Subject to status and referencing

Subject to status and referencing

15:55 PM, 11th June 2019, About 2 years ago 110

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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?


by ameliahartman

3:20 AM, 18th June 2019, About 2 years ago

Obfuscated Data

by ameliahartman

3:27 AM, 18th June 2019, About 2 years ago

Obfuscated Data

by Seething Landlord

8:21 AM, 18th June 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by ameliahartman at 18/06/2019 - 03:27
It is self-evident that a large number of landlords provide accommodation for those on benefits and many, like you will no doubt continue to do so. Others have had disastrous experiences in their dealings with the local authority and now with the DWP which have persuaded them that they will never again expose themselves to the toxicity of the benefits system.

When they turn away people such as you describe it is not actually a rejection of those individuals because of their disability or situation but a consequence of the fact that a significant part of their income comes from a source which is capricious, unreliable and impossible to communicate with on any sensible level.

by Rennie

12:02 PM, 18th June 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by ameliahartman at 13/06/2019 - 19:38
Oh thank you so much Amelia, this is just exactly what I wanted to know about benefits received and how a landlord might be more inclined to accept some over others

by Luke P

13:45 PM, 18th June 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by ameliahartman at 18/06/2019 - 03:14
I don't think you have much Court experience, because even if you stipulate no smoking in the property and doing so would technically be a breach of tenancy and worthy of a S.8, no Judge in the land will grant you Possession on such grounds as it's within the grounds of 'normal' (even if it is bad for your health), which effectively nullifies the clause. Tenants from my area would run rings around you, Amelia and you'd be pulling your hair out, especially when you get examples like the above where they're sticking two fingers up to you breaching the tenancy, yet there's no way you can get them out.

When S.21 is gone, what would be your thoughts if a tenant was smoking 40-a-day in your 'non-smoking' house? What if they're on medical marijuana? Can hardly advocate for a 'No DSS' ban, but be in favour of 'No smokers'.

by Jessie Jones

14:42 PM, 18th June 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Rennie at 18/06/2019 - 12:02
I would hope that nobody else adopts Amelia's illegal practices. Increasing the rent with a view to returning part of it at any stage, including at the end of the tenancy is unlawful, unless that portion is registered with one of the three approved deposit schemes, and does not take the total deposit to more than 5 weeks rent. Just by not calling it a deposit does not mean that it isn't a deposit. Amelia is potentially liable for some hefty penalties.
Arguably, an increased rent for a dog owner is little different to increasing the rent for those in receipt of benefits, or otherwise refusing their application. Certain sections of our community are more inclined to be dog owners than others. This goes across age differences and ethnic differences at least. Why do we think that higher rent is acceptable for those with dogs? Because we know that the property will suffer greater wear and tear. Maybe not with all dogs, but certainly with a good proportion. And the same goes with DWP applicants. Not all, but a good proportion.
It is hard to argue robustly that applying a similar policy to those in receipt of benefits is materially different to applying a criteria to those with a dog.
If Amelia is so outraged by a tendency against letting to the unemployed, she might reconsider her policy of increasing the rent for those sections of our community who might want to keep a dog.

by David Price

17:57 PM, 18th June 2019, About 2 years ago

I am sure that Miss goody twoshoes, ameliahartman, cannot possibly be a real landlord, and maybe not even a real person, but she is fun to tease.

by Robert M

21:03 PM, 18th June 2019, About 2 years ago

I have a far more simple approach. No guarantee, no tenancy. If you are over 25 and pass the gut instinct test (along with other tests) an exception might be made.
Broadly, as already stated, anyone using benefits as a top up are usually OK. Many living solely on benefits are high maintenance in one way or another.

by David Price

4:58 AM, 19th June 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Robert at 18/06/2019 - 21:03
Completely agree, and I will continue to overtly advertise no "DSS" until it is made illegal. I will not be blackmailed by the likes of a political lobbying organisation that pretends to be a charity. And for the record I am boycotting all organisations which support Shelter in line with the ethos of the National Landlords Alliance.

by Beaver

15:47 PM, 19th June 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by David Price at 19/06/2019 - 04:58I regard Amelia's comments as useful.
I suspect she does genuinely run a business letting to people on benefits and it seems to me that in sharing her knowledge she is just sharing what it is that you need to do to let your property or properties to tenants on benefits: It seems to me to be less about being a " goody two shoes" as about choosing to operate a business in a certain way and either doing the work required to mitigate the risks, or taking the time to understand the risks.
Summarising her previous posts she requires:
- six months of bank statements
- copies of benefit statements including award letters
- for those who are disabled, copies of DLA awards including previous awards
She also looks in detail at the tenants' finances to see whether they can genuinely afford the property. In fact, if you look at her posts she appears to go into a great deal of detail in investigating the lives of her prospective tenants and looking at affordability: If I was renting and working I would find the level of detail that she requires an intrusion of my privacy; presumably she is not discriminating against the elderly, the disabled and others who are renting from her if she doesn't apply the same affordability criteria to those who are working, even if she doesn't require the same level of financial detail from people who are working, as she has a genuine need to decide whether the tenant can afford the property. Others will know the laws on discrimination better than I do though.
What her posts do suggest however is that tenants on benefits are a higher financial risk and incur a considerable amount of extra work. I let through an agent and I do not know whether the agent would actually be prepared to do the work that Amelia requires. I also do not know whether my insurance costs would be higher.
What is still missing for me though in assessing the risk is an understanding of whether the benefits agency paying the rent can really get the rent back off you if it subsequently transpires that the tenant was not eligible for benefits. A previous post suggested that claw back of benefits is a real risk, but for it to happen the landlord "should" have been aware of the circumstances giving rise to the disallowance of the benefit. I think that with the level of detail Amelia goes into in assessing whether her tenants can pay it would be difficult for her to argue that she should not have been aware of these circumstances as she seems to know her tenants' details intimately. You can get rid of a non-paying tenant in a few months if you follow the correct processes but what would your potential liability be if you had a tenant on benefits renting from you for perhaps five years? Would your potential liability be five years of back rent to be clawed back from you? My own experience of tenants on benefits is that they don't necessarily tell anybody the truth; they do whatever they need to do to get by and they take from whoever will give to them (admittedly, some working tenants are also like this). So what degree of confidence could you have that they are genuinely entitled to the benefits, even if they can present you with bits of paper? And how can you really check?
Hypothetically, if you had a tenant on benefits renting from you for perhaps three to five years (I believe Shelter wants indefinite tenancies) unless you were doing not only everything that Amelia does at the start of a tenancy but also asking for confirmation of benefits eligibility annually at the very least it seems to me that you would be running a very high risk. I don't have to ask for details of my working tenants' bank statements annually; provided they are paying the bills, not upsetting the neighbours and looking after the property I don't need to care. But how would I know they were still entitled to benefits if I was not checking regularly?
Perhaps you can insure against the risk of claw-back but I don't know what the costs are. And if a tenant on benefits is in the property, you ask the tenant for the confirmation that he or she is still entitled to benefits but the tenant does not provide these details, what do you then do? Do you kick them out? And if so, how? Under section what?

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