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What type of housing is covered by the Equality Act 2010?

This advice applies to Scotland

If you’ve been treated unfairly when renting, buying or living in a property, this could be unlawful discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. But not all properties count as housing under the Equality Act. If you want to take action about unlawful discrimination in housing you need to make sure the property counts as housing under the Act.

Read this page to find out what properties count as housing under the Equality Act.

What kind of housing is covered by the Equality Act?

The law about discrimination in housing covers the following types of accommodation:

  • residential accommodation like flats, houses, bungalows
  • sheltered housing
  • mobile homes
  • caravan sites
  • business premises like shops, pubs and restaurants
  • agricultural land.

It includes both private and public housing - for example, local authority houses, as well as furnished and unfurnished properties.

What’s not housing under the Equality Act?

Housing doesn’t include the following things:

  • short-term lettings where you normally live elsewhere - for example, holiday apartments
  • hotels
  • prisons
  • hospital wards
  • care homes.

What if you’ve been treated unfairly when staying in one of these places?

If you’ve been treated unfairly when staying in accommodation which doesn’t count as housing under the Equality Act,  it may still be unlawful discrimination. But you would have to take action using a different part of the Equality Act.

The people who run these places all have a duty not to discriminate against you because they provide services or public functions. This means you can still take action under the Equality Act, but you would have to use the part in the Act which covers discrimination in the provision of services and public functions.

Why is it important to know which part of the Act covers your situation?

If you want to know if unlawful discrimination has happened, it’s important to use the right part of the Equality Act as there may be some differences in what counts as unlawful discrimination. For example, if a service provider like a hotel treats you unfairly because of age, it’s unlawful discrimination. But it’s not unlawful for a housing association to treat you unfairly because of age when you’re renting a house from them.

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