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Government urged to simplify the benefits system to prevent discrimination

Nationwide were among a small group of mortgage lenders asked to give evidence at a select committee yesterday on restrictions around letting to tenants in receipt of benefits.

After Natwest came under fire in October last year over the case of a landlord refused a remortgage because the property was rented to a tenant in receipt of housing benefit, the committee began an investigation into No DSS: discrimination against benefit claimants in the housing sector.

The landlord was told that to comply with bank rules, she would have to evict her longstanding, vulnerable tenant, which she refused to do.


The committee then widened its inquiries to take in other potential forms of direct or indirect housing discrimination against benefit recipients, which led to Natwest and other lenders announcing policy changes in response, in order to end “no DSS” discrimination.

Paul Wootton, Nationwide’s director of home propositions, who gave evidence to the committee yesterday, said: “Nationwide and The Mortgage Works do not place restrictions on landlords letting to tenants on benefits – and welcome the fact that many other lenders have also now reviewed their own practices. However, as only around one third of privately rented properties are mortgaged, such changes can only have limited effect.

“Simplifying the benefits system and the way payments are made seems pivotal to encouraging landlords, already under growing financial pressures themselves, to consider renting to tenants on benefits – as well as a specialist housing court to provide fast and effective experiences for all.”

Other witnesses to give evidence included representatives from Shelter, National Westminster Bank plc, The Co-operative Bank, Hunters Property Group, OpenRent, Your Move, and Shepherds Bush Housing Association.

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Poll: Do you agree that simplifying the benefits system and the way payments are made is pivotal to encouraging landlords, already under growing financial pressures themselves, to consider renting to tenants on benefits?


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    We were assured by a member of the Housing Options Team that anyone on UC who failed to pay their rent we could claim and have it paid directly to us. A former working tenant went into arrears and claimed UC. I completed the form on .gov.uk and also applied to Housing Options. 3 months later tenant is still be paid and we have received nothing. We have inherited another claimant who isn't paying their rent I can't even get Housing Options to respond. Most definitely a system that isn't working.

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    I can't see this happening, I will still be saying NO DSS leave then to the local council to home

    John Cart

    Most definitely, we will not touch anybody that is on UC because the clowns that administer UC are a nightmare to deal with.

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    As I have said on previous articles, saying No DSS saves everyone time, hassle and embarrassment. Not being able to say so simply wastes everyone's time and puts even more pressure on benefits claimants as they will no longer have a quick and easy way to establish which properties they can rent.

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    Hi Robert.
    You have pointed out the absolute stupidity of this, as whatever happens, we are going to find out pretty soon if a proposed tenant is on benefits or not and they will be rejected forthwith.
    Another ridiculous attempt at political correctness, which is of no use to anyone, landlord or tenant.


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