Rightmove has written to its estate agent database to ask them to stop using the term ‘No DSS’ within rental listings, and not to take a blanket approach to tenants who are receipt of benefits.
The portal has also confirmed that agents have until the end of April to take action before it introduces technology that will automatically remove certain terms from listings.
“We will be starting by stripping out terms like ‘No DSS’ and ‘DSS not considered’”, a Rightmove spokesperson told The Negotiator.
“Once we’ve reviewed the new phrases agents use to explain the restrictions, we’ll then be moving on to strip out general terms such as ‘no housing benefits’ that don’t have an explanation with them.”
Rightmove says it has been speaking to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and that previous guidance issued by the watchdog about ‘material information in adverts’ should still be followed for rental listings.
This sets out how agents must communicate ‘all available information’ in an advert to tenants and explain why a property cannot be rented to a tenant in receipt of benefits – for example that a landlord’s mortgage terms and conditions prevent it – and not just says ‘No DSS’.
The portal says discussions are ongoing with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government about whether adverts that exclude those in receipt of benefits are discriminatory, and that it will release an update once these have been concluded.
“We believe all prospective tenants should have equal access to the widest possible selection of properties,” its email to agents said. “In line with the CMA guidance, your advertisements need to be clear and understandable to those people who aren’t going to be able to rent the property.
“You need to make sure that any restrictions you place on properties comply with the law.”
Read more about Rightmove and ‘No DSS’ adverts.