ACORN members have found evidence of discriminatory practices from Bedminster letting agents Taylors. Hypothetically suggesting that he might soon be made redundant, ACORN member Doug Ross was told that "landlords don't want people on the dole with pitbulls moving into their houses when they could get doctors and lawyers.” This seems quite an assumption on the part of Taylors and seems more reflective of their own attitudes than anything else.
Doug says “As if searching for a new home wasn’t tough enough in the worsening rent crisis; I find it disgraceful that an estate agent would imply such a stereotypical and prejudiced view of tenants receiving housing benefit. Everyone deserves the right to a home; we can not tolerate the stigmatisation of people due to their personal circumstances. Landlords and letting agents are forcing people from their neighbourhood because “there’s so much demand from London, landlords can be picky”. With “NO DSS” commonly featuring on letting listings, it’s hardly surprising there’s a growing number of homeless people in Bristol.”
When ACORN mystery shopper Joanna Ball rang to enquire about letting out a property, she was advised against benefits claimants by Branch Manager Adam Millar. ‘I was shocked by the advice given to me as a landlord. Adam seemed very passionate about not letting to Housing Benefit claimants and strongly advised me against doing so, saying that as Bristol was so booming at the moment and there are so many professionals looking to rent, why I would even bother with “these people”. Even if you were an ethically minded landlord this strong advice would put you off.”
Such advice, apparently from top staff condemns thousands of Bristol tenants as unfit to rent to; disproportionately affecting groups such as single-parent families, those with disabilities and working people whose jobs simply don’t pay enough. Not to mention those unlucky enough to be out of work through no fault of their own!
Bristol rents have jumped 25% in four years. Our city is experiencing a major housing crisis and property professionals have key influence on affordability. By pushing landlords to let only to the most well off Taylors are complicit in pricing people out of communities such as Bedminster. We say that Taylors have a responsibility not only to their clients but to the sector they work in and to society at large. They do not operate in a vacuum and must also benefit the wider community.
Join us in calling on Adam Millar to:
Clarify Taylor's position and advice on benefit claimants
Commit to a meeting with ACORN representatives to discuss Taylors becoming signatories to the Ethical Lettings Charter
Ensure internal processes and training is non-discriminatory