Subject to status and referencing

by Mark Alexander

15:55 PM, 11th June 2019
About A week ago

Subject to status and referencing

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Subject to status and referencing

Might the phrase “Subject to status and referencing” be more politically correct than “No DSS”?

The only reason I can think of for using the “No DSS” phraseology is if advertising is priced on a per word or per character basis. Unless you’re advertising in a Newspaper, which is very rare in this digital age, I cannot see much point anyway.

Furthermore, according to Wikipedia, “the Department of Social Security (DSS) is a defunct governmental agency in the United Kingdom.”

With that being the case, I cannot understand why lenders T&C’s still use the phraseology, or indeed why lobbyists such as Generation Rent or Shelter have such a problem with it.

Landlords generally only want three things from their tenants:-

  1. Pay the rent on time
  2. Respect the property
  3. Respect the neighbours

Proper referencing of prospective tenants should enable landlords to make an informed choice, and to purchase Rent Guarantee, Legal Fees Protection and other forms of insurance to mitigate their risks. Therefore, in my opinion, the phrase “No DSS” is entirely superfluous to advertising.

What are your thoughts on this?


Michael Barnes

21:54 PM, 11th June 2019
About 7 days ago

"No DSS" is not discriminatory in any way because there is no DSS any more.

It should be possible to defend the use of the words in this way in all circumstances.

Larry Sweeney

22:06 PM, 11th June 2019
About 7 days ago

Excellent point Michael. I like it.
The advise of the Alliance to landlords is therefore. No Dss.

Arnie Newington

22:11 PM, 11th June 2019
About 7 days ago

This seems a pointless exercise for both landlords and tenants.

There are plenty of reasons why landlords would not want to take benefit tenants even if the tenants are decent people.

If a landlord won’t take a benefit tenant then it seems cruel to invite them along to view a house that they can’t get.


3:01 AM, 12th June 2019
About 7 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Arnie Newington at 11/06/2019 - 22:11
Of COURSE the phrase “no DSS” is discriminatory, because even though the Department for Social Security was got rid of in 2001, everybody knows that the phrase “no DSS” is referring to anybody in receipt of any type of benefit. I do not find this fair, and I know numerous other landlords who agree with me on this. It is only a small minority of “DSS” tenants who default on their rent, cause anti-social behaviour, damage the property, refuse to leave when they are given notice to, etc. Many problem families are actually working families on no benefits at all! Personally I believe that you should consider every application which you get for your property, and offer everybody who tells you they can afford it, and who confirms that they have all the required references and proof of income etc. Benefits which cover the rent, utility bills, and plenty left over for food, clothing and other expenses should be accepted. Then, when you hold your viewings, anybody who is interested, but who doesn’t have the required references and proof of income can be fairly ruled out, as you gave them a chance. They cannot claim discrimination. The same applies to anybody who does not have the full month’s rent upfront plus deposit. You then shortlist those who are interested who DO pass the criteria, and choose who YOU feel the most comfortable having in YOUR property, so if you don’t do DSS, then you will choose a working person, and then start the referencing process. This way, you cannot be accused of discriminating because you “did it by the book”. With Shelter on a moral journey to take landlords to court for “DSS discrimination compensation”, it’s best to be careful.

Monty Bodkin

7:24 AM, 12th June 2019
About 6 days ago

From many months ago;

"In the next few months Shelter intends to bring a series of test cases to court"

Still waiting.

Luke P

9:38 AM, 12th June 2019
About 6 days ago

Reply to the comment left by ameliahartman at 12/06/2019 - 03:01
Morally discriminatory? Maybe. But certainly not legally so.

Removing emotion for a moment, do you think anyone should be able to tell you what you can/can't do with your property, or more specifically who who should/shouldn't lend it to? By property, I mean it in the literally should you be forced to lend your clothes you are not wearing that day to someone you may not like or trust? I bet you wouldn't lend your vehicle to the next door neighbours young lad because, say, the RAC, states young motorists have a tough time affording and insuring the better cars and are stuck with nothing more than outdated safety 'bangers'.

Same is true for BTL bricks and mortar. If you/Shelter/Govt. insist on telling private individuals in a free-market what to do with their property and then make it law, people will give up doing it. Don't assume they'll always be there come what may and therefore have no option but to jump to the new tune of the law...they won't.

Arnie Newington

9:52 AM, 12th June 2019
About 6 days ago

Reply to the comment left by ameliahartman at 12/06/2019 - 03:01
You are allowed to discriminate on the basis of ability to pay.

I agree that there are plenty of decent benefit tenants.

There is plenty wrong with the benefit system that others have gone into and if you want an easy life as a landlord then I would avoid taking benefit tenants.


10:04 AM, 12th June 2019
About 6 days ago

Is it still the case that if a tenant on benefits is in your property with the rent being paid to you directly that if it subsequently transpires that the tenant is not eligible for benefit then the council can come and get the rent back off you?

David Price

10:12 AM, 12th June 2019
About 6 days ago

Whilst I agree with the spirit of your post I have to disagree about "DSS" tenants, but only those whose sole income is from benefits.
". . . It is only a small minority of “DSS” tenants who default on their rent, cause anti-social behaviour, damage the property, refuse to leave when they are given notice to, etc"
In my experience it is the vast majority of "DSS" tenants who commit one or more of the behaviours you describe. In 30 years of letting and well over 1000 tenancies I have only had two tenants give proper notice to quit, never had a tenant leave a property in a clean condition and had many properties trashed to the extent that only the outer walls are left standing. Tenants whose sole income is from benefits are generally troublesome, the sleep all day and annoy neighbours with their music at night, they care little for the property as they know they can move on to a nice clean home ready to trash. They spend their life making sure they are one step ahead of the bailiffs. Despite all the hype from Shelter "DSS" tenants whose sole income is from benefits are a very much higher risk than working tenants, hence the reluctance of Shelter to act as guarantor for such individuals.

Seething Landlord

11:36 AM, 12th June 2019
About 6 days ago

Reply to the comment left by JJ at 12/06/2019 - 10:04
Yes, claw back of benefits is a very real risk which seems to be overlooked in much of the discussion about benefit tenants. Government argue that landlords are safeguarded against non payment of rent by arrangements for direct payment of the housing element of benefits, particularly UC, as though that solves the problem. In reality it is a time bomb which lulls the landlord into what could prove to be a false sense of security.

I have not had the misfortune to experience this and understand that for it to happen the landlord "should" have been aware of the circumstances giving rise to the disallowance of the benefit, but there is still the potential for time consumiing and expensive argument which we can well do without.

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