Private landlords not allowed to bar children
LANDLORDS will not be able to specify ‘no children’ in promoting their rental accommodation after States members approved an amendment to a new general housing law proposed by Environment & Infrastructure.
The change allowed the housing law ‘to be as good as it possibly can be’, said amendment proposer Deputy Emilie McSwiggan.
She made it clear that exceptions to the law would be possible under certain criteria.
But she suggested that specifying no children in an advert could fall into the ambit of age discrimination.
This was picked up by Deputy Shane Langlois, who said that the amendment was two weeks too early and should have come up as part of the general discrimination law debate later this month.
However, in the opinion of Deputy Jennifer Merrett, the amendment was 14 years too late, saying that when she was looking for a rental property at that time she was shocked and surprised at how many refused to take children.
It emerged during debate that many States members were landlords themselves, and one such, Deputy Mark Dorey, said that while some of the properties he owned to rent were suitable for families, there were some that were aimed at people of retirement age or a bit younger.
‘We understand the need to have a quiet lifestyle and it’s a small, quiet community we are trying to create,’ he said.
Deputy Lester Queripel said he did not wish to rain on the parade of those behind the amendment but wondered where it would end if it was passed.
Landlords owned the property, and as long as they kept it up to standard, why should they not have the right to say that they did not want children living there?
But not all landlord deputies opposed having children in their properties, including Deputy Barry Paint.
‘I am the landlord of a small property and it’s caused me no end of grief,’ he said, to hearty laughter from members.
‘I can’t see how there can be any opposition to this,’ said Deputy Peter Ferbrache.
However, in the final vote there was substantial opposition, and the amendment succeeded only by a fairly narrow margin of 18 votes to 15 with two abstentions.
How they voted ...
... on Deputy Emilie McSwiggan’s amendment to ban landlords from specifying ‘no children’ in their adverts:
FOR: Deputies John Gollop, Michelle Le Clerc, Marc Leadbeater, Jennifer Merrett, Matt Fallaize, Laurie Queripel, Sarah Hansmann-Rouxel, Chris Green, Barry Paint, Jonathan Le Tocq, Emilie McSwiggan, Heidi Soulsby, Lindsay de Sausmarez, Peter Roffey, Peter Ferbrache, Dawn Tindall, Barry Brehaut and Rhian Tooley. Total: 18
AGAINST: Deputies Lester Queripel, Joe Mooney, Lyndon Trott, Gavin St Pier, Carl Meerveld, Mary Lowe, Jeremy Smithies, Richard Graham, Mark Dorey, Al Brouard, Andrea Dudley-Owen, David De Lisle, Shane Langlois, Rob Prow and Victoria Oliver. Total: 15
ABSTENTIONS: Deputies Paul Le Pelley and Jane Stephens.
(Four States members were absent for the vote)