Landlords who say ‘no DSS’ flout the law

Image caption Rosie was one of many females locked out of desirable areas due to agents’ DSS bans

The a large number of lettings agents and landlords round the country who reject housing advantage claimants could be flouting equality laws and regulations, due to a recent legal case.

The widespread practice provides led to “no-go zones” for those upon lower incomes – especially in appealing residential areas.

Yet single mother Rosie Keogh gained compensation for sex discrimination from the lettings agency that refused to think about her as a tenant because the girl was on state benefit.

The cleaner and previous paralegal successfully argued that quilt bans on benefit claimants not directly discriminated against women, especially solitary women.

This is because these are proportionately more likely to be claiming casing benefit than single men, based on official figures.

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Rosie’s attempt to rent a house in a smart area of Birmingham in-may 2016 was blocked when the lettings agent found she would pay a few of the rent via housing benefit.

‘Second-class citizen’

The agent told her it will not be proceeding with her program for a property in Kings Heath before it had looked into the girl individual circumstances or assessed exactly how reliable a tenant she would become.

She had been residing in the same property for 11 yrs with the rent being paid completely every time.

After a notice of complaint was dismissed by agents, the mother of one issued the claim for discrimination in the region court.

“I experienced something had to be done to problem it. I was motivated by rage at such inequitable practice, inch said Rosie.

“It made me feel like a second-class citizen.

Picture copyright Alamy

“You are being treated differently — and it’s women and women with kids who are bearing the brunt of the because they need to work part-time. inch

And Rosie is just not alone. There are whole areas of cities and cities in England that have turn out to be virtual no-go zones for people upon housing benefit because lettings brokers and landlords are unwilling to cope with them.

A study of 1, 137 private landlords just for housing charity Shelter in 2017 found that 43% had an overall ban on letting to this kind of claimants. A further 18% preferred never to let to them. And an investigation by BBC last year found many homeowners prefer to let to families along with pets than those on benefits.

Rosie was backed in her case by Refuge, whose legal officer Rose Arnall said: “By applying a quilt policy they are actually preventing great tenants from accessing the personal rented sector.

“Women are more likely to be caring for children and thus working part-time and are therefore very likely to top up their income simply by claiming housing benefit. ”

Because of the lack of available interpersonal housing, more than a fifth of those hiring privately are relying on housing advantage either wholly or partly to protect their rent, according to 2017 numbers.

Eighteen months after Rosie initial began her fightback, lettings realtor Nicholas George admitted indirect elegance on the grounds of her sex, settling from court with £ 2, 1000 compensation.

She furthermore had help from the Bar Free of charge Unit with the case who discovered a barrister willing to help at no cost.

Robert Brown provided advice and drew up the permission order which was witnessed by a determine at Birmingham County Court.

Although not setting a lawfully binding precedent, the case established which the practice could be considered indirect lovemaking discrimination.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said personal renting was so expensive that lots of people could not get by without casing benefit, even if they were working.

“Our advisers repeatedly listen to from desperate mothers battling to get someone willing to let to them, despite being able to pay the rent.

“We are urging all property owners and letting agents to get rid of ‘no DSS’ policies, and treat individuals fairly on a case-by-case basis. inch

Chris Norris, head of policy at the Nationwide Landlords Association, agreed there was room for discrimination on the basis of someone’s sex.

“Cases like this emphasize the very worst of what a group of renters have to put up with in order to to secure a home in the private leased sector. ”


He additional: “The number of landlords willing to lease to housing benefit tenants offers fallen dramatically over the last few years mainly because cuts to welfare and issues with the universal credit system make it more and more difficult for anyone within receipt of housing support to pay for their rent on time and maintain long-term tenancies. ”

Labour’s housing spokesman John Healey said government cuts to casing benefit had stripped away the particular safety net for families and resulted in “no-go zones” for families upon low and middle incomes.

“These short-sighted decisions make landlords more wary of tenants declaring housing benefit and so made splendour more likely. ”

The government spokesman said: “It’s incorrect to treat someone differently because they are declaring a benefit.

“The most of claimants are comfortable managing their particular money but we are increasing assistance to help people who need it to stay along with their payments. ”

He added that from Apr, people in receipt of casing benefit would receive two weeks’ rent when they moved on to general credit and landlords could today apply to have the benefit paid straight to them if their tenants were greater than two months in arrears.

But one landlord, Tom Dark, said his landlord insurance restricted him from taking tenants which are on housing benefits when their particular tenancy starts.

An additional said: “As a council certified landlord who trains others to be accredited, ‎ I can safely declare the “no DSS” is not right down to landlord preference or discrimination… it might be entirely down to (a. ) home loan terms and (b. ) serious delays in the claimants HB declare, universal credit policy to pay people directly into their bank account.

“We personally could fill the houses 10 times over whenever we could rent to DSS because our phones never stop buzzing, day and night, whenever we advertise a empty one. ”

Here’s what you’ve been saying relating to this issue:

Dorothy from Andover

We are a mother of 3 kids, ages 3, 7 and eleven. I have had to private rent the past 8 years due to the lack of authorities properties available. I have moved seven times within those 8 many years and each time to a completely different region because of lack of estate agents and homeowners who will except housing benefit. We now have had to move due to landlords no more wanting us after the benefit slashes, and also bad landlords who would not really keep the house together. Due to end up being refused a tenancy over and over again frequently due to being on housing advantage, we have had to look further afield. We have moved from Southampton in order to Eastleigh to Gosport to Andover. My daughter who is aged eleven has been very affected by this right after now being in her 8th college and this has effected her schooling and her mental health, because of constantly having to make new close friends and losing many every time. This really is all because there are so so many property owners who will not accept housing advantage even though we are great tenants plus always pay our rent promptly as it is our priority. This has to come to a stop. We do not really feel safe in any property. We have been confronted with homelessness previously due to not getting anywhere and even when we Have, the particular estate agents feel they can charge numerous pounds more due to our situations which does not make any feeling as we have a low income so we have to be homeless if we can’t spend or find a suitable guarantor. These types of guarantors that they want have to be extremely specific and earning so much cash but unfortunateley not everyone knows someone who is employed and earning so much cash.

Jesse from Birmingham

My loved ones and I have been trying to move home for over a year now. We presently rent privately and have been checking up on our rent at this property for more than 7 years. I search online daily for properties, from Cornwall, up to the Scottish Borders. I am fortunate if I find 1 property per month that will accept DSS and be inside a suitable area for us to raise our kids. Being so few of these attributes, they are snapped up almost amediately. Individuals on benefits are being viewed as the nuisance risk and are being pressed into inner city areas blighted by crime. The children are being penalized because their parents can’t function, or have a job with a low earnings. How can that be fair?

Lisa from Middlesbrough

Welcome to my entire world!! It is hardly news that just about all Lettings Agents have ‘No DSS’ on their advertisements. The other method they stop Housing Benefit receivers from renting are – ‘HB accepted with a guarantor’ (I can’t say for sure anyone who could do this for me) or, the absolute doozie ‘HB regarded as, please ask’ (this means, Casing Benefit considered if you can pay 6 months’ rent up front, plus their particular fee and a deposit – in case you had that much spare, you more than likely be claiming Housing Benefit! ). I have battled to house my family, because, even when I was well enough to work, I actually needed a HB top-up, because I’m a full-time carer for just two of my adult children, I could only work part-time. If I am just honest, I have lied to agencies in the past, just to get a roof more than our heads.

Stephen from Birmingham

I am a wheelchair user plus any property I phone upward and tell then this plus I’m on housing benefits may straight no not even considered. We arranged a viewing at a home in risinghurst, oxford and obtained as far as signing documents. Landlord has been happy to be housing a mom and two children (aswel because the family dog) but as soon as I actually mentioned housing benefits paying a tiny part of the cost, the entire agreement shut down as well as the agent became frustrated that I we hadn’t told her prior to viewing.

Samantha from Oxford

It was embarrassing plus upsetting. We are stuck in a for yourself rented property that is much too little for us because nobody will give all of us the benefit of the doubt. If we are usually asked to vacate this home I have no faith that we can find anywhere else to live. Despite that we now have paid our current landlord each month for 11 years, and that on graduation, I will be earning a more compared to reasonable wage and the benefits will simply be temporary. It’s degrading plus frustrating. The sooner this is (rightly) seen as discrimination, the better.

Robert from London

I was denied even inquiring regarding looking at private flats in London just due to claiming housing benefit. Remarkably, my wage is above the particular national average just over 29, 1000, but in London and having a kid, this still entitled me plus my partner to around £ 440 per month housing benefit. I attempted to explain to the letting agent We are in full time, contracted employment, plus anyone with a child earning under £ 35, 000 per annum will be getting housing benefit of some sort in London plus they said it didn’t matter. That isn’t just blocking women from hiring it’s blocking entire families.

Sheila through Isle of Wight

My daughter was a blame-free renter for 10 years in one property that she was given notice for simply no reason. Despite numerous letters associated with appeal and requests for conciliatory meetings, the landlords did not solution any of her correspondence. She could hardly even get them to give her the written reference. She sought alternative accommodation for herself (a single parent) and her two little ones aged 6 and 3, designed for six months before finding a landlord/ property agent who would take her (on housing benefit) with my husband since guarantor. The whole experience has not just caused her great stress and anxiety and it has led to an exacerbation of the girl chronic depression, but has also impacted her six-year old who has turn out to be angry and withdrawn and afraid they will be evicted again from their brand new home. The stipulation “no HB, Children or Pets” was appended to most of the rental properties available. It reminded me of Greater london in the 50s and 60s. “No blacks or Irish. ”

James from Brighton

I am disabled and am have to be on housing benefits. It really is virtually impossible to find a place that will accepts housing benefits and those that accept it require a guarantor along with unacceptable requirements. I was made destitute and spent time sleeping tough when my landlord of the previous place decided to renovate plus increase rent and price myself out of the place and so he questioned me to leave. I had compensated rent in full for the previous 6 years with him no problem and also have never had a problem. I am today stuck in a council home without chance of ever moving or enhancing the place where I live. The equal rights act should account for disabled individuals on housing benefits being discriminated against. Since I could not go to a allowing agent I tried to rent a spot from a landlord personally advertising plus renting their property, going that path I was also told on a quantity of occasion that their buy-to-let mortgage loans stated they could not let out to the people on housing benefits. This displays the banks are also discriminating towards disabled and people on housing advantage. Is it just because of a few ruined apples spoiling the bunch throughout us? Where and when does this particular discrimination originate from? The 70’s or even 80’s?

The truth letting agents call it DSS can make me think so , it was not called that for decades. What are the figure for rent arrears with people upon housing benefit versus those upon jobs? What about those with disabilities? Along with JSA type benefits allowing casing benefits they can be stopped and lease arrears can accrue if you skip an appointment, a horrible position to have that will held over your head, however , in case disabilities grant housing benefit, your own disability is not going to suddenly disappear as well as your housing benefit with it. It is blatant discrimination against people with disabilities and people on housing benefit, it disgusts me. Renting decisions should be depending on your previous history and if it really is good you should not automatically be omitted or need a guarantor.

Frank from Stratford-Upon-Avon

Housing Benefit is just that will. For Housing. Landlords would take benefit tenants if rent had been paid directly to Landlords with a ensure that it would start at the beginning of the tenancy and be guaranteed to continue. The truth is that once a tenant is is really a property, the assessments can take several weeks. The slightest error by a renter means the application has to start once again, meaning 6-8 weeks delay. The particular Council isn’t concerned as the candidate isn’t homeless. This is the reality, whilst of course a Landlord still needs to pay his mortgage. I just obtain tired of the ill informed feedback by Shelter. How many properties in order to HB tenants do they book? How many properties do they lease to anyone? Millions in revenue. So why don’t they put their earnings to good use, and assist solve the problem. Yes, there are poor Landlords, but the vast majority are good, plus wish for good, long term tenants. Alternatively, there are good HB tenants, yet equally others who are not..

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