Outraged Woman Can't Rent a House as Landlord Tells Her She 'Needs a Man to Keep Her Safe'

Lorna Pearce was outraged after a landlord told her she couldn't lease a house because she didn't have a man "to keep her safe."

The 28-year-old hair stylist, who is in a relationship with a woman, felt discriminated against and took to Facebook recently to share about her experience.

"‪I was informed today by SAMS Accommodation that I wasn’t able to rent a certain property in #Plymouth because I didn’t have a man accompanying me on the tenancy, due to safety..." she wrote. "The landlord will not accept single females. Outraged!!"

After living in London for the last decade, Pearce decided to move back to Plymouth, so she called the agency on April 3.

According to her, the letting agent inquired as to whether the property was only for her. After informing the agent that she planned to live alone, she was stunned when she was not permitted to rent a property.

"Once a landlord decides to rent a unit to the public, they are obliged under human-rights legislation to do so in a way that does not discriminate."

"[The agent] said 'the problem is the landlord requested a male and female couple to move in.' I couldn't believe it. It's really strange," Pearce explained.

When she decided to call back and question it, she was told, "The landlord requested as due to safety I would need a man present to keep me safe."

"I'm actually in a relationship with a woman," Pearce continued. "I'm shocked to be honest. It's 2019. Not only is it completely wrong, as a business they shouldn't accept that behavior."

A manager at SAMS Accommodation was unable to deny Pearce's claim and stated they were investigating.

"I came back from the office at 2pm and I believe one of my colleagues spoke to the lady concerned," said the manager. "I don’t know where the ‘single lady’ has come from and I do not know why this would have been said."

The manager added: "I have spoken to all staff members except for one who is not in the office today. I can confirm that we will continue to look into the complaint on behalf of the lady concerned."

Meanwhile, a spokesman at SAMS Accommodation said it had been flooded with requests for the property and that single females have just seen it with the landlord.

The spokesman added that the landlord is currently doing more groups of viewings on a first-come-first-served basis.

Discrimination in housing is unlawful, according to the Equality Act 2010. Cherie Robertson, a senior policy analyst with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC), said:

"Once a landlord decides to rent a unit to the public, they are obliged under human-rights legislation to do so in a way that does not discriminate."

In the event that landlords are found to be infringing upon a tenant's human rights, they can face fines and legal fees. 

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