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Code of conduct needed for letting agents and landlords to stop DSS discrimination, says CEO

Glynis Frew was one of several senior lettings industry figures asked yesterday by MPs how to stop landlords discriminating against tenants in receipt of benefits.

Nigel Lewis

A senior member of the lettings industry has recommended that ‘No DSS’ discrimination within the sector should be tackled with a new code of practice covering both letting agents and landlords.

The comment was made by Glynis Frew, CEO of Hunters, who was joined by Adam Hyslop, founder of OpenRent and Helen Buck, Executive Director of Your Move in parliament yesterday to give evidence.

Two other key recommendations given during their hour-long evidence session to the Work and ensions Committee included improving the benefits payment system to make it more reliable, and more direct connections between benefit payment offices and letting agents.

All three urged the government not to ban ‘No DSS’ and other adverts because it would ‘force the issue underground’ and not solve the underlying issues.

Moral reason

“Whether it’s a mortgage lender, insurer, landlord or a letting agent, if they are seeing benefits income as equivalent to earned income then there is no rational or moral reason to discriminate between then,” said Hyslop.

Frew underlined how the benefit payment system’s failings mean many landlords are afraid to take on tenants in receipt of benefits because they know many eventually get into arrears of, on average £2,500.

During the hearing Buck got into hot water with committee member and MP Chris Stephens. She had claimed Your Move no longer allowed ‘No DSS’ type adverts but the MP then read out three he had found online a few weeks ago.

Earlier, the committee which his chaired by Frank Field heard evidence from representatives from lenders the Nationwide, NatWest and The Co-op, who said they were working to remove the clauses within their mortgage agreements that prevent landlords renting their properties to people in receipt of benefits.

April 25, 2019

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