Can landlord advertise female only when looking for a lodger?

As a single mother with a young child, am I against the law by specifying criteria of potential lodgers to share the house with us, such as female only, no overnight guests, DBS checks etc?

you cannot state female only But you can in your mind choose who you want. just do not let it slip you really want a female .Be careful what you say


Thanks for your comment.

For other landlords’ information, I was given the following link which I’ve found helpful to my question. It says I can express preferences with an explanation.

It says :
If you live in the property you’re advertising a room in then the law is slightly more flexible. You’re allowed to have a preference on your new flatmate, but still not when it comes to race.

If you are expressing a preference in your ad, please give an explanation. If, for example, your ad says ‘No men’ or ‘Muslims only’ we’ll remove that bit of the ad. If it says ‘We prefer a female flatmate as all the other flatmates are female’ or ‘This is a Halal household, so we’d prefer a Muslim flatmate’, that’s fine as you’ve offered an explanation for your preference.


Hi @Ying2

If you are living in the property then, as you say, you can have a preference for some protected characteristics including the preferred gender of any prospective lodger. However, as you say, it is never permitted to discriminate (have a preference) on the basis of race. The advice from SpareRoom to make the reason(s) for your preference clear in your advert seems sensible. In our experience it is best to be as open and upfront about your requirements as possible.

Your other preferences, around overnight guests and to have a DBS check, are not related to the Equality Act 2010 so are unlikely to be considered unlawful. However, as we aren’t legally trained we would always recommend that you seek independent legal advice if you are in any doubt.

If you do decide to require a DBS check then, under the Tenant Fees Act 2019, you wouldn’t be able to ask the lodger to cover the cost of the check.

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