Another house-hunting tenant has won a discrimination case after being refused viewings by a lettings agency on the basis that he was in receipt of housing benefit.

Supported by Shelter, disabled Stephen Tyler, 29, yesterday won his legal battle at Birmingham County Court (pictured) after successfully proving ‘No DSS’ discrimination in his case.

The legal action was triggered when Tyler and his family were told by Birmingham lettings agency Paul Carr that it is was ‘company policy’ to refuse to rent to people on housing benefit, despite Tyler having a spotless renting record.

He and his legal team argued that the firm was in breach of the Equality Act after preventing him from viewing three properties advertised to let via this ‘blanket’ policy.

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As in Shelter’s previous case in July at York Crown Court, the discrimination faced by Tyler was deemed in breach of the Equality Act because it disproportionally affects disabled people, who are more likely to need some support with paying their rent.

The ruling does not therefore cover the wider practice of putting ‘No DSS’ requirements in property advertising.

Disability

Nevertheless, it affects a lot of people – 45 per cent of private renters who claim disability benefits like Disability Living Allowance or Serious Disability Allowance also claim housing benefit.

During the most recent case in Birmingham, the judge Her Honour Judge Mary Stacey ruled that: “There is no doubt that there was a blanket policy that no one in receipt of housing benefit would be considered for the three properties. 

“It put the claimant and other disabled people at a particular disadvantage when compared to others.”

Tyler and his family were evicted from their original home in February 2018 after asking their landlord if they could complete disability adaptions to the property, and then subsequently struggled to find a new home.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, says: “This win proves yet again that blanket bans against people on housing benefit are unlawful because they overwhelmingly bar women and disabled people like Stephen, who are more likely to need help with their rent, from finding a safe home.”

18 COMMENTS

  1. time to sellup and run. it will only get worse here. no monies. no eviction. no rent……storm is coming . money is runnning out and taxes going up soon. move asetts out or cry later. second homes tax. higher CGT…..

  2. I had a tenant on benefits. Couldn’t afford to heat the property properly. Black mould set in, tenant complained to the council. Fortunately it had a new boiler and radiators. Took me a long time to get my property back. It was in an awful state. Now sold. LL’s are on a losing wicket for sure.

  3. Yep the salad days are over.
    Time to sell up and return the capital to savings accounts.
    At least there it won’t be robbed by feckless tenants.

    Even unmortgaged LL will struggle with long eviction periods.
    Is it really worthwhile bothering housing a feckless tenant for years!?

    Unless you can source RGI which very few tenants can qualify for I don’t see the point of bothering to be a LL.

    Inability to remove feckless rent defaulting tenants makes the whole business model unviable so why bother.

    LL need to get tenant choice correct everytime.

    One wrongun can cost tens of thousands!
    Why bother!?

  4. If the council would pay the landlord direct, as they used to, I’d have no problem taking DSS tenants. Issues arise when the tenants decide a new satellite dish and Sky subscription along with both smoking, are more important than paying the rent. Yes. It happened to me. No, they didn’t ask for permission to put up a satellite dish. As they actually put it on a neighbouring property, I couldn’t say anything!

  5. “Paying the LL direct would solve this issue – such a simple solution?”
    No it isn’t, I seem to remember that if the tenant was caught defrauding the DHS the DHS would take back the rent paid to the landlord,

    • Yes, your quite right, direct payments to landlord are recovered from him, and he then has to recover the money from the tenant. Remember guys, the council actually prefer that, rather than getting £1 a week off someone who cannot afford to repay it, you have a house, which they can go after.

  6. My mortgage says I am precluded from letting to DSS and relatives so how does it work for me. I cant afford to breach the terms of my mortgage.

  7. Amazing how no one has mentioned the insurance and mortgage companies, who always ask if the property is only going to be let to professional working people, ergo, no benefits. As always though, the media et al would not dare take on those guys, no, its much easier to have a go at landlords.

    Described as parasites, yet nobody has a go at the electric companies for charging to provide ‘essential’ electricity, the supermarkets for charging to providing ‘essential’ food.

    Landlords are providing an essential service to the community, yet are persistently vilified as money grabbing parasites, when on the whole, we are no different to all the other industries providing ‘essential’ services.

  8. Honestly, MPs, Shelter, Generation Rent, Sadiq Khan (especially), please take the time to watch a few episodes of Slum landlords, nightmare tenants – only then will you get it through your thick heads that it is not all landlords causing the issues. Tenants are far from the heavenly angels you seem to think they all are. This unbalanced playing field is becoming a complete joke, and as for the eviction ban, should it not be for COVID related issues only? Why a complete blanket ban? Oh yes thats right, it keeps certain tenants from becoming self inflicted homeless, which then becomes your problem.

    Anyone else ever been told “your a landlord – you can afford it”?

  9. Surely if adopt a policy of no DSS no one can get at me unless I make it public. it is reasonable to ask a prospective tenant about his/her financial situation and if it includes DSS payments I would offer that person the tenancy — no reason given

  10. What about the Insurance companies who routinely refuse to grant landlord’s insurance or charge more if you take DSS Tenants? They are allowed to discriminate but landlords aren’t.
    They judge DSS tenants as higher risk yet as Landlords we aren’t allowed to do the same.

  11. PRS, accidental or small landlords, is being bashed up by the government to an extent that it can no longer survive. A different story altogether for the big LLs, possibly

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