Discrimination against high risk tenants

by Readers Question

8:45 AM, 5th March 2019
About 3 weeks ago

Discrimination against high risk tenants

Make Text Bigger
Discrimination against high risk tenants

There has been much talk in recent media about landlords and letting agents discriminating against tenants who claim benefits for housing.

I don’t think that is the case at all, these landlords and their agents are simply refusing to hand they keys of their valuable assets to people who present a high risk. Would you give the keys to your car to a 17 year old driver if he was awaiting trial for stealing and writing off cars? Of course you wouldn’t, because you know your insurers would not take that risk so why should you?!

The same goes for people who cannot afford to pay rent, or at least do not pass referencing checks to a sufficient level for a rent Guarantee Insurance company to be prepared to underwrite the risk of non-payment of rent.

I don’t see how refusing to rent property to anybody who fails to meet the referencing standards of a Rent Guarantee Insurance company could be called discrimination. That would be like saying that landlords also discriminate against people with a string of credit defaults, bankruptcy, criminal records. If that’s discrimination, why is it that finance providers and insurance companies are allowed to discriminate based on credit profile and/or other associated risks? Logic says that we should operate on a level playing field, and so if renting to a person who is clearly a risk was to become law, then I do not see how that would be any different to compelling finance providers  to lend money to any person who wanted to buy any home or car of their choice and also compelling insurance companies underwrite those risks, even if the applicant was an unemployed bankrupt arsonist who has just been released from prison.

Am I missing the point?



Comments

Neil Patterson

9:18 AM, 5th March 2019
About 3 weeks ago

I think you might be slightly confusing the point by equating a whole section of society with individuals with specific issues such as a bankruptcy or a criminal record.

My interpretation of your point is that you should be able to choose who uses your high value asset based on a criteria such as passing a rent guarantee insurance application. I think others could more easily understand that more specific point than what they perceive as discrimination against DSS.

The no DSS tenants for lenders blanket rule makes less sense to me as any tenant is one job loss away from the landlord breaking criteria.

My additional question to your question would be is it possible for any tenant applicant to pass the checks for Rent Guarantee?

Old Mrs Landlord

9:32 AM, 5th March 2019
About 3 weeks ago

See my comment posted on the 'No DSS adverts' thread simultaneously with this new thread being started and making similar points.

Seething Landlord

11:37 AM, 5th March 2019
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Neil Patterson at 05/03/2019 - 09:18
"The no DSS tenants for lenders blanket rule makes less sense to me as any tenant is one job loss away from the landlord breaking criteria"
This argument, whilst factually correct, misses the point that when assessing any risk the starting point is the current situation and future possibilities are then factored in to the equation. Possible job loss is one of the factors and can be assessed by reference to the type of employment, time in the job, employer's reference etc. In the case of benefit recipients one of the major risks for the landlord has already materialised and this is enough for many to reject such applicants.

Luke P

12:09 PM, 5th March 2019
About 3 weeks ago

If the mortgage stipulates no DSS, then it is no DSS (including in the advert). No more. No less.

ahloughlin@gmail.com

17:00 PM, 5th March 2019
About 3 weeks ago

It is not real discrimination at all. This is just shelters perverse version to make a political point. They should not get charitable status as they are just a political pressure group who use generation rent to make their twisted point. Oh and draw big fat salaries for doing so. More fool the daft people who donate to them.

Old Mrs Landlord

8:39 AM, 6th March 2019
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by at 05/03/2019 - 17:00Of course it is discrimination in the true meaning of the verb, which is to differentiate - a necessary thing for landlords to do when choosing between prospective tenants in order to minimise risk. Shelter, however, are using it to imply prejudice or victimization when in fact it is simply taking a rational business decision.

david Brinsden

15:39 PM, 6th March 2019
About 3 weeks ago

I have been renting to high risk dss clients for a number of years & due to the number of them who have left owing rent due to them being sanctioned or just trashed the place, I now only rent to a tenant who is being supported by a housing charity, this seems to work well as they can pick & choose who will appreciate being housed in a nice flat. I still have 4 tenants who have been as good as gold apart from the odd hiccup with their payments being stopped by the dss usually through no fault by them.

Rob Crawford

8:26 AM, 7th March 2019
About 3 weeks ago

With the impending tenant fees ban high risk tenants need to be filtered out before the referencing stage. A detailed candidate application form should be used, essentially similar questions that will be asked during the formal ref/credit check process. The form should include a statement, a warning that fraud may lead to prosecution. A candidate tenant can quickly be assessed prior to any expenditure and further time wasting. Adverts should advise that the successful candidate will have to pass extensive referencing and credit checks.

dismayed landlord

9:46 AM, 7th March 2019
About 3 weeks ago

I now add to my list of 'not prepared to accept' companies/agencies who wish to pay me an over the odds amount to let to DSS/etc on a short term temporary basis with the promise that they will monitor their 'clients' and return the property in the condition it was taken over by them. As a means to taking on DSS tenants but in the hope that the property will be managed effectively and with a guarantee of the rent being paid. The temporary client term on one of mine was over 4 years!. 2 bedroom terrace with two adults and 3 kids in occupation. The property was returned un lettable - even after 4 months work being undertaken by them. They charged the council (I was informed) £85 per night. Paid me at the end of the contract £900 per month. Yet its private landlords who are according to the media ripping of tenants. No its not it is companies like these. Compaies who the government wants to control the majority of the country's private rented stock. Then the councils wonder why their housing costs are high. I will not rent to DSS initially - some of my tenants become DSS - I'll live with that. I mistakenly thought that by building in a middle managing agent I could guarantee both a good market rent and get the property back in good condition. A huge mistake. Do not touch these schemes under any circumstances. Mine are in Dartford and Gravesham areas but the company lets are also from London Boroughs. Please be aware.

Robert M

23:53 PM, 10th March 2019
About 2 weeks ago

Don't discriminate. Just require any tenant to provide details of a potential guarantor. Dealing with singles or unmarried couples with no children, I have to say that in my (limited) experience I have no problem with anyone using benefits to top up low income. I have had problems with those who simply seem to believe that work is an option best avoided.

1 2

Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

OR

BECOME A MEMBER

If someone said by this time next year they could make you a property millionaire, would you be interested?

The Landlords Union

Become a Member, it's FREE

Our mission is to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords, tenants and letting agents

Learn More