Discrimination when buying, renting or living in property

Explains what laws protect you from discrimination when you buy, rent, or live in a property (or place), what you can do if you have been discriminated against, and where you can get support and advice. Applies to England and Wales.

What does discrimination and property (premises) mean?

What does 'premises' mean?

'Premises' means buildings and land that goes with them (property) in which people live. This includes flats and houses. It could be the whole of the property or part of it.

You are protected from discrimination when you are:

  • buying a property
  • renting a property
  • living in a property.

People who must not discriminate against you include:

  • private landlords
  • property owners
  • housing associations
  • local authorities
  • letting agencies
  • estate agents
  • property management associations.

When am I protected from discrimination?

You are protected under the Equality Act 2010 (the law that gives you the right to challenge discrimination) if you can show that:

  • your mental health problem is a disability, and
  • you have been treated worse because of your mental health problem.

Is my mental health problem a disability?

'Disability' has a special legal meaning under the Equality Act, and can include mental health problems. To find out more, see our legal page on disability.

The Equality Act protects you from discrimination in certain situations, such as when you:

The law regarding discrimination and property (premises) does not apply to these kinds of accomodation:

  • Police station custody suites and prison cells. These are covered by the Equality Act under public functions.
  • Hospital wards, as this is a service provided by the hospital. These are covered by the Equality Act under services.
  • In some circumstances, if your landlord lives with you, or if it is a small premises. It is important to get advice if you think this may apply to you.

If your landlord takes court proceedings to evict you, then it is important to get advice from a housing solicitor. (See Useful contacts for information on where you can get legal advice.)


Will's landlord is a housing association. Will has not realised that he owes money on his rent because he does not open his post or answer his phone because of his depression.

His landlord takes him to court to evict him from his home. Will gets advice from a housing lawyer under the legal aid scheme. His lawyer argues that it is not reasonable for Will to be evicted because the money he owes can be paid off in instalments and the reason for the arrears is related to Will’s disability. To evict Will in this situation would be discrimination.

This information was published in December 2017. We will revise it in 2019.

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