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Londoners on housing benefits are ‘treated like second class citizens’

Renters in London are being discriminated against ‘because they are on benefits’, according to ITV News London.

ITV News reporter Katie Barnfield interviewed a number of tenants on housing benefits and found that many are struggling to secure accommodation in the capital.

As part of Barnfield’s research, she called 50 letting agents across the capital asking about two bedroom properties, whilst pretending to be in receipt of housing benefit.


“I was asking about the cheapest properties available in each area - and yet, hardly any were available at all,” she said.

Out of every agent she called, Barnfield found just four properties where the landlord would even consider a benefit claimant as a tenant.

Just one landlord would consider her without a guarantor.  

Barnfield commented: “One of them [agent] told me I'd need a guarantor earning £43,000 year to rent a property which cost just £1,100 a month.”

She added: “One estate agent told me they hadn't had a property on their books which was available to a benefit claimant in seven years. Another said about a particular landlady: 'even if you were the Pope and you were on benefits, she wouldn't rent to you’.”

Mary Wilde is just one of those benefit claimants who have struggled to find a place to live. She was told to pay more than £6,000 in rent and fees upfront, because she couldn't find a guarantor earning over £28,000. She says she felt pressured to pay, because she could not find anywhere else available to her.

She said: “We are treated like second class citizens. As soon as you mention benefits, people's whole attitude changes towards you. It's not fair and it needs to stop. People aren’t being given a chance.”

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Poll: Do you think tenants on housing benefits are ‘treated like second class citizens’?


  • Kristjan Byfield

    Wouldn't it have been really great if Katie, after posing as a tenant, had called those same agents back as a journalist and spoken to the owner/managers to better understand why there is such an issue. The media are quick to suggest that landlords & agents are simply being discriminatory without understanding the structural underpinning that creates this mess. Shame.

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    • 21 May 2019 12:44 PM

    Indeed the journalist scum do not research the full story like a proper journalist would.
    Most journalists are just looking to create sensationalist stories based on fake news.
    I would like just one Journalist to report the story correctly.
    They could do this just by pulling together the content from LL on social media.
    Their continuing refusal to report the story correctly just proves they have a political agenda.
    Just once I would like a journalist to report the story correctly.
    It would be a purely factual exercise.
    People or journalists can then make political points based on that factual information.
    No LL would object to objective reporting!!
    As a matter of interest I discriminate against any tenants who can't afford my rents and they Include ALL HB tenants.
    Never have I found a HB tenant that could afford my rents.
    I bet there are lots of other tenants that might have liked to rent one of my properties but they chose not to as they couldn't afford my rents.
    There exists an all pervading sense of self-entitlement amongst HB tenants that seem to believe they have a right to rent on HB in expensive areas.
    Like anyone else not on HB they have to live where they can afford.
    I suggest moving up North where there are lots of cheap properties available for rent and sale.
    The HB classes should be economically cleansed to cheaper parts of the UK.
    Normal people have to economically cleanse themselves to cheaper parts of the UK.
    The SE is simply unaffordable to the welfare classes.
    They should MOVE!!
    The SE doesn't want or need them.
    Most of them don't bother working so it matters not if they are deported to the more affordable North where there are no jobs.
    Doing so would massively reduce the HB bill.
    There is no shortage of properties for rent or sale up North.

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    Kate or what ever your name is, we professional LL do not want UC tenants we have a business to run and it must run profitable or it will fail you stupid silly clueless twit. We dont have benefit tenants , i tell all agents when i use them No UC tenants. I tell persons myself No persons on benefit will rent my properties. Very simple and dors not cause any problems what so ever. Why are idiots like you stirring up trouble. Get a real job in the real world not the twilight zone.

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    Why should Benefit claimants be insulated from the financial realities? Most WORKING people can't afford £1100 per month rent so what makes those on benefits feel entitled to rent expensive properties? I can't afford to fly first class and accept I need to go economy. Do I feel second class? No because I feel self respect for living within my means, paying my own way and contributing to society. If I had to take hand outs then I might feel second class, but would I have any right to feel equal to those who were working hard and helping to keep me? I don't think so!

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    Hang on, hang on Paul. Sending all your HB claimants north would not be to the advantage of those hard working folk who currently live there. Why should they accept the southerners cast offs? Are you a NIMBY by any chance? I seem to remember back in the 70's when properties in London really took off many hard working but poorly paid Londoners sold up their houses and moved north buying a small business, garages, shops, hairdressers, laundrettes etc. The cry from the south then was "where can I get my car serviced? where do I go for a haircut?, where are all the high street services that communities rely on?". Many of those people who moved were on part benefits.
    I lived in London in those days, Clapham to be exact, Idi Amin did London a favour when he kicked out the Asians with British passports, those same Asians claimed those essential services, provided schools with teachers, hospitals with nurses and doctors. Think twice before trashing people, they all have a story and value.

    • 21 May 2019 16:32 PM

    Only trashing the 9 in 10 welfare scroungers that don't do any work in the SE
    If I had my way I would reduce the OBC to £15000.
    That is a good gross wage up North.
    Would mean SE HB tenants having to move up North.
    Having millions of SE HB tenants would be good for the Northern economy.
    Welfare scroungers tend to spend all their money in the local community.
    There is a surplus of rental property up North
    Deporting the feckless up North with their welfare monies would be a welcome injection of cash into the Northern economy.
    In the SE we really don't want the feckless.
    They cost a fortune and contribute nothing of much note.
    But their spending power transferred up North would be of great benefit to Northern communities.
    The SE wouldn't miss them at all as there is always too much tenant demand in the SE.
    Getting rid of the feckless up North would provide a filip to the Northern economy.
    It matters not that there are no jobs up North as the feckless haven't bothered with work in the SE so it matters not that there are no jobs.

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    I have just got one of my houses in Manchester back after benefit tenants left owing rent the police put the door through because the next door neighbour thought, as I did someone had died in there. In my 16 years of being in this game and bearing in mind I’ve seen a lot this the worst house I have ever entered 1000s of dog poos all over including kids bedrooms and excrement all over the couches flies rats in the garden u just wouldn’t believe how they where living. This isn’t reported it’s poor benefit tenants being exploited by nasty landlords my advice is ignore what these liars say and run your businesses how you see fit I pay no attention to these landlord bashers they can keep there ludicrous policies and shove em where the sun don’t shine I WILL DECIDE WHO RENTS MY HOUSES not some over privileged toffs in London who haven’t got a clue about the real world.

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    We won't touch tenants on benefits because we know in 99% of cases there will be problems getting the rent paid, leave these people to the local council to house.

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    • 21 May 2019 18:05 PM

    Would it make the LL case if there was a dedicated site where LL could upload the end result of rogue tenants vacating and the losses caused to the LL.
    If every LL did this who suffered from rogue tenants gradually it would be realised by Govt that rogue tenants are costing the Govt fortunes in lost taxes.
    Every LL who suffers from a rogue tenant delays the time when a rental property can start earning and paying tax.
    HMRC seem to be under the impression that rogue tenants don't affect their tax receipts.
    Well of course they do!
    A rogue tenant costs the LL lost income and HMRC lost tax on rental income.
    Plus the LL can offset against rental income the losses a rogue tenant causes.
    It is in the best interests of HMRC and LL that a rogue rent defaulting tenant is booted out as quickly as possible so that rent maybe paid with a new tenant which HMRC can tax.
    No rent no tax!
    I'm surprised HMRC haven't lobbied Govt for quick eviction for rent defaulting tenants.
    The amount of tax that isn't paid because of rent defaulting tenants is billions!!
    This is surely a disaster for the hard working taxpayer who is effectively subsidising the feckless lifestyles of the rent defaulting tenants.
    It just doesn't make any sense that Govt allow rent defaulting tenants to game the eviction process and cost HMRC billions in lost taxes.
    I just don't get it!!

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    In total agreement with this post Paul. See what avoiding hyperbole and putting a cogent well reasoned argument can achieve? 😊

    • 22 May 2019 11:29 AM

    I'm afraid no natter what we LL say the Govt treats us all like mushrooms.
    You know keeping us in the dark and feeding us bulls###!!!!
    I'm afraid the Govt is not for listening to LL etc.
    As such LL have to plan for the destruction that this Govt is wroughting on the PRS as a whole.
    Leveraged sole trader LL are done for.


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