An estate agency in Oxford is the latest to be targeted by a campaigning group over its ‘No DSS’ rejection of a tenant in receipt of Universal Credit.
Members of the ACORN tenant action group have been demonstrating outside North Oxford Property Services, accusing it of discrimination against the prospective tenants involved.
ACORN has shows a local newspaper details of an email sent from the agency to the tenants thanking them for their enquiry but revealing that the landlords “does not have insurance to cover tenants in receipt of Universal Credit”.
This followed the their request to view a property in the city, during which they revealed that that they were in part-time employment but also in receipt of Universal Credit.
Jericho-based North Oxford Property Services, which has been targeted by ACORN previously, told the Oxford Mail that it “quite welcoming as long ass the prospective tenant can fulfil all other references and checks which any non-DSS tenant would, most notably a landlord reference”.
Both ACORN and the city council say the agency’s rejection of the tenant is unlawful, but this is misleading.
Shelter has won several key court cases after taking letting agencies to court under the Equality Act 2010 for discriminating against single mothers and those with disabilities.
Bu there is no legislation that specifically outlaws ‘No DSS’ policies operated by landlords or letting agents, and most of the cases involved have been settled out of court.
This is the second time this year that ACORN have taken on the agency, having recently campaigned for the agency and one of its landlords to return deposit and rent for an uninhabitable student property in the city.