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?


Neil Patterson

11:45 AM, 12th June 2019
About 6 days ago

NLA fall into line:

"The National Landlords Association (NLA) today attended a roundtable at 10 Downing Street, led by Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Heather Wheeler MP, to address the blanket ban on letting to tenants in receipt of benefits.

At the roundtable, the NLA emphasised to Heather Wheeler and the Minister for Family Support, Housing and Child Maintenance, Will Quince MP, that we believe the underlying issue with access to the private rented sector for tenants in receipt of benefits is the failure of the Government to increase the level of Local Housing Allowance rate in line with market rents. This is further impacted by the size of Broad Rental Market Areas (BRMAs) which further underestimate local rent levels in certain areas.

The NLA advises our members to consider each tenant on a case-by-case basis, rather than stating ‘No DSS’ on the advert. However, landlords have a legitimate right to refuse a tenancy based on affordability."

Arnie Newington

12:06 PM, 12th June 2019
About 6 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Neil Patterson at 12/06/2019 - 11:45
I would have hoped for something more robust from a landlord association.

Seething Landlord

12:08 PM, 12th June 2019
About 6 days ago

Reply to the comment left by David Price at 12/06/2019 - 10:12
I am sure that you are correct that those totally reliant on benefits are much higher risk than working tenants receiving benefits to top up their earnings. As my mother used to say, the devil finds work for idle hands.

Dylan Morris

12:16 PM, 12th June 2019
About 6 days ago

I only once took on an unemployed single mother benefits tenant around 20 years ago and it was a disaster. She smoked continually in the property even though there was a no smoking clause in the contract and it was advertised as such. Whole place needed completely redecorating throughout and had to fit new carpets (kids room stunk of urine) and curtains in every room. Toilet was blocked with a CD round the U bend, and not cleaned for months, wallpaper torn by her young kids. Dog chewed the doors. Grass never cut in 18 months. Shed full to the brim with black bags containing 18 months worth of soiled nappies. Never paid any of the £15 p.w. shortfall between the rent due and amount of Housing Benefit she was receiving.
Of course this may have been a one off and I could just have been unlucky. However since this time I’ve had hardly any problems (certainly not on same scale) with working tenants.......... obviously just a coincidence !!


14:08 PM, 12th June 2019
About 6 days ago

And therein lies a big problem. Lots of tenants falsify their benefits claims, or are moonlighting, or doing something else that would result in them being ineligible for their rent to be paid. But as a landlord you don't have the rights to check any of what they are doing. All that you can do is possibly inspect your property having given 24 hours notice. So unless you insist that the rent is paid to you by the tenant directly you are running a huge risk if the council or whoever it is that is paying their rent decides to come and get it off you, the capitalist, rather than try and get it off the "vulnerable" tenant.
Unless I've missed something. What rights do you have as a landlord to check on a tenant's personal circumstance?

Dylan Morris

16:43 PM, 12th June 2019
About 6 days ago

Reply to the comment left by JJ at 12/06/2019 - 14:08None at all as they are entitled to “quiet enjoyment” of the property. Any delving into their ongoing personal circumstances would be harassment.


17:45 PM, 12th June 2019
About 6 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Dylan Morris at 12/06/2019 - 16:43
So if the benefits paid to you can be claimed back from you if it transpires that the tenant wasn't entitled to them, but you have no rights at all to check on what the tenants are up to, then in business terms whoever is paying the benefit is transferring an outstanding liability to you *unless* you only accept payment direct from the tenant.


5:36 AM, 13th June 2019
About 6 days ago

In response to David Price. I am really shocked that you have been treated this way. Utterly shocked and disgusted. May I ask whereabouts in the country this is?? Is it in a deprived area?? My husband and I are based in the South of England. We now have 37 properties, all within a 20-25 minute drive outside of rush hour. It is a pretty good area. But as all but one of our properties are a mixture of 2 and 3 bed flats and houses, we don’t rent to families with six children!! We have only had someone default and wreck the property once, thankfully, and he is still paying us back at £11.60 per week. We first started buying up BTL properties in 1990, and over 2/3 of our tenants have been benefit claimants-many disabled and single parents with children. I cannot recall ANY tenants who slept all day and who partied at night. The only noise problems we had were with two lots of working tenants, bizarrely. So my model of renting to DSS tenants clearly works, but yours doesn’t. But that doesn’t mean it’s your fault. Not at all.

So I am wondering why we haven’t had the problems which you have. Firstly, I am thinking that you have probably been renting out to larger families, and perhaps most larger families DO sleep all day, I don’t know! We only rented to one, and they have been there for 22 years now. Perhaps your rental area is very deprived, where the people didn’t get a decent education and the area is deprived and full of drugs. Your comment about how they can “find a nice new clean home to trash” suggests strongly that you are in a deprived area in the north of England?? These are the only areas in the UK where there is a huge surplus of private rented property, to the extent that these families could get themselves rehoused within 8 weeks without a landlord reference. It certainly wouldn’t happen down here in the south of England. They would find themselves squeezed into one room in a horrid bed and breakfast!!!


5:48 AM, 13th June 2019
About 6 days ago

Reply to the comment left by JJ at 12/06/2019 - 17:45
JJ, obviously when taking on a benefit tenant you are going to check their income, that it is enough to pay the rent, bills, food and all of their other expenses. You ask to see their most recent award letters for each of their benefits, the letter confirming their housing benefit award at their current address, and 6 months worth of bank statements for all accounts, so you can see the rent top-up being paid on time each month, and the housing benefit, if they are receiving it. If all of this is fine, you have no good cause to expect that they are claiming fraudulently, but as a matter of course, you should fill out the housing benefit form with your tenant, so you know it’s filled in correctly and been sent, and also make a discretionary housing payment application, if you think it appropriate. Also make sure you apply to be informed of everything that goes on with your tenant’s claim, and that the form is signed.

Mick Roberts

8:25 AM, 13th June 2019
About 5 days ago

On the DSS subject, for years I had on my vehicles on side & rear DSS Considered. And as time has passed, I had to change to DWP considered, as the old school din't know what DWP was, but more common now, law of averages, it was becoming more people didn't know what DSS was.
And on the subject again, there is a saying amongst us DWP Landlords, 90% of your problems are caused by 10% of your tenants. Mine are a lot more respecting now, now that they can't just wreck the house & move down the road, as no other Landlords are taking mine or any HB DWP UC tenants any more, so I'm stuck with mine for life. And I do have a load of good tenants at the moment, AAAhhh why did I say that on a public wall, BUT probably 40% of them are and will admit they are useless with money, so when it comes to starting work & wages etc., they get in a mess with paying top ups & even worse if nowadays I want the top up same time as HB UC pay, to reduce time/admin costs.

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