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Benefits claimants face landlord discrimination despite ruling


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From the Beeb:

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Thousands of landlords are trying to avoid renting their properties to benefit claimants, despite a judge ruling a blanket ban was unlawful.

About 75% of listings on the website OpenRent said the landlords would not accept people on benefits.

It comes after the ruling a single mother-of-two had experienced indirect discrimination when a letting agent refused to rent to her.

OpenRent said it advised landlords to assess tenants "on their own merits".

At the court hearing in July, the judge ruled "No DSS" rental bans were against equality laws.

The mother had ended up homeless with her two children, when her case was taken on by housing charity Shelter.

DSS is the initialism for the Department of Social Security, which was replaced in 2001 by the Department for Work and Pensions. It has become a shorthand on property websites for people claiming benefits.

The BBC analysed more than 9,000 listings on OpenRent.

Polly Neate, chief executive of housing charity Shelter, said: "Last month's ruling should be a wake-up call for landlords and letting agents to clean up their act and treat all renters equally.

"We won't stop fighting DSS discrimination until it's banished for good.

"OpenRent should ban landlords from advertising their properties as 'DSS not accepted' - and remind them of their legal duty not to discriminate."

A spokesperson for the Equality and Human Right Commission (EHRC), said: "These figures show that there is still some way to go before we can truly end the discrimination against women and disabled people who claim benefits.

"If landlords and estate agents don't change their policies and practices, they will be at risk of claims of discrimination from would-be tenants."

'I was told I had to be employed'

Daniel Twycross, 45, suffers from anxiety and depression and has been on benefits for most of his life.

He lives in a council flat in Huddersfield but for the past six weeks has been trying to rent somewhere in Sowerby Bridge to be closer to a friend for support.

Of the 30 online ads he has looked at, he had not seen any "no DSS" stipulations.

Twice after following up with the agent, however, he was told by email tenants had to be in employment and for one property that must be full-time.

"All these are affordable so it's not as if these are unrealistic," he said.

He said the "no DSS" ruling did not give him much confidence with challenging discriminatory landlords

"The disability discrimination law is already there anyway. That's really quite overt," he said.

 

More:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-53821317

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Ah yes, laws n lawyers will fix everything.....

OpenRent said it advised landlords to assess tenants "on their own merits".

At the court hearing in July, the judge ruled "No DSS" rental bans were against equality laws.

All the law says is that the cannot put No DSS.

A simple requirement saying - 'work references required' will achieve the same.

 

 

 

 

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On 29/08/2020 at 11:26, spyguy said:

Ah yes, laws n lawyers will fix everything.....

OpenRent said it advised landlords to assess tenants "on their own merits".

At the court hearing in July, the judge ruled "No DSS" rental bans were against equality laws.

All the law says is that the cannot put No DSS.

A simple requirement saying - 'work references required' will achieve the same.

 

 

 

 

Quite a lot of people on benefits are in work. I forget what the figure was, I think it relates mainly to the number of people on housing benefit (now Universal Credit), it was around half I think.

"Twice after following up with the agent, however, he was told by email tenants had to be in employment and for one property that must be full-time."

An open and shut case. Question is how many tenants will follow such emails up with legal action, quite a lot more post covid19 I expect.

Edited by spacedin
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10 minutes ago, spacedin said:

Quite a lot of people on benefits are in work. I forget what the figure was, I think it relates mainly to the number of people on housing benefit (now Universal Credit), it was around half I think.

"Twice after following up with the agent, however, he was told by email tenants had to be in employment and for one property that must be full-time."

An open and shut case. Question is how many tenants will follow such emails up with legal action, quite a lot more post covid19 I expect.

Well, yes, TC n UC blurred benefits and work.

However No DSS means noone not working.

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On 29/08/2020 at 16:51, JB1973 said:

And can anybody think why a landlord with a choice might not choose a DSS tenant?  

The assumption is increased wear and tear, because a working couple will, most of the time, be out of the house, and children will be on childcare / after school activities.

I don't know how true that is, especially now that most people are working from home.

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Classic case of judges introducing new laws on a very slow basis.  (Although it may have some effect in the long run)

In practice you can't force a landlord to rent a property to DSS (or anyone else for that matter). 

The only effect of this ruling will be that such statements are removed from advertising and everyone will carry on discrimination as before. 

The effect of such rulings  is that in 20 years it may become seen as unacceptable to say whatever it is and in 40  unacceptable to think it. So it's very slow as a method. 

A more likely pathway however is that over the next 20 years benefits as we knew them will end. ( and supply and demand will broaden landlords'minds only when they can't get a perfect tenant. )

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On 29/08/2020 at 11:26, spyguy said:

Ah yes, laws n lawyers will fix everything.....

OpenRent said it advised landlords to assess tenants "on their own merits".

At the court hearing in July, the judge ruled "No DSS" rental bans were against equality laws.

All the law says is that the cannot put No DSS.

A simple requirement saying - 'work references required' will achieve the same.

 

 

 

 

Its misleading advertising for a start.

Should be no DWP - there hasn’t been a DSS for nearly 20 years!

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On 29/08/2020 at 16:51, JB1973 said:

And can anybody think why a landlord with a choice might not choose a DSS tenant?  

In the North youd have to be a brave (or stupid) LL to take on a tenant who's been kicked out of social housing.

 

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