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MPs turn up heat on letting agents over ‘No DSS’ adverts

Parliamentary investigation is to hear from senior executives at LSL and Hunters next week.

Nigel Lewis

Estate agency group LSL and Hunters are to send senior executives to give evidence at a parliamentary investigation into the growing scandal of agents and landlords who stipulate ‘No DSS’ within online adverts.

Following last week’s announcement by housing minister Heather Wheeler that her department is to investigate the practice, the Department of Work and Pensions’ Select Committee has also convened a day of evidence gathering on 20th March to quiz experts.

One of these is to be Helen Martin, (left) Risk and Governance Director at LSL. She was promoted to the position in May 2018, a few months before Your Move branches were found by undercover investigators from Shelter and the National Housing Federation declining to let properties to tenants on benefits.

Glynis Frew of Hunters, the CEO of another agent named by the research, is also to give evidence. Other letting agents who were caught up in the undercover sting but who are not attending include Ludlow Thompson, Haart, Bridgfords, Dexters and Fox & Sons.

Helen Martin’s evidence giving at the Commons’ Select Committee should therefore make interesting reading, particularly because at the time the company said it did accept DSS applicants for properties but that “it’s ultimately the landlord’s decision whether to let to those receiving benefits”.

Other witnesses due to speak at the hearings include Greg Beales from Shelter, Paul Wooton from lender the Nationwide and Lloyd Cochrane from National Westminster Bank.

Recent research among property portals found that approximately a fifth of all online lettings adverts featured the phrase ‘No DSS’ in their property description text.

Read more about ‘No DSS’ adverts.

March 13, 2019

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