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‘No Children’ Policies Ruled as Breaching Letting Agent Code of Practice in Landmark Case

The Property Ombudsman (TPO) has declared that blanket bans on renting to families with children are in violation of its Code of Practice, following a landmark case won by a mother of four. Lexi Levens, an NHS neonatal nurse, successfully contested the “no children” policy in the private rental market with support from the housing charity Shelter. The ruling established that such policies breach equality rules outlined in TPO’s code of practice, given their disproportionate impact on women.

Moving forward, letting agents who are TPO members will be prohibited from including blanket bans in property listings or adhering to landlords’ instructions to impose such bans without reasonable evidence or justification. Agents who breach the Code of Practice may be required to pay compensation to those who have been discriminated against.

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Shelter, called on the government to enact the Renters’ Reform Bill, which would make discrimination explicitly unlawful. She urged the government to “stop stalling and make it law once and for all.” Peter Habert, Director of Policy at TPO, emphasized that agents should question landlords’ instructions regarding bans and request evidence for appropriate reasons when considering such restrictions.

Zoopla announced it would examine how it can assist agents and customers in meeting the Renters Reform Bill’s additional requirements for Zoopla listings. A spokesperson highlighted the bill’s importance in reducing unwarranted restrictions on renting homes, especially during a time of severe housing supply shortage.