The majority of the time, a landlord will not be able to evict you solely on the grounds that you are pregnant or having a baby. However, this will ultimately depend on what is dictated in your tenancy agreement.
Information included in the Equality Act of 2010 states that landlords cannot discriminate against their tenants, with being pregnant or having a child among the list of explicitly defined factors alongside age, gender, religion, and more.
The most common form of tenancy agreement is the assured shorthold tenancy, and the model tenancy agreement and accompanying guidance for this agreement has clause 8.1 that states: ‘the Landlord agrees that, in addition to the Tenant, the following person(s) (who for the avoidance of doubt are not tenant(s)) may live at the property:
- The Tenant’s children or other dependants who are under 18 years of age at the start of the Tenancy.
Thus, most assured shorthold tenancy agreements will inherently account for the presence of children. Nevertheless, there are landlords who will not want their tenants having children, and two of the most common reasons they may use to try and evict them will be noise and space.
Firstly, the sound of babies crying is classed as a normal everyday living event rather than a form of anti-social behaviour and so therefore cannot be the target of a tenancy dispute.
Secondly, babies require such limited space that their presence does not usually have an affect on the available real estate in a property. However, clause 188.8.131.52 in the model assured shorthold tenancy agreement referred to above states that ‘the Tenant must ensure that not more than (insert number) persons live at the property’. Therefore, you may find that some landlords will try to use this as an excuse to try and evict you, but it can be disputed.
It is worth remembering though that even if your landlord cannot evict you for being pregnant or having a baby, this does not stop them from evicting you for other reasons such as if you are in rent arrears, if you break the tenancy agreement, or if they want to reclaim the property through a section 21 notice.
SECTION 21 AND SECTION 8
A landlord who is letting their property lawfully and abiding by all appropriate regulations can issue a Section 21 to evict a tenant when their fixed term period ends. It must have been 4 months since the start of the tenancy, and tenants must usually have at least 2 months’ notice.
This is different to a Section 8, which a landlord will issue if the tenant has broken a specific clause in the tenancy agreement.
The Section 21 and the Section 8 notices were the subject of the 2019 Conservative manifesto through the Renters Reform Bill. The idea behind this is to abolish the frequently-abused Section 21 and reinforce the Section 8 for a more balanced addition to the 1988 Housing Act.
The Renters Reform Bill has been delayed due to the pandemic but is likely to be implemented in later in 2021. Until the application of the Renters Reform Bill, Section 21 notices will still be valid, but the notice periods have changed. If you have been served a Section 21 notice between 1st June 2021 and 30th September 2021 then you will have 4 months’ notice.
What options do I have if I am evicted while pregnant?
If you are issued a Section 21 notice or otherwise told to vacate the premises by any other means it is recommended to seek immediate legal advice.
Your local council must give you assistance with help for housing if you are classed as a priority case, which you are if you live with children or are pregnant and you meet other immigration and residence conditions. Children here are classed as any dependants under the age of 18 that live with you and that you are responsible for, whether they are your children, stepchildren, or foster children.
If your children also live with another parent then this may affect your classification as a priority case.
Your application for help from the council can be applied for 2 months in advance, which lines up with the 2 months’ notice you should have been given if you were the recipient of a Section 21 notice.
If necessary, your council will provide emergency accommodation for you and your family while they search for more suitable long-term options.
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