Shouldn’t Landlords shoulder the burden that’s resulted from the Government’s failure to provide?

Shouldn’t Landlords shoulder the burden that’s resulted from the Government’s failure to provide?

Shouldn’t  Landlords shoulder the burden that’s resulted from the Government’s failure to provide?

An undercover investigation undertaken by the charity Shelter has revealed that one in ten regional letting agent branches they reached out to had a policy not to let to anyone on housing benefit.

As a result of their findings, Shelter is planning to challenge in court whether this is in breach of the 2010 Equality Act. The case would be built on the fact that a large proportion of people on housing benefit are women and disabled people and therefore blanket bans on DSS tenant disproportionately affect these two groups of people.

Polly Neate, the chief executive of Shelter, stated: “This ugly undercurrent of discrimination is wreaking havoc on hundreds of thousands of people’s lives. ‘No DSS’ is an outdated and outrageous example of blatant prejudice.”

Shelter recognise that the problem has been bought on by “the failure of successive governments to build enough social housing” but believe that all tenants should be considered equal, no matter where their rent is coming from.

But why do some landlords or letting agents refuse to let their properties to the “estimated 1.64 million adults who now rely on housing benefit to help with expensive private rents”?

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One reason is that housing benefits get paid in arrears while rent is usually expected to be paid a month in advance (which incidentally so are mortgage payments!). So, most landlords would naturally prefer to have their rent come in when it’s due and when they need it to pay their mortgage rather than be required to bridge the gap out of their own pocket. This doesn’t seem like such a big ask when there is more demand for properties than there is supply – why shouldn’t we choose the tenants we want?

But of course, the primary concern for most is the risk of payment defaults. Tenants that qualify for housing benefit have no “rainy day” savings in case of unexpected bills and there’s undoubtedly a greater risk that they might not pay.

We believe that each case should be managed and assessed individually, and the importance of previous landlord references and credit checks cannot be overstated here (whether the rent is being paid by housing benefit or not). That’s why we do what we do – provide the best and most comprehensive reference packages on the market. But the question raised is about whether a landlord has the right to prevent their income in whichever way they see fit or whether legislation can force us to rent to people that we’re not comfortable renting to?

What we do know is, if government try and tell landlords and agents who their tenants will be every landlord property investor in this country will bail.


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Author: News @ Tenant Referencing

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