A recent case has reignited a regular debate between renters and landlords alike, as an agent is sued for discrimination against somebody receiving benefits, but is it against the law to refuse tenants receiving benefits?
An applicant was shocked when they were told that “people in receipt of benefits would not be acceptable to the landlord” before even checking whether she could afford the rent.
It’s often a sad misconception that those receiving Universal Credit will be bad or unreliable tenants and, in these challenging times where more of us than ever find ourselves in financial strain, it’s important that we remain mindful, respectful and supportive to all.
Gone are the days of private landlords and letting agents advertising properties stating that they are unwilling to accept applicants who rely on Housing Benefits to pay rent. This would have been phrased as “No DSS”, despite the Department of Social Security not having existed since 2001. With property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla banning the use of DSS, it raises the question of whether a landlord’s preferences amount to unlawful discrimination.
The term “DSS” suggests that all applicants in receipt of government support are the same which is, of course, not the case. In fact, single mothers and those living with a disability are far more likely to be claiming Universal Credit so a blanket ruling will be seen as discriminatory. A landlord can refuse an applicant receiving benefits, but it has to be on a case by case basis and providing they have been assessed fairly using the same criteria as all other interested parties.
Here at Pittis, we pride ourselves on acting with honesty and integrity to find the right tenants for you. If your tenant should fall on hard times or their circumstances should change, as many are right now, we don’t want that to affect you. That’s why we offer guaranteed rent protection for up to 15 months with our incredible Rent Protect Pro insurance product.
Pittis are also regulated by ARLA Propertymark, the UK’s largest professional body for lettings agents, which means we undertake regular training to protect you and your tenants.
Our lettings team are told time and time again just how important they are by our landlords. Our expertise, local knowledge and positive attitude makes all the difference to our customers’ experience, whether you are a landlord or tenant.
We appreciate times are tough for all – let us be the ones to make you feel at home.