An online petition urging Rightmove to follow Zoopla’s example and ban ‘No DSS’ adverts within the portal’s listings has been signed by nearly 40,000 people.
Campaigning website 38 Degrees started the petition several days ago, calling for Rightmove to “clamp down” on the practice by preventing “landlords and letting agents who discriminate against people on housing benefit to advertise their properties on the site”.
The issue of ‘No DSS’ rental adverts has risen up the political agenda since a campaign was started in May last year by Shelter to highlight the issue, including research among Zoopla’s listings that revealed how 10% of its lettings adverts featured the text ‘No DSS’.
The portal subsequently announced that it had the support of the UK’s larger lettings agencies to ban all adverts on its site featuring ‘No DSS’ or similar discriminatory text, but neither OnTheMarket or Rightmove have so far followed suit.
Rightmove told The Negotiator that it: “Believes that the suitability of a tenant should not be judged by how rent is paid, and that all renters should have access to the widest selection of rental homes.
“That’s why we provided guidance last year that letting agents should not impose blanket bans on tenants on benefits, in line with guidance from the Residential Landlords’ Association.
“We wish there was a simple fix, but we know that currently there are restrictions placed on some landlords which means they are unable to let their property to someone receiving benefit, and where this is the case, the Competition & Markets Authority state that they should include this as information in their advertising.
“We’ve been speaking with the government to get clearer guidance on this and as soon as any new guidance is issued, we will update all of our letting agent customers.”