Disability To Let

4 06 2008

A friend Jackie wants to move house and rent in another part of London. Straightforward, right?

Wrong.

Jackie is deaf and has a Hearing Dog. The problems she has had trying to find somewhere just defy belief. A Hearing Dog is a well trained assistance dog, it’s not a dirty thing that’s going to wreck the property and upset other tenants with its’ barking. I asked Jackie what the property owners had to say.

She contacted a letting agency who were advertising a house on their website. Jackie asked them to inform the owner of the house that she has a Hearing Dog, which is an assistance dog, with the same rights as a Guide Dog for the Blind. The owner came back with ‘No dogs, not even if it’s a Guide Dog’. Jackie asked the letting agency for the owner’s contact details so she could take legal action against her. The agency refused, saying they couldn’t release the information under the Data Protection Act. Jackie contacted the EHRC and they told her that this is a potential case of discrimination.

Jackie 1 – Landlords 0

Jackie contacted another letting agency. They had a slightly different service and placed potential tenants into people’s homes, a scheme called ‘homesharing’. The letting agency’s representative met Jackie and her Hearing Dog, and gave her their Terms and Conditions to take away to read. The next day, Jackie emailed them and said she wanted to move to west London. She got a reply back saying they would not accept animals of any kind in accordance with their policy, and good luck in the future. Jackie was not happy with this, she again contacted the DHRC and they again said it’s a potential case of discrimination.

Jackie 2 – Landlords 0

Jackie was feeling pretty low by this time, as she was desperate to move. She contacted a private landlord and was told, upon saying she has a Hearing Dog, ‘The house has laminate floors, it’s not suitable for a dog’. Which is a rather silly comment, considering I have had laminate floors and my dog is ok with them.

Jackie 3 – Landlords 0

The next landlord she contacted told her his house was too small for a dog. How can a house be too small for a small dog? Doesn’t he know the phrase ‘Too small to swing a cat around’ isn’t meant to be taken literally?

Jackie 4 – Landlords 0

The next landlord said the other tenants might not like a dog. Hell, I wouldn’t have blamed Jackie if she had replied ‘Well, I might not like a human’.

Jackie 5 – Landlords 0

This is getting rather silly. When are these people going to realise the error of their ways and start allowing a person with a disability to rent their property? All you have to do is substitute the word ‘disabled’ for ‘black’ to realise you’re being discriminatory.

What Jackie has realised is that this could be the makings of a nice little sideline…..

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2 responses

6 06 2008
kim

Those landlords are ignorant. Someone needs to set them straight. But WHO?!

1 09 2008
Georgia

I am about to move to London to find work. I also have a Hearing Dog and am not looking forward to this part of the process at all- surely there must be a group of dog-friendly landlords somewhere, or a landlord who has a hearing dog themselves?

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