Skip to main content
Shelter Logo

Owning a home

Discrimination when applying for a mortgage to buy a home.

This content applies to Scotland

Discrimination when buying a home

If a lender requires life insurance, it may question single men about HIV/AIDS. An untruthful answer to a question in an application for insurance will void the insurance contract. The Association of British Insurers has produced a code of guidance for its members. [1] The code states that, when taking an application for life insurance, insurers can ask questions about whether the applicant has tested positive for HIV, or had another sexually transmitted infection. It advises against insurers asking questions about negative HIV tests or an applicant's sexuality.

The Equality Act 2010, which makes discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation unlawful, has an exemption in relation to an annuity or life insurance policy, which makes it lawful to treat a person less favourably than another on the grounds of sexual orientation, provided there is sound statistical evidence for that treatment (for example, data that shows that a gay person is at a higher risk of developing a disease than a heterosexual person). [2]

The Equality and Human Rights Commission may be able to provide advice and representation to someone who has been discriminated against on account of their sexuality.

Further information about discrimination due to sexual orientation is available on Shelter's Get advice website for the general public.

Last updated: 11 December 2019


  • [1]

    Statement of best practice on HIV and insurance, available from the Association of British Insurers

  • [2]

    Sch 3. Part 5 (22) The Equality Act 2010