When you first find out you or your partner are pregnant, it can be an exciting and concerning time. You might have many questions running through your head. One of the things you might be concerned about is what this means for your rental agreement and if you have to inform your landlord. This article will provide you with all of the information you need to know.
Tenants are not required and do not have to inform their landlords when they are pregnant. However, it may be worth notifying the landlord as a courtesy. They will likely find out when they, or the letting agent, visit the property to conduct an inspection or make plans for completing repairs.
Pregnancy is one of the nine protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010. Therefore, much like it is illegal to discriminate against someone because of their age, sex, race, or religious beliefs, it is also unlawful to discriminate against someone who is pregnant or has a baby.
Landlords will need to carefully consider the implications of the Equality Act if there are issues with a rental agreement with a tenant who is pregnant or having a baby. Even if the tenant is at fault in another way, they are likely to try to claim protection under the Equality Act.
The law states that landlords cannot serve an eviction notice to a tenant because they are pregnant or had a baby. However, it is essential to remember that this doesn’t exclude the tenant from eviction.
For example, a pregnant tenant could still be evicted if they did not pay their rent or if the landlord wanted to get the rental unit back and issued a Section 21 notice.
Where Section 21 notices (often referred to as no-fault evictions’) are considered for a pregnant tenant or has just had a child, it is worth considering using some discretion, for example, using more extended eviction periods, unless circumstances dictate otherwise.
If a tenant who is pregnant or has just had a baby has been issued with a Section 21 notice, it is worth seeking legal advice. Depending on your circumstances, it may be worth speaking to the local council’s housing team to seek their assistance, as you could be classified as a priority case’.
Councils are required to help priority cases find alternative accommodation. Applications for help from the local authority can be made two months before you need assistance, which is the same period a Section 21 notice takes.
Can A Tenant Be Evicted After Having A Baby?
A tenant cannot be evicted for having a baby. Most tenancy agreements in the UK are Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreements. If the model tenancy agreement is in place, this will account for the presence of additional children during the tenancy.
However, some landlords are wary of allowing children in their rental properties, particularly babies. Typically, this is due to concerns relating to the sound of babies crying and the space requirements of additional people in the property.
The sound of crying is, unfortunately, a daily occurrence for babies (likely more than once a day!), and as such, it cannot be considered a form of anti-social behaviour.
The rules around space are slightly more tricky. For example, if the tenancy agreement is an AST that has been created using the model agreement, there may be a stipulation that limits the number of people who live at the property.
This clause is intended to stop overcrowding, such as multi-generation families living in a small property or groups of people living in the property.
However, some landlords have tried to use this to evict their tenants who have had additional children. This can be disputed, and if this applies to you, it is worth checking your rental agreement and seeking legal advice.
Can A Landlord Raise The Rent If A Tenant Is Having A Baby?
In general, a landlord can increase the rent in line with the rental agreement and other requirements. However, this shouldn’t be done solely on the basis of the tenant having a baby. Rent increases need to be fair and realistic.
Landlords need to follow specific rules to increase a tenant’s rent. The exact rules will depend on the type of tenancy agreement, and what is stated in the rental agreement contract.
For periodic tenancies (e.g. rolling month by month basis), landlords cannot usually increase rents more than once a year. For fixed-term tenancy agreements, rents can only be increased if the tenant agrees or the fixed term ends.
If tenants pay weekly or monthly, landlords must provide a minimum of one month’s notice of rent increases.
Rents can only be raised for protected tenancies if the tenant agrees to the rent increase, or the Valuation Office Agency considers the increased rent is a ‘fair rent’. These are also known as regulated tenancies.
It is worth noting that protected tenancies are different from protected characteristics under the Equality Act. While you may be protected under the act, you don’t automatically have a protected tenancy.
If a landlord fails to follow the rules correctly, the tenant can challenge the rent increase.
Can A Landlord Refuse A Tenant With A Baby?
Landlords are not required to accept tenants who have a baby or children, and many choose not to rent their properties to tenants with babies and children. Whilst tenants who are pregnant or having a baby are protected under the Equality Act, families or individuals with children are not.
Landlords do not have to give a reason for refusing a tenant to their property. However, if the tenant appears to be the perfect tenant in every way but is refused a tenancy, this may be because they have a child.
Some properties are unsuitable for babies or children, and it may be in the best interests of both parties if children do not live in the property.
Examples could include House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) or a property which backs onto a nightclub or student accommodation, where noise complaints late at night could be a regular occurrence.
In these instances, it is worth the landlord notifying the potential tenants of the property of these issues to avoid complaints and wasted time later down the line.
Some landlords are concerned about the extra cleaning and redecoration required when a family vacates their rental property.
The tenant’s deposit can cover a reasonably substantial cleaning and redecoration regime. However, the property owner will need to be wary of betterment and general wear and tear.