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Discrimination in housing - who's treating you unfairly?

This advice applies to Wales

If you’ve been treated unfairly by someone when renting, buying or living in a property and it’s because of who you are, you may have been unlawfully discriminated against.

The law which says you mustn’t be discriminated against is called the Equality Act 2010. Discrimination which is against the Equality Act is unlawful. If you’ve experienced unlawful discrimination, you may be able to do something about it.

Read this page to find out more about who mustn’t discriminate against you in housing.

Top tips

If you want to know if unlawful discrimination has taken place you need to check:

  • why you are being treated unfairly
  • who is treating you unfairly
  • what's the unfair treatment
  • how is the treatment unfair or what type of discrimination it is.

Who mustn’t discriminate against you in housing?

You mustn’t be discriminated against when you:

  • want to rent or buy a property
  • when you’re living in a property.

Who mustn’t discriminate against you when you want to rent or buy a property?

The Equality Act says someone who has the right to dispose of premises mustn’t discriminate against you when you want to rent or buy a property. Someone who has the right to dispose of premises means someone who has the right to do one of the following things:

  • let or sublet a property to you
  • allow you to occupy a property
  • sell you a property.

It therefore includes the following people:

  • private landlords
  • social landlords like local authorities and housing associations
  • tenants who have the right to sublet their property
  • letting agents
  • estate agents
  • owners of property.

Who mustn’t discriminate against you when you’re living in a property?

When you’re living in a property, the Equality Act says you mustn’t be discriminated against by someone who manages premises.

The following people are likely to be considered as someone who manages premises:

  • private landlords
  • social landlords like local authorities and housing associations
  • tenant management associations
  • letting and estate agents
  • property management agencies
  • rent collection services.

What if you’ve been treated unfairly by someone else when you want to buy a property?

When you’re buying a property, you may have been treated unfairly by other people - for example:

  • surveyors and valuers
  • solicitors
  • mortgage lenders.

This could also be unlawful discrimination, but you would have to take action using a different part of the Equality Act.

These people all have a duty not to discriminate against you because they’re service providers. 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.

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 landlord to treat you unfairly because of age.

Next steps

Other useful information

Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS)

If you have experienced discrimination, you can get help from the EASS discrimination helpline.

Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)

You can find useful information about discrimination on the EHRC website at

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