In the UK (and apparently most other western countries) there are incredibly strict laws against gender discrimination in the workplace, education, services, military etc. However, when it comes to the renting - it all magically goes away and it is perfectly fine to advertise property for renting "for females only". How is that possible? In what sense is the workplace different from a shared flat? What about non-shared flats (landlords refusing to let the whole flat to males)?
However, when it comes to the renting - it all magically goes away
It doesn't look like it. The only case where owners are allowed to discriminate is when (source):
- the owner is living in the property, and
- the owner is selling or letting the property without using an estate agent, and
- the owner is not advertising the sale or letting of the property - a for sale sign counts as an advertisement.
In other words, unless you're an owner-occupier that is renting your flat yourself and without ads to that effect online or offline, refusing to rent to someone based on their gender is a clearcut case of discrimination according to the Equality Act 2010.
The rules are different when you're into flat sharing. In this case discrimination can be valid when:
The tenant or owner, or a family member of the tenant or owner, lives in the property and will continue to live in the property when they let part of it to you.
You must also share some of the accommodation with the person living in the property.
In other words, if you or a family member live there and need to share e.g. a bathroom, living room, or kitchen. In other cases it's discrimination.
How is that possible?
Because Brits aren't reporting it enough nor are they suing the practice out of existence.