Housing benefit ‘No DSS’ discrimination could be banned

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The National Landlords Association (NLA) and the Residential Landlord’s Association (RLA) along with homeless housing charity Shelter, backed plans by property platform Zoopla back in March to eradicate ‘No DSS’ wording in its rental adverts.

The Housing Minister, Heather Wheeler MP also outlined plans to look at letting adverts which potentially discriminate against would-be tenants on Housing Benefit and made it clear these should end.

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Yet the latest figures show around half of landlords said they would not be willing to let to tenants on Housing Benefit – ruling out thousands of vulnerable people and families.

“I want everyone to have the security, dignity and opportunities they need to build a better life – at the heart of which is ensuring everyone can find a safe and secure home to call their own. This funding will make a huge difference in opening up the private rented sector to people who need it and give them the chance to rebuild their lives. I will also be meeting key stakeholders to tackle the practice of ‘No DSS’, to underline the need for immediate change,” said the Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Heather Wheeler MP.

  • Over £19.5 million to be provided to local authorities to help people access a home in the private rented sector
  • This action will help those that are homeless, or at risk of homelessness find a more permanent home
  • Government also calls for the end of housing advertisements which specify ‘No DSS’ tenants

According to a report on Zoopla, of the 4.5 million in rental accommodation, around 889,000 in England receive housing benefit to help pay their rent. The National Housing Federation and Shelter found that one in 10 agents in England refused to let to DSS tenants. It is not unlawful for landlords to refuse people on benefits, but Shelter had said that it is likely to contravene the Equality Act. 

No DSS Banned

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At the time, Zoopla Managing Director Charlie Bryant said: “We fully support the recommendations of the NLA and the RLA, which oppose blanket bans against tenants in receipt of housing-related benefits, and are pleased to be taking action which clarifies this position.

All tenants who are looking to rent a property deserve the chance to be fully assessed for their suitability and matched to a home that suits both their and the landlord’s circumstances. 

We proactively sought the views of our largest lettings-focused agents to ensure the above measures were undertaken on a collaborative basis and received significant support in respect of our proposed additional measures.”

Rightmove and Nationwide have since followed suit as part of a larger stance to stamp out discrimination and only time will time if the government enforce a no DSS wording ban altogether and how quickly real estate agencies and landlords will adapt.

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Kim is a Content Manager and PR Manager.She writes for the marketing team at constructaquote.com, creating blog posts, guides, and press releases for the company.