“No DSS” tenant blanket ban ignored by buy-to-let landlords ‘unlawful’ ruling by Judge
“No DSS” tenant blanket ban ignored by buy-to-let landlords despite ‘unlawful’ ruling by Judge
The BBC has launched its own investigation into landlords who still advertise their properties to rent using the terms “No DSS” or “Working tenants only”. Last month, a District Judge has ruled that blanket bans on renting properties to people on housing benefit are unlawful and discriminatory.
The county court ruling found a single mother-of-two had experienced indirect discrimination when a letting agent refused to rent to her. She subsequently ended up homeless with her two children, when her case was taken on by housing charity Shelter.
The judge ruled “No DSS” rental bans are against equality laws.
District Judge Victoria Mark heard the case in York County Court on 1 July, and ruled: “Rejecting tenancy applications because the applicant is in receipt of housing benefit was unlawfully discriminating on the grounds of sex and disability” and “contrary to the Equality Act 2010”.
According to a BBC report, landlords are apparently still flouting the “ruling”.
However, a lower county court ruling may influence other court decisions as a ‘persuasive authority’ in similar cases, but is not binding in law.
The National Residential Landlords Association’s (NRLA) Deputy Director for policy and research, John Stewart, told the BBC that it had “always advised landlords they should not blanket ban benefit claimants” but the “fundamental issue was the affordability of renting”.
He added that there are a number of valid reasons why rental listings said benefit claimants were not accepted, including:
- The timeliness and levels of benefit awards – including complaints about universal credit, a shortfall between housing benefit and private sector rents and in some cases, fluctuating levels of benefit income
- Banks and insurers saw benefit claimants as higher risk
- Landlords trying to avoid extra fees for tenants who would fail credit checks and references
Complaints about Universal Credit taking months to pay landlords and then giving the rent directly to the tenant have been widespread.
Shelter is a left-leaning charity which campaigns for the end of “no fault” evictions, further regulation in the social housing sector and new laws to force landowners to build more social housing.
The organisation has an annual income of £67 million, of which £18 million comes from “grants and contracts”, some of which comes from government or taxpayer’s money. They reported a £3.5 million “surplus” (charities do not pay tax and cannot make profits so the make surpluses instead), in 2018/19. The CEO is paid a salary of £128,000 a year – over 4 times the UK national average wage.
Shelter holds £16 million in reserves according to its Annual Report 2018/19 and had fund balances of £26 million. Although they could build a lot of social housing with £26 million, Shelter does not provide “shelter” or housing.
Left-wing pressure groups like Shelter would like to take the private rented sector seventy years back to the days of rent controls and effective lifelong tenancies or ‘sitting tenants’, which would have the effect of private landlords deserting the market in droves. Ironically, rent controls in the 1950’s and 1960’s led to a shortage of private rental properties and the very rogue slum landlords which led to Shelter being founded.
Everyone in the UK should have a home, but does that mean everyone has a “right” to a home or a legal right to rent a home from a private buy-to-let landlord regardless of their circumstances?
We are supposed to be living in a free and democratic capitalist country, not a Marxist state. Landlords must also be able to choose who they want to take on as a tenant based on their circumstances and ability to pay.
This is not a political blog, but I have to say that socialism and communism doesn’t work. It has been tried all over the world from the failed states of USSR to Venezuela, yet keeps coming back like a virus you can’t kill. Karl Marx idea of capital and land in the hands of the state has been a disaster and led to millions dying of starvation in Maoist China and North Korea.
I have current experience with both private and benefit tenants with mixed results.
The LHA rates in some areas are simply not competitive or equivalent to the open market rate and dealing with benefit claims is a steep learning curve for landlords. Deposits and upfront rent can also be an issue.
Landlords with buy-to-let mortgages may be in breech of their mortgage conditions if they let the property to tenants on benefits.
The private sector should not have to pick up the pieces for the failures of successive governments to build sufficient social housing for a growing low-wage population. There has been no major council house building programme since the 1970’s.
The last major town to be built with proper infrastructure and rail transport links was Milton Keynes which, along with other new towns such a Harlow and Basildon, were planned in the 1960’s.
Councils could easily build more social housing and borrow to do at favourably low rates, but many choose not to for a variety of reasons.
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Millions of people face a bleak future post-Coronavirus lockdown, as businesses disappear and the job furlough scheme eventually comes to an end. However, life doesn’t have to end because of lockdown! You can join thousands of ordinary people who have increased their income and added streams of new income during this period.
Are you ready to adapt to the new economic model?
As lockdown restrictions around the world are being eased, the economic model has subtly changed forever. How will you adapt to this new way of working and running a business, what obstacles and opportunities lies ahead? Will you be a participant or spectator in this revolution?
By Charles Kelly, Property Investor, Author of Yes, Money Can Buy You Happiness and creator of Money Tips Podcast.
There are more examples and practical steps to getting rich and being happy in my book, Yes, money can buy happiness, I cover the 3 R’s of Money Management, the Money B.E.L.I.E.F System and much more. Check it out on Amazon http://bit.ly/2MoneyBook.
If you’d like further information on how to survive the crisis and even quit the rat race, email me at Charles@CharlesKelly.net or send me a message through Facebook or my Money Tips Daily community. See more articles at www.moneytipsdaily.com