March 16, 2019

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Zoopla promises to end housing benefit discrimination

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Media captionStephen Tyler says housing benefit discrimination pressured him to sleep in his automotive

People receiving housing benefit can now not be barred from renting properties marketed on one of many UK’s largest itemizing websites.

Zoopla says it would prohibit landlords posting “No DSS” adverts, a commonly-used acronym of the now defunct Department of Social Security.

The National Housing Federation and Shelter discovered that one in 10 brokers in England refused to let to DSS tenants.

The BBC discovered the coverage was enforced even when tenants may afford the hire.

Approximately 889,000 folks in England obtain housing benefit to assist pay their hire.

  • Online adverts ‘refusing’ tenants on advantages
  • Landlords who say ‘no DSS’ flout the regulation

Yet in accordance to the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG), round half of landlords wouldn’t be keen to let to them.

Last August, Birmingham resident Stephen Tyler instructed the Victoria Derbyshire programme that housing benefit discrimination had pressured him to sleep in his automotive.

The wheelchair person stated: “We have been making an attempt to discover lodging since we have been evicted from our final property once we requested for diversifications to be made for wheelchair entry.

“I cellphone something up to 20 landlords, property brokers, a day and none of them will settle for DSS.”

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In November, the National Housing Federation and charity Shelter revealed evaluation of 86,000 letting agent adverts on Zoopla, which discovered that 8,710 of the postings contained the phrases “no DSS” or “no housing benefit”.

Other adverts implied that nobody on advantages was welcome – for instance by saying “professionals only”.

While it’s not illegal to refuse folks on advantages, Shelter stated it was seemingly to contravene the Equality Act.

Earlier this month, Housing Minister Heather Wheeler referred to as for the apply to be stopped, and stated the federal government would discover the choice of creating it unlawful.

She warned that if the sector was unwilling to take motion then the federal government would “explore all options to remove this practice”.

‘Everywhere stated no DSS’

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Benefit claimant Michelle Hunte stated she had discovered it very arduous to discover a place to stay, after being evicted from a flat in London in 2016.

“I woke up every day at 6am to look for a home,” she stated. “Everywhere I looked online said ‘No DSS’ – Gumtree, Facebook, everywhere.”

She ended up dwelling in a mattress and breakfast, whereas her six kids lived elsewhere.

“It was so stressful being apart from my family. I’m now suffering from anxiety and depression.”

The National Landlords Association (NLA) and Residential Landlord’s Association (RLA) have stated the blanket restrictions shouldn’t be used.

Charlie Bryant, managing director of Zoopla, stated: “We fully support the recommendations of the NLA and the RLA, which oppose blanket bans against tenants in receipt of housing-related benefits, and are pleased to be taking action which clarifies this position.”

The transfer follows growing stress on mortgage lenders, insurers, property brokers and property advert websites not to discriminate in opposition to folks on advantages.

This month NatWest Bank stated it might change its restrictions on buy-to-let mortgages – which in a single case led to a landlord receiving a requirement for the revocation of an current mortgage whereas being refused a re-mortgage after she rented the property to a tenant on housing advantages.

Parliamentary inquiry

Parliament’s Work and Pensions Committee has launched an inquiry into discrimination in opposition to advantages claimants.

It is quizzing lenders, landlords, brokers and benefit recipients and working a web-based survey of claimants who’ve had issues discovering a spot to hire or issues with their landlords.

A authorized case final 12 months noticed a single mom win compensation for discrimination from a lettings company that refused to take into account her as a tenant as a result of she was on advantages.

She argued that the restriction not directly discriminated in opposition to girls, particularly single girls, as a result of they’re proportionately extra seemingly to be claiming housing benefit than single males, in accordance to official figures.

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