Campaigning charity Shelter claims that in one part of the UK alone, some 75,000 tenants have been discriminated against by landlords.
The Welsh arm of the charity, in a statement, says: “It is unlawful to discriminate against anyone looking to rent in Wales. Despite this, over 75,000 people across Wales reported discrimination when trying to find their current home.
“More than one in three landlords do not – or would prefer not to – let to people who are entitled to benefits.
“We know that it is a devastating experience to have found a place to call home, only to be turned down from renting or even viewing that home because of your gender, sexuality, ethnicity or disability.
“Things don’t have to be this way. Sign our pledge and say no one should be denied the right to a safe home because of discrimination. It’s time to put an end to this unlawful practice.”
The pledge in question is a pro-forma on the Shelter website, which also includes an option for the user to be updated on how to get involved in fund-raising for the charity.
An article written under the name of Shelter Cymru in the Welsh online publication The National says: “We know that many landlords and agents rightly assess a tenant’s ability to afford a home and making sure we don’t set people up to fail is fundamental to preventing homelessness.
“However, there is a stark difference between affordability checks and then turning people away from an affordable home because of who they are or whether or not they are entitled to benefits.
“How tenants pay their rent is not the business of landlords or agents. Nor is a tenant’s sexuality, age, religion or any other characteristic. You wouldn’t dream of people being turned away from a supermarket for trying to pay for their groceries with benefits – so why is this such an entrenched part of the housing sector?”
The article also says: “Our soon-to-be-published landlord survey showed that more than one in three landlords do not – or would prefer not – to let to people who are entitled to benefits.
“This is particularly sinister, given that even before the pandemic, around half of the population in Wales were in receipt of some sort of benefit - and we know that people entitled to benefits disproportionately have one or more protected characteristic.
“Whatever the reasoning behind the discrimination they faced, the impact it has on people being ostracised is vast. Home is everything. Without good homes, it is impossible for us to lead healthy, happy and productive lives.
“So to find the perfect place and see it snatched away from you because of stigma and bigotry is – as we’ve seen – devastating.
“It doesn’t have to be this way. As well as binding UK case law stating that benefits discrimination is unlawful, in Wales we have additional protections in place to defend tenants from being discriminated against.”
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