Government calls for end to ‘No DSS’ housing adverts
The housing minister has called for an end to letting adverts which potentially discriminate against would-be tenants on housing benefit.
Minister for housing and homelessness Heather Wheeler said she would be meeting with industry representatives as part of her approach to ending the practice.
Your Mortgage sister title Mortgage Solutions has asked the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to confirm if Wheeler is proposing to introduce a law to ban the adverts.
She and other minsters will be meeting with mortgage providers, landlord associations, tenant groups, and property websites to clamp down on blanket exclusions in adverts – with a view to stopping them altogether.
Out of 4.5 million households living in private rental accommodation, 889,000 receive housing benefit to help pay their rent.
However, the latest figures show around half of landlords said they would not be willing to let to tenants on Housing Benefit – ruling out thousands of vulnerable people and families.
The announcement came on the same day that NatWest confirmed it was removing all restrictions on landlords renting to tenants who are in receipt of housing benefits.
Support for homelessness
Wheeler also confirmed more than £19.5m will be shared among 54 projects across England to help thousands of people who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, to secure their own home.
Councils will use the funding boost to help vulnerable people secure their own tenancy through support such as, paying deposits or putting down the first months’ rent.
MHCLG said this would give them an opportunity to make a home in a property they may otherwise not have been able to access.
This funding forms part of the £100m Rough Sleeping Strategy.
Work with landlords
Wheeler said: “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.
“I will also be meeting key stakeholders to tackle the practice of ‘No DSS’, to underline the need for immediate change.
Minister for family support, housing and child maintenance, Justin Tomlinson said: “Everyone should have the same opportunity when looking for a home, regardless of whether they are in receipt of benefits.
“With Universal Credit, payments can be paid directly to the landlord, and we continue to listen to feedback and work with landlords to improve the system.
“Landlords can already receive rent from tenants on Housing Benefit and Universal Credit – meaning payments can be paid directly into their accounts.
“This helps strengthen the choices and opportunities available for those on benefits to secure the homes they and their families need,” he added.