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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 ‘No DSS’ is an outdated and outrageous example of blatant prejudice.”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”?
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.
Shelter need to stop spending public donations fighting things they truly don’t understand or have first hand experience with rather than an ignorant opinion on these issues. Why don’t they ask front line landlords like me, a landlord who has not had to evict one Irish person, one black person or even a dog this year, but has had to evict 6 benefit tenants who have spent their housing benefit on trainers, booze, fags and every other thing apart from the rent.
Original blog @ http://www.landlordreferencing…..o-provide/
Paul: I Agree, agree, agree.
I do not take deposits now on my working tenant rentals because they cant afford it.
I take tenants on short term contracts who are hoping for full time work and commute long distances to work . They have main homes elsewhere . Every day they get up 3 am and travel from Wales or wherever to the Midlands (where the work is ) until they can find a place cheap enough to rent that doesn’t charge humongous deposits and fees out of their wages.
The council has government permission to pay a Benefits tenants deposit now.
Why cant they help the workers out? I have discussed this so many times with the council but as Mary Latham said “There is no communication between departments” NO Landlords on the councils either .
AS one older private landlord who caters to the poorer working class said ” the HMO’s can be cheap living for poorer workers”
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