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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Zoopla to stop rental listings discriminating against benefits claimants

Zoopla will no longer allow letting agents and landlords to issue ‘blanket bans against tenants in receipt of housing-related benefits’ after announcing that it will end ‘No DSS’ wording in rental adverts.

The move follows on from the government’s decision to clampdown on buy-to-let landlords and letting agents posting ‘no DSS’ adverts that discriminate 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.

But in support of recommendations from the National Landlords Association (NLA) and Residential Landlord’s Association (RLA), Zoopla, which owns multiple leading property-related websites, software and databases, will launch additional measures over coming weeks with a view to further minimising blanket restrictions which apply to renters who receive housing benefit.

Charlie Bryant, managing director of Zoopla, commented: “We fully support the recommendations of the NLA and the RLA, which oppose blanket bans against tenants in receipt of housing-related benefits, and are pleased to be taking action which clarifies this position.

“All tenants who are looking to rent a property deserve the chance to be fully assessed for their suitability and matched to a home that suits both their and the landlord’s circumstances.”

Additional measures to be launched by Zoopla in the coming weeks ready for final implementation next month includes amending the Zoopla Member Terms and Conditions to specifically prohibit the inclusion of “No DSS” restrictions on the site, implementing a process to remove “No DSS” references from listings uploaded to the Zoopla website, and removing the “No DSS” fields in its cloud-based software products.

Bryant added: “We proactively sought the views of our largest lettings-focused agents to ensure the above measures were undertaken on a collaborative basis and received significant support in respect of our proposed additional measures.”

Poll: Do you agree that there should be a ‘blanket ban’ against rental listings discriminating against benefits claimants?

PLACE YOUR VOTE BELOW

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    Not a problem, still won't take them.

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    Simple, wont take any tenants via Zoopla

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    Easy to get over this, just don't mention in the advert.
    Then when they apply and don't meet the criteria, they can be rejected.
    The government are a joke, trying to tell us to whom we can rent our properties.
    I expect that Rightmove, where my properties are advertised will follow suit, but this will result in an inconvenience to tenants on welfare who are looking to rent through these platforms.

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    Totally agree. This ban only wastes everyone's time and will demoralise DSS tenants facing multiple rejections whereas before they knew what properties to avoid. Now they'll not know what decent properties might have been available to them. Like all loony lefty ideas this is another race to the bottom.

     
  • Paul Barrett

    Subject to status to replace
    No DSS

    So a tenant applicant calls and is asked whether they would be receipt of any HB if they achieved a tenancy.
    An answer in the affirmative will result in the response that the status is inadequate.............Goodbye!!!
    So lots of wasted phone calls and wasted time responding to them.

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    The headline should read 'Zoopla discriminates against landlords who want working tenants only'

    I don't have a problem with it personally as there are tenants who are on HB for genuine reasons and those that do it for a living but it is about time the government actually realised who actually owns the properties! Landlords should have the right to pick and choose who they want living in their house!

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    Of course landlords should be able to choose, what has it got to do with them?
    If it all goes wrong and there is rent arrears and damage, then it is us who are going to have to foot the bill, not the government.
    I like Paul''s suggestion of 'subject to status', although, they will probably outlaw this as well.

     
  • Paul Barrett

    But this is precisely the point.
    Govt DOESN'T believe private LL should be able to determine who should occupy their property asset.
    It is almost a sort of compulsory billeting.
    Wartime is when that usually occurs.
    Rarely are DSS tenants able to meet the rental requirements of the LL.
    Plus there is the situation that before HB is qualified for the LL has to issue a TA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????????????????????
    What idiot LL would issue a TA without absolute certainty that sufficient HB would be available to meet the rent requirements!?

  • Paul Barrett

    As regards the usage of

    Subject to status to replace
    No DSS it seems perfectly acceptable for that phrase to be used by banks for their credit products.
    Very few DSS tenants are able to obtain credit.
    So would banks be banned from using the phrase as it indirectly discriminates against those on welfare!!!!???

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    We should all now book appointments to view any mansions advertised on Zoopla as they clearly don't believe affordability is a consideration in deciding where to live. I think there's a big house at the top of the Mall that's unoccupied quite a lot, and an even bigger one in Windsor - but not sure about the EPC's.

    Paul Barrett

    There is also an establishment called the Tower of London
    I'm sure many of the UK population would be delighted if LL were housed there!!

     
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    I don't think it has a good enough EPC rating so could only be owner occupied. I wonder if only eating beef makes any other insulation unnecessary?

     
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    Complete waste of time for everyone.
    It’s a simple case of agent quoting that the landlord is considering all applications but will be picking the one with a good credit rating good salary and able to provide checkable refs

    Paul Barrett

    The problem here would be that a degree of admin would be required.
    The admin for DSS tenants should be a minute on the phone.
    Question to person on the phone.
    Do you need HB to support rent.
    If yes then it is goodbye you DON'T meet our status requirements.
    There are going to be many wasted phone calls being made when before No DSS achieved the same objective of LL not being prepared to take on DSS tenants.
    To read the words No DSS takes
    I second.
    To achieve the same thing on the phone could take 2 minutes.
    That is 2 minutes wasted from LA and LL time.
    How many DSS tenants would be wasting their time calling to receive the same response in 2 minutes that they could achieve by reading for 1 second the words

    No DSS!!

     
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    And any agent that says to you the landlord. “We have to consider all enquiries” should be told fine but I will be having the last say on who goes in my house not you not the tenant & not the gov

    Paul Barrett

    The response to the LA from the LL would be that the LA is to ascertain whether the tenant applicant would need HB to pay rent and if so they are to be automatically rejected by the LA for that particular LL.
    A LL is perfectly entitled to reject a DSS tenant because of the payment method.
    It is also pretty academic as especially in the South very few HB tenants can afford the rents charged.
    My rents are double the LHA rate so why would I bother even considering referencing a HB tenant!!!???

     
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