Agents and landlords who state in their adverts that they will turn away housing benefits tenants could face legal action from one of the major lobbying groups.
EYE understands that Shelter could be considering a class action on the grounds of discrimination.
A Shelter spokesperson last night confirmed to EYE the organisation’s “intention to take cases to court”.
EYE also understands that both Rightmove and Zoopla have been warned by one agency group, following its advice from Counsel, that they should not be carrying agents’ listings where acceptable tenants do not include those on benefits.
The listed estate and letting agency group told EYE yesterday evening that it had become aware that Shelter had targeted one of its offices, posing as a prospective tenant on benefits.
After being told by Shelter that it was breaking discrimination law, the group had taken legal advice.
Counsel’s opinion was that a breach of discrimination law looks likely.
The agent said it had also been advised by its legal team that landlords might have a defence that is not open to agents – that lenders and insurers do not allow letting to tenants on benefits.
Discrimination laws have been beefed up – but this is many years after lettings were advertised as no blacks, and no Irish.