A Jersey lawyer is warning landlords that advertising rental property and saying “no children allowed” could be outlawed under new proposals coming before the States.
Some traditional objections from landlords are that children can cause damage, make excessive noise which could disturb neighbours or the property is unsuitable for children, but such objections could become unlawful on the grounds of age discrimination.
Next week, the States will debate a proposal from Deputy Montfort Tadier calling on the the Minister for Housing, in consultation with the Minister for Home Affairs, to bring forward legislation to prevent discrimination against prospective tenants who are living with a child under the age of 18 years.
At present, the Discrimination (Jersey) Law 2013 includes a carve-out which means an act of discrimination on the grounds of age is permitted when it comes to property.
Deputy Tadier argues that the presumed intention of this carve-out was to allow for sheltered housing and communities for older people and was never intended to be used to discriminate against children and families.
Jeff O’Boyle of Bedell Cristin’s Property team has warned landlords to be aware of the consequences of such a change in the law.
He said: “Landlords and letting agents should follow this story very carefully because the proposed change in the law would be a game-changer for the rental market. If the States decide that tenants with children are being discriminated against, landlords will need to set out clear, justifiable grounds when refusing to let property to tenants with children. Any hint of ambiguity in their reasoning may be challengeable on the grounds of discrimination.”