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Letting agents are ignoring ‘No DSS’ court case decision at their peril, warns Shelter

Despite warning, Propertymark says failings of the Universal Credit payment system are the root cause of discrimination among landlords and letting agents.

Nigel Lewis

shelter no dss

Housing charity Shelter has accused letting agents and landlords of ignoring its recent landmark ‘No DSS’ court case win.

Just over two weeks ago at York County Court a judge found that the practice of turning away applicants because they are receipt of benefits unfairly discriminated against a single mum-of-two with a disability, on the grounds of sex and disability under the Equality Act.

Following the ruling, Shelter claimed letting agents and landlords now risk prosecution if they do not allow housing benefit claimants to rent their properties.

Shelter’s Chief Executive Polly Neate (left) has now told a national newspaper that tenants on benefits are still contacting its switchboard since the ruling to raise concerns about the ‘No DSS’ issue.

“Hundreds of people have since contacted our services with similar stories and we are still hearing of letting agents and private landlords ignoring the judgment,” she told The Guardian.

“It was an incredibly important step forward, but Shelter has been fighting ‘No DSS’ for nearly two years and will continue to do so until these discriminatory practices are stamped out for good.

“All landlords and letting agents should know that if they keep acting unlawfully, they could face legal action and hefty fines.”

Propertymark recently echoed many landlords’ and letting agents’ complaints that it is the Universal Credit system, and not discrimination, that continues to drive their ‘No DSS’ approach.

“ARLA Propertymark has consistently highlighted the issues faced by both tenants and landlords with Universal Credit being paid in arrears,” it said.

“The design of the system with payments made in arrears makes paying rent on time impossible for many tenants and this presents issues for landlords who are relying on the rent to make mortgage payments.”

August 4, 2020


  1. Biggest HB UC DWP LHA Landlord in Nottingham here.
    I’m not taking Benefit tenants any more.
    Please come ask me why. U skirting round the issue.
    Polly Neates colleague Greg Beales said on public forum a year ago. He was ringing me to discuss. I’m still waiting. Meanwhile 1000’s more Benefit tenants become homeless and can’t get another house.
    It’s so easy the solution. It’s not the tenants, it’s the UC system and Neil Couling and DWP not allowing UC to talk to very important Landlord who is housing these people in a house that may cost £500+ to run every month. Do u think we giving that away to a UC system where people are trained by Imbeciles? And so Anti-Landlord? Gees, we all know the answers, but Shelter and the authorities won’t come ask us why.
    I want to take Benefit tenants, I can’t.

  2. All Landlords and Letting Agents need to do is apply the affordability criteria AND a suitable Guarantor.

    In Shelters own research, the affordability of Housing benefit ) or the U.C element thereof ) eliminated 97% of market rent.

    The York case isn’t going to make a single property more accessible to tenants in receipt of benefit and foolish of those that might have thought it would.

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