Housing discrimination if you're a disabled person

Disabled people often find they face barriers to doing everyday things that non-disabled people take for granted, such as going shopping, sorting out financial issues and renting or buying a home. But there are laws in place to prevent unfair treatment, and improve disabled people's rights.

Disability discrimination

Sometimes disabled people find that service providers such as landlords, mortgage lenders or councils do not treat them as well as they treat non-disabled people. For example, a landlord may refuse to rent a flat to someone with mental health problems, or a mortgage lender may turn down an application from someone who is in a wheelchair. This is disability discrimination, and it's against the law.

What if I'm being discriminated against?

If you feel a landlord or other service provider has treated you unfairly, you don't have to put up with it. There is action you can take, by using their official complaints procedure, reporting them to the Equality and Human Rights Commission or taking your case to the sheriff court.

What is harassment?

Harassment is any behaviour that causes distress or alarm, or is offensive or humiliating, and can range from abusive jokes to violence and assault. According to the Disability Rights Commission (now called the Equality and Human Rights Commission), one in five disabled Scots has experienced harassment because of their disability.

What can I do if I'm being harassed?

There are many ways of dealing with harassment, depending on who is causing the problem and how serious the situation is. For example, if your neighbours are being abusive or threatening, you can get help from your council's antisocial behaviour team. If a service provider is harassing you, the Equality and Human Rights Commission may be able to help. Harassment is a crime, so you can also report the offending person to the police.

Housing rights

As a tenant, you have housing rights protected by law. Your rights will depend on the kind of tenancy you have - if you're not sure, use our tenancy checker to work out your tenancy type, then go to the section on renting rights to read up on your rights and responsibilities. In addition, disabled tenants have extra rights to help deal with landlords and letting agents.

What other rights do I have?

As well as preventing disability discrimination, the law states that service providers must make reasonable adjustments to their services and premises, to ensure disabled people can access them.


If you need housing advice, contact us for free.

Last updated: 29 December 2014

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England