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Government to clampdown on landlords discriminating against DSS tenants

The government plans to crackdown on BTL landlords and letting agents posting ‘no DSS’ adverts discriminating against tenants claiming housing benefit.

Around 20% of people living in rented accommodation in the UK receive housing benefit and yet research shows that 20% of landlords listing properties on Zoopla used ‘no DSS’ in their adverts.

Out of 86,000 property ads assessed on property website Zoopla, 8,710 listed “no DSS” in their advert description, reported housing charity Shelter and the National Housing Federation.


Around half of landlords said they will not accept a tenant on housing benefit, according to the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG), which is lobbying for the change.

Housing minister Heather Wheeler commented: “I want everyone to have the security, dignity and opportunities they need to build a better life – at the heart of which is ensuring everyone can find a safe and secure home to call their own.

“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. Half of landlords said they would ask for ‘no DSS’ tenants.

“I will also be meeting key stakeholders to tackle ‘No DSS’ advertisements. If the sector is unwilling to take action, the government will then explore all options to remove this practice.”

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    They will need to target the mortgage and insurance companies first, because it is them who have been driving the “no DSS” culture. I remember a few years ago I had to really push to have some of my tenants accepted by my insurers, and ended up paying a premium to keep them.

  • James B

    Landlords just need to reject anyone that doesn’t fit their risk criteria, no need to put it on the advert if it keeps shelter happy

    These government generation rent vote campaigns are getting so boring now

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    O K so we cannot say NO DSS , still won't rent to them, why would I when I know I'm going to have problems getting the rent paid ?

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    • 05 March 2019 09:17 AM

    I saw this recently and how true it is?

    This will be the wording of my ads if I am forced to have to accept DSS,UC people:

    "Must be in secure employment with affordability. Must be credit worthy. Must offer a payment with no risk of clawbacks. Must not present any breach to landlords mortgage or insurance terms. Must pay in advance from the outset."

    See if they can fulfill that.

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    • 05 March 2019 09:45 AM

    I'm sure the Shelter aka Govt lawyers will be all over any phraseology that looks like it actually means no letting to those in receipt of HB.
    Govt seems to believe it is because of payment issues that LL reject tenant applicants.
    Can someone tell Govt that LL consider so many different factors when it comes to choosing a tenant.
    Every LL has a different approach cos they are operating their own business.
    There is NO pro forma template for how a sole trader LL operates.
    It is not just about how a LL might be paid.
    With DSS it is definitely a case of might rather than when!!!!
    This Wheeler thing is utterly clueless.
    She needs to spend a week with a LL to understand the issues.
    We have an idiot making policy playing to the GR gallery who won't be taken in one bit and still won't vote Tory.

    Even if I was able to achieve at the outset of a tenancy from a DSS tenant
    1 month rent in advance
    2 month rent as deposit
    Insurance with no DSS surcharge
    CTL to DSS tenant from lender
    No clawback risk from direct payment
    I STILL wouldn't let to DSS cos they CANNOT afford my rents and I would ensure that every time they state they could I would increase the rent from that advertised which I am perfectly entitled to do.
    Plus I would refuse to consider any tenant who did not have referencing.
    The Govt CANNOT force to change my criteria if I require referencing but am NOT prepared to pay for it.
    ANY tenant applicant will need to show me all of their Tenant Referencing Referencing Passport.
    Without one I will refuse to even consider that tenant.
    No Govt can force me to change my terms of business.
    It is my private property and I can let to whom I like.
    I know that DSS tenants will rarely have satisfactory referencing.
    But I can choose to price any DSS tenant out of a tenancy.
    The rent will keep increasing until they say they can't afford it.
    DSS tenants if I so choose will NEVER be able to afford my rents as I will ensure they CAN'T! !

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    • N P
    • 05 March 2019 10:13 AM

    Yet another example where the government is shifting a social problem onto landlords just like their beloved Right to Rent checks. Landlords are entitled to find the best possible tenants for their properties just like government is entitled to find the best possible contractors for their projects by doing due diligence. Perhaps focus on acting as a guarantor for these tenants in the event of arrears or damages so landlords are willing to take on the extra risk to solve their social problem or build more social housing. I’m still going to check that prospective tenants can afford to live in my property and are creditworthy whatever they say.

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    • 05 March 2019 11:04 AM

    The PRS suffers over £9 billion of losses every year.
    A substantial portion of this is caused by DSS tenants.
    Can you honestly see Govt prepared to take on the financial hit for such losses!?
    Of course a really effective way to prevent such losses which are mostly caused by rent arrears is to allow immediate eviction by the LL with police assistance 14 days after 1st rent default.
    That will concentrate DWP minds or the Council's!!!
    Such a policy could persuade many LL to consider taking on such DSS tenants.
    Indeed as a Govt to incentivise LL to take on DSS tenants I would allow speedy eviction only if they were DSS tenants.
    If LL knew they could get rid of only DSS tenants 14 days after 1st rent default then I reckon many LL would take the additional risk of letting to a DSS tenant.
    If it proves an effective policy then Govt might be minded to roll out such a speedy eviction process for non-DSS tenants.
    If introduced just for DSS tenants County Courts would see their PO and eviction workload reduce by about 75%!!
    Which tells you EVERYTHING you need to know as to why many LL currently refuse to let to DSS tenants.
    Of course Councils wouldn't like it as they would have a duty to house
    Though if rent isn't paid isn't that the tenant making themselves intentionally homeless!?
    Though of course UC would by default make every DSS tenant homeless as UC certainly isn't paid fewer than 14 days after rent payment date.
    But this will never happen.
    No way will Govt risk the massive financial hit.
    Even though they technically are as LL can't pay tax on zero income though S24 has changed that somewhat!!!
    Even more galling now if you are a mortgaged sole trader LL and a tenant rent defaults a LL is still taxed on mortgage debt interest with no income to pay any of it from rent!!!
    Perhaps S24 is another reason why LL choose not to risk DSS tenants!?

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    Just don't mention DSS when you are looking for tenants and choose from the applicants that you want, rejecting those that are on benefits, simples.

  • Bill Wood

    This just means that people on HB will waste their time applying, and may get disheartened at a rejection.
    If an ad said 'No DSS' , they know where they stand from day one.

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    So 20% of Tenants are on Housing Benefit that’s every fifth person many free loaders & huge numbers of false Claimants among them, they have Priority over working Tenants who pay taxes to keep them but never mind that they have equal rights for watching tv all day as the worker who has fare to pay to go to work, maybe £2 for a coffee down the City, instead of 20p at home, pay kids schooling / uniforms etc’ it doesn’t look equal to me.


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