The ‘No DSS’ issue has been effectively settled by a landmark court case, but a new document for MPs says ‘affordability checks’ may be increasingly used when approving tenancies.
The 32-page document - Can Private Landlords Refuse To Let To Housing Benefit Claimants? - has been prepared by the House of Commons Library, and can be read online by the general public.
It gives a thorough history of the debate over whether landlords could - or should - deny benefit claimants potential tenancies.
It also gives detailed accounts of the case earlier this year, when a disabled single parent was refused housing by a letting agent based on her receipt of Housing Benefit. The court ruling said such a refusal was in breach of the Equality Act 2010.
A more recent case - considered in Birmingham County Court last month, when the judge held that a letting agency operating a blanket ‘No DSS’ policy amounted to unlawful indirect discrimination against disabled people - is also detailed in the document.
The new document chronicles the long-standing argument over Local Housing Allowances and the policy that this is typically paid to claimants rather than landlords.
Restrictions to LHA, introduced throughout the past decade, have added to landlords’ concerns about the gap between LHA and market rent levels. The roll out of Universal Credit has made landlords’ worries even greater.
Inevitably the document also gives space to organisations less sympathetic to landlords - Shelter gets significant attention, and its comments quoted range from the LHA issue to the recent ending of the eviction ban.
You can read the entire document by clicking on the link at the top of this House of Commons summary.