The practice of estate agents and landlords stipulating ‘No DSS’ within lettings adverts is to be challenged by the Government, which says it wants to see “immediate change”.
Housing minister Heather Wheeler (pictured, above) is to meet leading industry representatives including mortgage providers, landlord associations, tenant groups, and property websites to clamp down on blanket exclusions in adverts and hopefully stamp out the practice altogether.
The official figures are stark. Half of all private landlords say they won’t rent to ‘DSS’ tenants even though 20 per cent of renters are in receipt of benefits of some kind to help them pay their rent.
“Everyone should have the same opportunity when looking for a home, regardless of whether they are in receipt of benefits,” says Wheeler.
The Residential Landlords Association has welcomed the initiative, but has criticised the two-thirds of buy-to-let lenders who ban landlords from renting to tenants who are in receipt of benefits.
It is also critical of the Government for freezing the Local Housing Allowance, which has helped price millions of tenants out of their local rental markets and widened the affordability gap by up to £100 a month.
“Landlords should not refuse someone solely because they are on benefits, and should consider prospective tenants on a case by case basis,” says John Stewart (left), the RLA’s Policy Manager.
“But with growing numbers of benefit claimants now reliant on the private rented sector we need to do more to give tenants and landlords greater confidence in the benefits system.
The RLA has also called for the system that enables tenants to have the rent portion of their Universal Credit payments paid directly to their landlords to be improved.