Discrimination in the rental sector

Discrimination in the rental sector

8:30 AM, 22nd August 2018, About 3 years ago 78

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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

by user_17131

8:43 AM, 23rd August 2018, About 3 years ago

Obfuscated Data

by CazT

9:32 AM, 23rd August 2018, About 3 years ago

I can’t believe what I’ve just read in the New Statesman!

https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/welfare/2018/08/no-women-no-disabilities-no-dss-grim-renaissance-private-rental

What on earth did they expect?!

by Sue Twyford

10:21 AM, 23rd August 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by CazT at 23/08/2018 - 09:32Agree! More sensationalist headlines and poor journalism. Apart from the shabby headline stating "No women" which is not reflected in the photographed advert nor in the body copy of her article, Anoosh states "Today’s leading cause of homelessness .......is the loss of a private tenancy." Where did she get that from? Clearly not from research. Take a look at the Mortgage and Landlord Possession Stats produced by the Ministry of Justice (see Monty Bodkin's helpful link on page 3 of this thread for the full report) with his extract "At April to June 2018, the majority (59%) (17,268) of all landlord possession claims were social landlord claims, 21% (6,145) were accelerated claims and 20% (6,027) were private landlord." So, majority of possession claims were social and not private!
Mick also makes his case over UK/benefits system. We all have sympathy for those struggling to find a home, so sorting out benefits, and the provision of more social housing rather than bashing PRS would go a long way to solving the problem.

by user_17131

10:29 AM, 23rd August 2018, About 3 years ago

Obfuscated Data

by user_17131

10:39 AM, 23rd August 2018, About 3 years ago

Obfuscated Data

by Ian Narbeth

10:50 AM, 23rd August 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Will stillman at 22/08/2018 - 19:34
That may be so Will but landlords are running a business. With an excess of demand over supply, why should landlords take on the trouble and risk? As Mick has said he has to spend considerably more time dealing with HB tenants than non-HB. Our time is not worth nothing. Shelter acts as if everyone on HB is honest and open. Most people are but for many private landlords it only takes one "wrong'un" and instead of making money or at least breaking even they can find that they lose money on a property. It can take several years to claw their way back. Then there is the risk that the Council reclaims "over-payments" from the landlord because the tenant failed to notify the Council of a change in circumstances. Camden Council's website: http://camden.gov.uk/ccm/content/housing/housing-benefit/info-for-landlords-of-tenants-receiving-housing-benefits.en?page=all tells landlords all they need to know. Gems such as these:
"If overpayments are to be recovered from the landlord they will be notified that a recoverable overpayment has occurred, the period of the overpayment, the total amount of the overpayment and how it was calculated, the reason for the overpayment and their appeal rights.

Claimants may have overpayments recovered from their ongoing entitlement to housing benefit and although the amount received by the landlord may be reduced he/she has no appeal rights on this.

This is considered to be overpayment recovery from the tenant. It is up to the tenant to make up any difference between the amount the landlord receives through housing benefit and his/her rent."
"If your tenant is in receipt of LHA then we can only pay you in exceptional circumstances, for example if:

your tenant is 8 weeks or more in arrears with their rent"

"NB. housing benefit is not normally payable for any period after the tenant has vacated. housing benefit cannot be paid because the tenant has failed to give the landlord notice, has not returned the keys or left some personal belongings in the property."

In other words, if the tenant does not follow the rules the landlord pays for it. Landlords are rational. It is completely rational not to want to let to people on benefits.

by Michael Barnes

11:31 AM, 23rd August 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by CazT at 23/08/2018 - 09:32
The article does go on to blame UC, but that is not in the headline. And there appears to be no way to contact her to get her to do a headlined article on UC causing homelessness.

by user_17009

12:09 PM, 23rd August 2018, About 3 years ago

Obfuscated Data

by Peter G

12:43 PM, 23rd August 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael Barnes at 23/08/2018 - 11:31I have sent my suggestions to the address the New Statesman provide. Feel free to add your own comments....
comments@newstatesman.co.uk

by Rob Crawford

13:38 PM, 23rd August 2018, About 3 years ago

It would appear that we should not use discretion and experience on the initial communication with candidate tenants when determining their suitability. The "no DSS" statement often seen at the bottom of an advert is not really necessary and when used could I guess be assumed as discriminatory. So maybe a change in procedure will address the accusation of discrimination. Don't use terms such as "no DSS", however, before formal referencing, all candidates are required to complete a form by answering a set of self-declaration questions (income, CCJ's, employer etc). Answers will give the agent/landlord a good understanding as to whether the candidate will get through costly formal referencing funded by the agent/landlord (after fees ban). If the response is not up to standard, the candidate is declined. Assuming records are kept, I fail to see how any judge would conclude discrimination when presented with the evidence that all were treated the same and during the selection process a low risk tenant had been found. I am pretty sure that most agents have this process in place but they tend to use experience rather than asking the questions and keeping records. Indeed why should an experienced agent/landlord need to go through this timely process when they know the candidate will fail based on the fact that they are on benefits? It's to prove non-discrimination! On another note, benefits are unlikely to increase and the problem of finding homes for the less privileged(?) won't disappear. I am waiting for some smart arse politician to propose a bill mandating that 20% of a landlord's portfolio (over a certain size) must be occupied by benefits tenants (similar to new build homes). I really hope not but I can see it coming!


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