Landlords warned not to discriminate against benefits tenants

by Property 118

8:58 AM, 14th July 2020
About 3 months 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.”


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Comments

Paul Cummings

22:52 PM, 14th July 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Dylan Morris at 14/07/2020 - 16:10
You can refuse to rent your property to anybody you like and don’t have to give anyone any reason.

Just so happens you had lots of good applicants but your preferred tenant is working.

Another scandalous waste of donations meant to Shelter the homeless. It has achieved nothing. Just like they’ve achieved nothing in sheltering homeless.

Mick Roberts

5:32 AM, 15th July 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Alfington at 14/07/2020 - 10:13
Brilliant answer. So so correct

Mick Roberts

5:37 AM, 15th July 2020
About 3 months ago

My calls are increasing from tenants wanting houses.
Message I'm getting is virtually no Private Landlords, they all leaving em with letting agents
Private Landlords are saying No UC.
And Letting agents cause not allowed to say refusing HB UC, just saying We'll get back to u. So tenants time being wasted cause Govt banning UC refusal where before they at least knew why not.

And I'm still waiting for Shelter to contact me for the below.

I want to take HB LHA Universal Credit UC tenants. But I can't. As I asked my Mortgage Lender 'Do u know if this UC tenant don't pay me for 2 months I report arrears & UC don't reply, then I complain, & have to take the complaint to the Regulator ICE, who then take another 18 months to look at the complaint, can u wait for 2 years without me paying you any mortgage money?' And the Mortgage Lender replied Get real Mick, We'd have repossessed long before then.
I said Oh dear, I don't what to do then as this is real life situations I am having RIGHT NOW with my HB tenants that have been switched onto UC.

Jonathan Clarke

3:19 AM, 17th July 2020
About 2 months ago

I`ve taken on 100`s of HB tenants over the last 20 years but I could have rejected each and every one I`ve taken on for a dozen reasons other than just the fact they on HB. So the ruling is just window dressing and will make zero difference to me or letting agents. It just moves the rejection of HB tenants ( for those that want to ) from the shop window to the first phone call .
It is the Government which in facts discriminates against HB tenants . They should be the target for Shelter. But Shelter are blind to that . It is the Government that produced a cruel dysfunctional UC system and froze the LHA rates for 4 years. This in turn drove once HB friendly landlords away. It did nothing to encourage new HB landlords. They have made that blatantly clear they dont want me in their plans . And that is no accident it is by design.
I have massively reduced my exposure to HB over the last 4 years because of the government , local councils and DWP complete ineptitude . I was about 80% HB and now about 20% .
But the government's behaviour is more than ineptitude. Its more verging on a criminal act , Because any reasonable person can see why giving £650 rent to my recovering alcoholic tenant is dangerous. But that is what they did. They make no enquiries of me before they did that. They did it all behind my back. It was direct to me on LHA but then went over to UC. So my tenant of 2 years who wanted the UC payment to go to me was refused that opportunity . She ended up having her stomach pumped .
One day it may change when some well meaning law firm gets their act together and takes the Government to court in a class action - but at the moment the discrimination against HB tenants is endemic in our government and in our institutions. They set the vulnerable up to fail . I see it time and time again .

Chris @ Possession Friend

8:21 AM, 17th July 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Jonathan Clarke at 17/07/2020 - 03:19
Whilst Shelter will meekly point out Govt funding of housing benefit levels, they will never do anything meaningful against them.
Shelter won't bite the hand that feeds them, - with a third of their annual budget ( £20 Million ) to provide ' advice ' to recalcitrant tenants.

Jonathan Clarke

8:55 AM, 17th July 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Possession Friend at 17/07/2020 - 08:21
Very true.
Shelter top brass are too set in their ways to change.
Their default mode is confrontational
I guess I am waiting for another charity to rise from the ashes who actually cares about putting a roof over the homeless and are willing to assist fund that.
I`ve done some business with SMART recently
https://smartcjs.org.uk/
SMART I found are far more user friendly and actually put funds they raise into housing the homeless. They provided recently a support worker and one months rent in advance and a deposit for a homeless man in their charge which enabled him to rent a flat off me only last week.
The joy on his face when i offered it to him was a picture. Very respectful and grateful at the opportunity I gave him to start afresh. The friendly staff there assisted in the move , arranged for bed / white goods etc . They helped him put in the UC application with the rent going direct to me from Day 1 . They may get the Rotary Club to assist with decoration etc . They worked with me and each other as a team. Practical solid well meaning and honest assistance. That is of course is how it should be.

They put Shelter to shame

AP

19:15 PM, 17th July 2020
About 2 months ago

My mortgage and insurance conditions both only allow me to let to working professionals. Honestly, what a waste of people’s donations. I hope the Shelter solicitor worked pro bono on this case?

Deborah Clare

20:43 PM, 17th July 2020
About 2 months ago

This doesn't really change anything, except to waste tenants time when they view properties they will never get. It's the same as when you apply for a job and are told 'there was someone with more suitable experience' or 'the level of candidates was very high'. There will always be another reason why they don't get the property. One being that they can't pass affordability checks for rent guarantee insurance.

Chris @ Possession Friend

21:50 PM, 17th July 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by AP at 17/07/2020 - 19:15
NO, Shelter employed a Barrister from garden court chambers and it was funded by Nationwide ( Yes, the Building society that many Landlords have BTL mortgages with ! )

Chris @ Possession Friend

22:02 PM, 17th July 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Monty Bodkin at 14/07/2020 - 11:09
They might as well office-share with Shelter !
last month their magazine published Landlords can get their property back in 2 months !
NRLA agree with every punishment the govt hands out to Landlords, and now
Agreeing with Shelter yet again, not even a mention of the U.C. difficulties landlords face, or throwing Shelters statistic of 90% of the country LHA being below market rent - so how are Landlords going to rent to tenants who can't afford the rent. !

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