Discrimination in the rental sector

by Property 118

8:30 AM, 22nd August 2018
About 3 months ago

Discrimination in the rental sector

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Discrimination in the rental sector

David Cox, Chief Executive, ARLA Propertymark comments on the story from Shelter and National Housing Federation about discrimination in the rental sector:

“This is a systemic problem with how housing benefit works. Rents are paid in advance, whereas housing benefit is paid in arrears, and therefore with such a shortage of rental accommodation, landlords and agents will naturally choose a tenant who can pay the rent when it is due, rather than a tenant who is always a month in arrears.

“We have called on Government time and time again to resolve this problem. But our calls have fallen on deaf ears. To make the situation worse, many lenders also have a clause in their buy-to-let mortgage agreements which prevent landlords from letting to housing benefit tenants. This situation does not exist because of landlords or letting agents, it is a systemic problem caused by Government and the banks.”

Click Here to view the campaign by the National Housing Federation and Shelter:

“People receiving benefits are often locked out of the private rented sector and openly discriminated against by private landlords and estate agent adverts, who specify ‘no DSS’ or ‘no housing benefit’.

We’re partnering with Shelter on a new campaign, making the case that private landlords and letting agents shouldn’t be allowed to do this.”

“Many housing associations were set up in the 1950s and 1960s to house people who could find nowhere else to live due to racism from private landlords and letting agents who told them no Irish, no blacks, no dogs. Fast-forward to 2018 and we still have outright bans, this time because people depend on Housing Benefit. We believe this is not right and must stop.

So together, with Shelter, we’re calling for landlords and letting agents to see sense and assess people on a case by case basis, not through policy bans, and for the Government to urgently invest in the building of new affordable housing.”



Comments

Rob Crawford

8:44 AM, 22nd August 2018
About 3 months ago

The letting agent has a duty to present the best low risk candidate tenants to his landlord client. As such the employed professional or student will always win over a benefits tenant. Benefits candidates are also often unable to provide a reliable guarantor (uk citizen & home owner).

Roger P

8:47 AM, 22nd August 2018
About 3 months ago

So, more stir it up against Landlords rhetoric from Shelter & Co, however as they provide not a jot of investment in the economy save a few self serving jobs perhaps the campaign and petition should be "Close Shelter - Support Landlords"

ahloughlin@gmail.com

8:52 AM, 22nd August 2018
About 3 months ago

They are confusing economics with discrimination. My experience with HB means no-one on benefits gets in to any of my properties. No ranting by Shelter will change that. If legislation forces me down that road I will simply sell up.

Whiteskifreak Surrey

9:05 AM, 22nd August 2018
About 3 months ago

I sent a FB message to Shelter in this debate and got a following reply:
==quote==Hello Antonina,

Thanks for getting in touch about our campaign to end DSS discrimination.

We know there are still some buy-to-let mortgage lenders who have policies that don’t allow landlords to rent to people on housing benefit. However, recent discussions with the representatives from the mortgage industry have suggested the majority of the buy-to-let market do now allow landlords to let to tenants in receipt of benefits – with some suggesting that up to 85% of the market, by market share, allow it.

Many large lenders, including Nationwide & BM Solutions have recognised that these policies are unfair and have made changes. We’re calling on any lender who still has this policy to remove it, but in the meantime, we’d encourage landlords to shop around to choose a lender who doesn’t unfairly restrict who they can let to.

As for your question on Section 24, we did support the introduction of the tax changes on the basis that they might help dampen the risk of a bubble building up in buy-to-let - and because if the government chooses, the money could be used to undo the damaging freeze on Local Housing Allowance rates.

However, we do think the government must look closely at any unintended consequences of the policy for the tenants of the minority of landlords with marginal business models.

You can read more on our thoughts on Section 24 here: http://shltr.org.uk/e5n

Many thanks,
Sam @ Shelter
==unquote==
There is quite a discussion on their FB page, with quite a lot of tenants thinking that they should be exempted from paying rent as they are benefits' tenants... You could not just make it up.

dismayed landlord

9:07 AM, 22nd August 2018
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by at 22/08/2018 - 08:52
I am totally with you on this. Recently I eventually (4 months) gained a possession order in 14 days. Initially Gravesham were telling me they could only pay the tenants arrears if I was prepared to grant a new tenancy of 6 months. I called this blackmail. The first court order was for current rent plus £10 per week. The tenant only paid the £10 per week ignoring the current rent difference. On hearing of the eviction Gravesham council immediately stopped HB payments. even a council will not pay rent the that is due. So why should tenants. To make matters worse of course the tenant will no doubt sit there until the bailiffs go in.

Siobhan Southern

9:23 AM, 22nd August 2018
About 3 months ago

Why don't Shelter invest in property and provide accommodation for poor DSS tenants. See how long that'll last.

Tobias Nightingale

10:04 AM, 22nd August 2018
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Siobhan Southern at 22/08/2018 - 09:23
Further to this Siobhan - With there annual budget of £50 million they could house quite a number if housing each homeless cost £100k (doubtful) it would house 500 people.

Ian Narbeth

10:11 AM, 22nd August 2018
About 3 months ago

Dear Shelter
If you think it is unfair discrimination for landlords to refuse to rent to impecunious people who want to pay rent in arrears (if they haven't spent it on other things first), there is a straightforward solution. Lobby for the Government to offer HB tenants interest-free loans equivalent to one month's rent (two months' if the tenants can't afford their deposit) so they can pay their landlords upfront. I am sure the Government will view this as sound economics and a totally zero-risk, copper-bottomed, gold-plated investment. You must agree that it would be unjustly discriminating against HB tenants if the Government refused them this. Alternatively, you could invite the banks to invest in this scheme, or maybe use your own funds. Just a thought.

Peter G

10:16 AM, 22nd August 2018
About 3 months ago

I will wait for the mortgage lender to write to me and change their mortgage terms to allow HB tenants. Without this my hands are tied, no matter how much Shelter would like it to be different.
Also, what bright spark thought it would be a great idea to pay the rent to the benefits recipient instead of the landlord? This seems to have caused far more evictions than there were before.

Trevor Cooper

10:32 AM, 22nd August 2018
About 3 months ago

I agree there is discrimination within the rental sector.

Its the only business I am aware of that cannot deduct significant operating costs from taxable income.

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