Government and lenders act on benefits discrimination
The government is calling for an end to ‘No DSS’ property adverts, at the same time as pledging £19.5 million to help councils support people at risk of homelessness.
Ministers will meet industry bodies in an effort to clamp down on discrimination in the private rented sector. The move follows research, which shows that, while a fifth of private tenant households receive housing benefit, half of landlords are unwilling to rent to benefit recipients.
Housing Minister, Heather Wheeler, said that such adverts could be banned, adding: “I will be meeting key stakeholders to tackle the practice of No DSS, to underline the need for immediate change.”
The new funding will help vulnerable people pay the deposits and rent advances needed to secure a tenancy. According to Ms Wheeler: “This funding will make a huge difference in opening up the private rented sector to people who need it and give them the chance to rebuild their lives. This helps strengthen the choices and opportunities available for those on benefits to secure the homes they and their families need.”
Meanwhile, the NatWest has announced it will be lifting its restrictions on buy-to-let landlords who wish to rent property to people on benefits.
The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) raised concerns that two-thirds of lenders, representing 90% of the buy-to-let market, refuse loans for properties where a tenant receives housing benefit.
John Stewart, policy manager for the RLA, said: “We warmly welcome today’s announcement from NatWest. Around 20% of all private sector tenants are in receipt of benefits and we need to do all we can to support them to find the homes they need.
“NatWest’s decision will make it easier for landlords to rent to benefit claimants and agree long-term tenancies where suitable. We urge other lenders to follow this lead.”