The ‘No DSS’ debate is raging hard within the PRS but landlord sentiment is clear on whether they should be prevented from refusing tenants in receipt of Universal Credit, a new poll by LandlordZONE has revealed.
Nearly 80% of those we polled said landlords should not be stopped from refusing those on benefits.
This is despite a strong campaign by Shelter to persuade landlords and lettings agencies that the practice is immoral and, under some circumstances, illegal.
In July the charity won a landmark ruling at York’s County Court that a letting agent unfairly discriminated against a single mum-of-two with a disability, on the grounds of sex and disability under the Equality Act, after telling her it operated a blanket ‘No DSS’ policy. And earlier this month it won a second, similar case in Birmingham.
But our poll shows many landlords are not aligned with the NRLA, which to an extent supported Shelter’s position.
The landlord trade association said after the York case that “no landlord should discriminate against tenants because they are in receipt of benefits.
“Every tenant’s circumstance is different and so they should be treated on a case by case basis based on their ability to sustain a tenancy.”
The many comments on Twitter in response to our poll revealed exasperation among landlords about attempts to stamp out blanket rejection of DSS tenants by agents and landlords.
Victoria Clegg said: “I’d be happy to accept DSS if I knew the rent would be paid. As it stands councils are unwilling to pay the landlord direct. “This leads to non-payment and no rights for the landlord. The answer to the question is a resounding NO!”
John Doyle added: “I have no problem with DSS claimants if they meet the affordability requirements, but at some properties DSS claimants can’t meet these requirements.
“It’s very frustrating when you have to waste time explaining to them how they won’t be able to afford to pay their bills.”