reasons a UK Landlord Can Refuse to Rent to Someone

iEditorial Note: These blog posts represent the opinion of DoNotPay’s Writers, but each person’s situation and circumstances vary greatly. As a result, you should make sure to do your own independent research. Because everyone is unique, our self-help tools are never guaranteed to help with any specific situation. DoNotPay is not a law firm and is not licensed to practice law. DoNotPay provides a platform for legal information and self-help.

6 Reasons a UK Landlord Can Refuse to Rent to Someone

Landlords have the freedom to choose their tenants to a certain extent. The line between ethically denying a tenant space and unlawful discrimination is blurry. However, all landlords have a legal obligation not to house anyone who has no lawful basis for being in the UK.

All landlords need to understand their legal responsibilities to avoid committing the criminal offence of discrimination, resulting in a fine or even a prison sentence. Every landlord is free to refuse to rent someone their premises as long as the judgement was not made on discriminatory grounds.

Landlords do not need a reason to deny someone tenancy, but it might come with a cost. DoNotPay helps you understand the law and know if a without facing legal action.

Are Landlords Allowed to Choose Tenants?

, so long as the decision is made for legitimate business reasons and not on discriminatory grounds. However, it is unlawful to refuse to rent someone due to any of the following discriminatory grounds:

AgeEthnicity including race, colour, nationality, or originSexual orientation
GenderBeing or becoming a transgender personDisability
Having children, pregnancy, or on maternity leaveReligion, spirituality, belief, or lack ofMarried or in a civil relationship

These grounds are referred to as protected characteristics that lawfully protect a tenant or property buyer from discrimination. However, this does not automatically translate to landlords renting individuals with these characteristics. If they have undesirable traits or do not meet the requirements to rent the premises, it is okay for the landlord to reject their tenancy application without consequence.

When Can a Landlord Refuse to Rent to Someone Without Consequence?

Landlords have the freedom to refuse to rent someone as long as it is not based on protected characteristics. A landlord does not need to give reasons for rejecting the tenancy application, and a simple no makes it hard for the tenant to claim that they were discriminated against.

Positive discrimination is allowed when a tenant with protected characteristics has special needs that the premises cannot offer or are at an advantage compared to other tenants. Here are examples where landlords can reject tenancy applications without any consequence:

  • When it is evident that the tenant cannot afford to pay the rent.
  • A tenant who cannot take care of the property.
  • A tenant with poor references from their previous landlords.
  • A person with a criminal record.
  • People you are comfortable around or your subconscious warns you against.

There are certain grounds that a landlord can put guidelines dictating who can stay within their premises, including:

  1. Criminal Background Check

A landlord can reject tenants with any criminal record or selectively, such as sexual offences and theft. The landlord can check the prospective tenant's ID or conduct a lawful criminal information check through the local authorities to vet the applying tenants.

  1. Financially Responsibility

Every landlord wants a tenant who is going to pay their rent on time. One of the best ways to gauge your tenant's financial ability is by conducting a tenant screening through independent companies or asking the tenant to provide their credit report.

A landlord should assume financial responsibility by simply inquiring about the tenant's occupation. This may escalate to unlawful discrimination against certain careers.

  1. Smoking and Drug Abuse

Property owners have the freedom to filter tenancy applications by examining the lifestyle of the applicants. Certain traits such as habitual partying, smoking, drinking alcohol and other forms of drug abuse are solid reasons to reject a tenant.

Lifestyle activities that are a nuisance or endanger other tenants can be rejected without consequence. However, a tenant can partake in these lifestyle practices outside the premises.

  1. Maximum Occupancy

A high number of tenants on the property translates to greater wear and tear. A landlord might choose to protect their property by limiting the number of tenants at each given time.

Other grounds a landlord can determine the number of occupants include:

  • The capacity of the sewerage and waste disposal system
  • Number and age of children
  • Layout and size of the houses
  • Special housing codes
  1. Rental History

Landlords are allowed to get references from the tenant's previous landlords and inquire about their lifestyle and how they behave as a tenant. If the tenant has no references or is a student, the landlord can ask for a co-signer to the lease for security.

Sort Your Tenant Issues With DoNotPay

Landlords can choose whom to grant a tenancy to, depending on various grounds. After signing a tenancy agreement, it is the landlord's responsibility to protect your tenant's rights as dedicated by the law.

You have the freedom to cancel your lease in case your landlord does not serve you according to the law and the tenancy agreement. DoNotPay can easily help you cancel your lease without any penalty.

If you want to break a lease but don't know where to start, DoNotPay has you covered in 4 easy steps:

  1. Search for and open the Landlord Protection product on DoNotPay.

  2. Select which issue applies to you.

  3. Answer a simple set of questions so our chatbot can collect the necessary information to create your demand letter.

  4. Choose whether you want DoNotPay to send the demand letter to your landlord or roommate on your behalf. If you already tried sending a demand letter and it didn't work, we can help you start the small claims court process.

And that's it! You should hear back from your landlord directly once your demands are sent.

What Else Can DoNotPay Do?

Other tenant issues that DoNotPay can help you with include:

Why Use DoNotPay?

DoNotPay offers you simplified information to help you understand if a landlord can refuse to rent someone in the UK. We work with government entities and private companies to bring you information and simplified solutions to all your administrative and legal needs.

Here are examples of services from DoNotPay:

Sign up today to protect your tenant rights and fight back today!

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