Housing Secretary, Michael Gove is pushing for the extension of the Renters Reform Bill to expressly prohibit rental advertisements that exclude families and individuals in receipt of benefits. The proposed revision is currently under discussion and may also extend to Scotland and Wales, along with England. As it stands, the Renters Reform Bill, if enacted, will be restricted to England.
Gove is cited as saying that a joint venture between the three nations would “send a clear message to providers.” The Housing Secretary has reportedly extended an invitation for collaboration to Scottish Housing Minister Paul McLennan. He also confirmed that discussions with the Welsh government have been initiated.
In a direct statement, Gove expressed, “We know this is a priority we share with the Scottish government, and would send a clear message to providers across the whole of Great Britain.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson commented on the proposed extension: “We are aware of the UK government’s plans to introduce a ban on excluding those in receipt of benefits and those who have children, and welcome this proposal. We will work with the UK government as it develops its plans to consider how best to protect these groups in Scotland.”
However, the spokesperson also added that any collective effort “must include a close examination of the UK government’s decision to freeze Local Housing Allowance rates at 2020 levels for the third year running”, suggesting affordability as “the far more significant barrier to accessing a privately rented home”.
A recent BBC investigation revealed thousands of rental adverts posted by private landlords and letting agencies expressly barring children or pets. The study examined around 8,000 advertisements on the OpenRent website, almost a quarter of which stated that families were not permitted to rent the homes. Furthermore, 300 listings on Zoopla explicitly stated a non-acceptance of children.
You can see the full BBC report here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-66116194