WHY DO LANDLORDS REFUSE TENANTS THAT CLAIM HOUSING BENEFIT?
Housing charity, Shelter has a guide on persuading landlords to rent to tenants. It says local councils may keep lists of private landlords who accept tenants on housing benefit.
Rental listings on websites such as Rightmove often post “No DSS” which means that landlords or agents will not rent a property to someone on housing benefit or local housing allowance. However, websites such as SpareRoom and Dssmove allow for a selection of a “DSS OK” filter.
The Guardian reported what housing charity, Shelter said in a blog:
“Rising rents and shrinking wages mean that being in work is no longer a guarantee you won’t need help with housing costs.
“But if you do receive this help, it’s guaranteed that you will be openly discriminated against.”
Members of a Hackney-based private renter information and campaign group, Digs carried out a mystery shopper survey of 50 local estate agents to see the number with properties that would accept tenants claiming housing benefit and there was just one studio flat.
The House of Commons Library recently said such restrictions were:
“Unlikely to amount to direct discrimination, as income and employment status are not protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010”.
It also said:
If housing benefit claimants are (for example) predominantly female or from an ethnic minority group, a refusal to let to claimants might amount to indirect discrimination … However, indirect discrimination can be lawful if it can be reasonably justified.”
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