Landlords warned not to discriminate against benefits tenants

by Property 118

8:58 AM, 14th July 2020
About a month ago

Landlords warned not to discriminate against benefits tenants

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Landlords warned not to discriminate against benefits tenants

The NRLA warns landlords should not have blanket policies that discriminate against those in receipt of benefits. Responding to a court case in York which has ruled that it is unlawful for landlords to discriminate in this way, Chris Norris, Policy Director for the National Residential Landlords Association, said:

“No landlord should discriminate against tenants, because they are in receipt of benefits. Every tenant’s circumstance is different and so they should be treated on a case by case basis based on their ability to sustain a tenancy.”

“More broadly, the Government can also support this work by ensuring benefits cover rents entirely. It should also convert the loans to cover the five week wait for the first payment of Universal Credit into grants.”

The ruling was a test case for Shelter’s No DSS campaign to end benefits based discrimination within the PRS.

District Judge, Victoria Elizabeth Mark, said: “Rejecting tenancy applications because the applicant is in receipt of housing benefit was unlawfully indirectly discriminatory on the grounds of sex and disability, contrary to the Equality Act 2010.”

The solicitor for Shelter who led the case, Rose Arnall, said:“This is the first time a court has fully considered a case like this. It finally clarifies that discriminating against people in need of housing benefit is not just morally wrong, it is against the law.”



Comments

Paul Shears

9:46 AM, 14th July 2020
About a month ago

So reject them on a case by case basis! This is idiotic!

Dr Rosalind Beck

9:46 AM, 14th July 2020
About a month ago

But I understand it does not create legal precedent. Is that right?

Denise G

9:52 AM, 14th July 2020
About a month ago

As an aside - it's been our experience that anything other than tenants 'in full time work' increases insurance premiums substantially.
When we were asked to house a tenant a local housing authority were desperate to find accommodation for, they agreed to pick up the additional premium with her rent.

Elisabeth Beckett

10:01 AM, 14th July 2020
About a month ago

How can this be ‘indirectly discriminatory on the grounds of sex and disability, contrary to the Equality Act 2010? A landlord surely has to believe that a potential tenant is checked for affordability and those on benefits are less likely to be able to pay the rents we have to ask (to cover all the new tax liabilities, increasing council taxes and licensing etc.) As an experienced landlord we have probably all come into contact with benefits not being paid due to the large number of circumstances i.e. meeting is not attended, paperwork not done, changes of circumstances, which means the landlords are left without rent for periods of time and the councils also seem to support and encourage benefit tenants, who are not paying, to stay in properties until court proceedings have taken place. It is a fact that most employed tenants would do anything not to have a CCJ against them whereas the average benefits tenant that I have experienced in the past couldn’t care less as they know you may be allocated £1 a week (if anything) towards any debt. Many insurance companies are also not allowing landlords to have those on benefits in their properties - they will have obviously done a risk assessment as to their claims history to determine this.
A landlord would not be a ‘responsible landlord’ if they didn’t assess any risk factor when it came to taking on new tenants.

AMAZONIA STARBUCK

10:12 AM, 14th July 2020
About a month ago

Or, call me crazy,but the government could create a policy of having the rent paid directly to the landlord and have the actual cost of the rent match the payment.
I remember years ago when UC was being talked about speaking to a social worker from Glasgow who was horrified at the prospect of UC.
He said the one thing the social work didn't need to worry about currently was the roof over people's heads,the thought of handing a chunk of cash to a lot of his clients and expecting them to pay the rent was causing him sleepless nights.
Well we all know how that ended.

Alfington

10:13 AM, 14th July 2020
About a month ago

You have to be very careful when you consider UC tenants as the State UC benefit system discriminates against private Landlords. The social sector gets to talk to UC staff. Private Landlords do not. You have no methodology to talk to any staff at UC or get helpful information. Rent can be sent to the tenant, as has happened to me. UC take no responsibility. They will not talk to you. They are unhelpful to private landlords as you are not their client, although their friends the Social Sector landlords are.When I can talk to UC and get a helpful supportive attitude and some control over the rent I will consider UC tenants positively. Until this anti private landlord discrimination is removed UC tenants are a big risk.

Dr Rosalind Beck

10:15 AM, 14th July 2020
About a month ago

This judgement will not affect the fact that most homes in the private sector are not affordable for tenants on benefits and therefore will not be rented to them. I outlined many of the arguments in my article below. Greg Beales at Shelter could not combat these arguments as they are fact rather than wishful thinking and virtue signalling.

https://www.property118.com/landlords-right-refuse-dss-tenants/

Elisabeth Beckett

10:18 AM, 14th July 2020
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Denise G at 14/07/2020 - 09:52
I offered one of my properties to the council to house the homeless during Covid but the insurance company wanted to increase the excess during their stay and the council wouldn’t make that undertaking!!! The council were happy for me to take the responsibility but wouldn’t do it themselves.

Mike T

10:22 AM, 14th July 2020
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Elisabeth Beckett at 14/07/2020 - 10:01
Couldn't agree more Elisabeth. A lot of 'average benefit tenants' collect CCJ's and are proud & boastful of this fact. The court system favors these people . I was able to get CCJ on a guarantor who didn't pay a penny. Eventually, after 2 years of pestering the court, I got an attachment to earnings order. A few payments trickled through until the debtor realised if she changed the way she was paid she fell below the earnings level set where payment can be deducted. Consequently some months I might be lucky and get that £1.00 rather than the £50.00 agreed and ordered . Of course I would not object to a 'benefit claimant' seeking to rent a property BUT I reserve the right to choose who lives in my property.

Gromit

10:28 AM, 14th July 2020
About a month ago

Completely hollow victory for Shelter, but increases their street Cred.

So prospective tenants now have to provide proof of income of 4x rent, employer reference, previous 3 landlord references, no CCJs, UK homeowner guarantor, 3 months rent in savings, etc.

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