‘No DSS’ adverts in the private rented sector

by Property 118

16:06 PM, 4th March 2019
About 3 months ago

‘No DSS’ adverts in the private rented sector

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‘No DSS’ adverts in the private rented sector

Responding to an announcement from the Government that it plans to work with stakeholders to address the issue of ‘No DSS’ adverts in the private rented sector, John Stewart, Policy Manager for the Residential Landlords Association said:

“Landlords should not refuse someone solely because they are on benefits, and should consider prospective tenants on a case by case basis. But with growing numbers of benefit claimants now reliant on the private rented sector we need to do more to give tenants and landlords greater confidence in the benefits system.

“This means giving all tenants the right to choose if they want to have the housing element of Universal Credit paid directly to their landlord, working with bank lenders to remove mortgage terms that prevent landlords renting to benefit claimants and ending the Local Housing Allowance freeze which has meant benefits bear little resemblance to rents.”

RLA research has found that the average amount owed by Universal Credit tenants in rent arrears increased by half from just over £1,600 in 2017 to almost £2,400 in 2018.

Around two thirds of the largest buy-to-let mortgage lenders do not allow landlords to rent property to tenants receiving housing benefit.

However, recently the Natwest Bank has bowed to pressure and lifted its criteria restriction prohibiting DSS tenants to rent.

Research by Manchester Metropolitan University for the RLA has found that 53 per cent of landlords reported that the gap between the Local Housing Allowance and local market rent was more than £50 a month. Almost 25% said the gap was over £100 a month.



Comments

Robert Mellors

22:50 PM, 4th March 2019
About 3 months ago

Universal Credit tenants owe an average of £2400 in rent arrears!!! - and the Universal Credit scheme is not even set up in all areas yet, so the results are still in their infancy! (i.e. most people on Universal Credit have not reached the plateau of their debt (rent arrears), the average is still increasing).
- On this basis it does not matter whether mortgage lenders allow DSS tenants or not, as the private landlords are unlikely to want to let to anyone on Universal Credit anyway.

Larry Sweeney

7:25 AM, 5th March 2019
About 3 months ago

The Landlords alliance is quite clear on this Shelter inspired garbage. Landlords it is your property and decisions on who to accept as tenants should be based on commercial reality. See Robs comments above re arrears with benefit tenants.
Having said that, landlords must avoid using terms such as 'No UC or no DSS tenants. This does not mean we must accept any tenant. Far from it.
The wording the Alliance now recommends is as follows.
Employed tenants welcome.
Let that be the new standard. Every landlord/agent needs to use that term going forward. Let Shelter house Benefit tenants

Old Mrs Landlord

9:24 AM, 5th March 2019
About 3 months ago

This stems from a cynical ploy by Shelter to portray landlords in a bad light and stoke public resentment against us. It will do nothing to help the many benefit recipients whose housing element payments are way below local market rents. Rather it cruelly raises their hopes and costs them money as they vainly respond to advertisements only to be told that they will not pass referencing or qualify for rent guarantee insurance. When we advertise a property with a no HB/UC restriction we spend whole days making appointments to view in response to a stream of telephone and email enquiries, even a few from desperate benefit claimants hoping we will make an exception. I daren't imagine the response if we are not permitted to screen out those who stand no chance from the outset. I might as well glue the phone to my ear and my fingers to the keyboard! Persecuting and vilifying private landlords will not help because the fault lies elsewhere, with the failure to provide sufficient social housing or keep benefits in line with the cost of provision of private services.

Jon Sear

10:12 AM, 5th March 2019
About 3 months ago

We should definitely be looking at this on a case by case basis. Four of my tenants get UC or HB, all of them are up to date with their rent, and on average they stay longer than the non-DSS tenants do.

Simon Williams

10:31 AM, 5th March 2019
About 3 months ago

Each to their own I say. Some LL's business models work for benefit tenants and some do not. I am no way going to be popular with my student tenants if I tell them that their 6th housemate is not a student but instead an unemployed 35 year old on benefits. You have to get the mix right. That's really important for the tenants.
In truth, whatever legislation they throw at us, won't make a lot of difference because ways and means will always be found by landlords and indeed their other tenants to ensure that prospective tenants can be matched to the properties that are most suitable to their circumstances.

As for the RLA, I don't know why they seem to be pushing so much for removal of what they see as barriers. Have their members been particularly clamouring for this? I don't think so. I do sometimes wonder about the RLA's agenda.

Gromit

10:45 AM, 5th March 2019
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Simon Williams at 05/03/2019 - 10:31RLA once again showing that they do not support their membership. From supporting Councils Selective Licensing schemes to the rights of Landlords to decide who they'll rent to.
RLA Members should cancel their membership, and send a clear message to those who purport to represent them. The RLA is not fit for purpose!

David Nic

11:09 AM, 5th March 2019
About 3 months ago

This will have another backlash in a few months.
Benefit applicants complaining of several applications and no offers. They will find it harder to source landlords who are willing to entertain them as the adverts will become unclear and they will feel mislead.
If the govt wish the private sector to solve the housing crisis then make councils guarantor the rent.
If the constant attacks continue on landlords then their will be less rented places available as more landlords leave the market leaving the remaining landlords will more choice of applicants and their suitability.
Applying for a tenancy should remain like applying for a job. Ie. Most suitable not 1st come 1st served.

Old Mrs Landlord

11:17 AM, 5th March 2019
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Jon Sear at 05/03/2019 - 10:12
We used to judge potential tenants on a case by case basis and our one remaining property let to LHA tenants houses a couple who have never been late with their rent in the almost 12 years they have been there. (All others have defaulted and cost us money.) The problem is we have not been able to increase their rent in all that time. I am dreading the rollout of UC to our area.

Kay Densley

11:21 AM, 5th March 2019
About 3 months ago

I don’t see a problem with this.
RLA are calling for Universal Credit to be paid directly to landlords, removing cap on Local Housing Allowance, and getting rid of Mortgage lender discrimination. (I’m surprised that there haven’t been court cases about that as disability discrimination to be honest.)
RLA still advocate a case by case basis for choosing tenants, so if you don’t want Benefit tenants, that’s up to you.

James Nelson

12:33 PM, 5th March 2019
About 3 months ago

What would the RLA guy suggest if a landlord has a mortgage that does not permit tenants on benefits ?

Would he still say that an advertisement shouldn’t preclude an applicant on benefits , even though the landlord is not ultimately allowed to rent to them ? Wouldn’t that just be a waste of people’s time ?

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