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Court rules that landlords must not discriminate against benefit claimants

A second UK court has ruled that ‘No DSS’ is unlawful, after a renter won a legal trial against housing benefit discrimination. 

Stephen Tyler, who is disabled, successfully argued that ‘No DSS’ discrimination is unlawful and in breach of the Equality Act after he was prevented from viewing properties listed with a letting agency Birmingham estate agent due to the fact that he was receiving housing benefit.  

Tyler and his family lost their home in February 2018 after being served with a  Section  21 eviction notice.  


But when looking for a suitable new property to rent, Tyler was told by estate agent Paul Carr that it was ‘company policy’ not to rent to people who receive housing benefit. 


The discrimination Tyler faced was deemed in breach of the Equality Act at Birmingham Ciunty Court because it disproportionally affects disabled people, who are more likely to need some support with paying their rent. 

Her Honour Judge Mary Stacey ruled that: “There is no doubt that there was a blanket policy that no one in receipt of housing benefit would be considered for the three properties. It put the claimant and other disabled people at a particular disadvantage when compared to others.”

She added: “We make a declaration that the defendant has unlawfully indirectly discriminated against the claimant by imposing a provision, criteria or practice (PCP) that those in receipt of housing benefit could not apply to those three properties.”  

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Poll: Do you accept that refusing DSS tenants is discrimination?


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    Let them view and waste their time then, landlords chose who lives in their properties, we don't have to give a reason to those that are unsuccessful.

    • 18 September 2020 14:27 PM

    A Govt. has NO RIGHTS to tell me what to do with my property.
    Can they then do it to my car, my fridge, my bed........They are ALL items I have worked for and paid for.

    It DOES NOT belong to the Govt.

    I really like the idea though of bypassing the discrimination bit, by agreeing to viewings and then keep going through the whole process and then last minute saying sorry ,I have had a much better offer.
    Bye Bye.....

    • 18 September 2020 19:34 PM

    Love it............
    And take them right to the very end..........

    Bunch of shi*es.......

    One day these scroungers will get a comeuppance!

    Mark Wilson

    I think history will prove you to be wrong in the extreme. Mr Crisp demonstrates the reasons w why bigot mum and pop Landlords are toast. He thinks owning a few grotty flats gives him rights above society.



    What it does do is give him the right to decide who he'll allow to live in his property - and no loony lefties can take that away from him, no matter what self-defeating schemes they may dream up.

    Market forces should always dictate who has the right to a property - the highest bidder or the most suitable candidate, if the owner decides to use other criteria - but that is very unlikely to include the receipt of benefits and cannot be made to do so in a free democratic state.

    Incidentally very few rental properties are grotty when the tenants move in and the condition on tenants vacating does unfortunately often match the socio economic standing of the tenants. The payment of rent only four weeks in arrears is not the main reason why most landlords will always operate a no DSS policy. The main reason is the poor condition that properties are returned in by the more indolent and feckless members of our society.

    Mark Wilson

    Politically discrimination of any kind has to be outlawed, so your rights as a BTL speculator are always going to be secondary to society's intent. Mum and pop BTL, RIP.



    Your mask has totally slipped - showing pure bare faced jealousy!

    No one in a free country will ever be able to dictate to an owner of any property who should have the use of it. That principle will endure whether the property is a car, bed, house or anything else. Generations before us fought and died for this principle which you clearly despise because you're jealous of those more enterprising and successful than you - a common leftie trait!

    Mark Wilson

    What on earth are you talking about? Being a landlord will become an area of life that society will stamp out discrimination. If you run a business you can’t
    discriminate so why should housing be any different. Not sure where jealousy comes into this either. Society one way or another all move forward and BTL is firmly one for change.

    Mark Wilson

    And, on jealousy, not sure what you are talking about? Jealous of what? Owning a few more BTL flats? Sorry....not me.


    Every other business can rightly discriminate against people who can't pay - so can landlords if they do so properly. No business says "no poor people" but that is usually their totally justified business model.

  • David Lester

    Just stipulate that rent is in advance and Guarantor is required.

  • icon

    Totally agree with both above. Rents must be paid monthly in advance with guarantors checked out and maximum deposits taken.

    Nothing will change with this ruling - just a waste of time for both parties which could easily have been avoided by using common sense.

  • icon

    We have a good proportion of tenants who for various reasons claim benefits. They prove to be equally good and reliable tenants. None of us knows what tomorrow brings or how our circumstances may change.

    • 18 September 2020 10:42 AM

    I DON'T think you quite understand why many LL refuse to have anything to do with UC tenants.

    It is nothing personal.
    It is just the completely dysfunctional system that purports to provide for welfare claimants.
    We LL have no doubt that the vast majority of UC claimants are good people.

    Our beef is not with them it is with the dysfunctional UC system.

    From a LL perspective the old HB system at least worked to a large extent.
    But that took years to get right.

    LL don't have years to bother with the new system.
    If there is any discrimination then it is of this dysfunctional process.
    We LL don't blame the claimants.

    For myslf my rents are double the LHA rate so clearly unless very desperate I'm not going to consider UC tenants.

    Apart from the fact that my local council requires a valid AST BEFORE a claim is considered!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!????????????????????
    Change the system and then LL might consider UC tenants at the outset of a tenancy.

    Many LL who ordinarily wouldn't accept UC tenants are now finding they have them!!!
    Courtesy of CV19!!

  • icon

    I agree. As usual it is the system which is letting the benefit tenants down by biasing everything against the landlord and government refusing to recognise that the system is broken. All could be remedied with a few adjustments to the system to bring everythiong into line with what is normal peractice in the PRS so both sides are getting a fair deal.

  • Matthew Payne

    These are not victories for DSS tenants, these are simply judgments that Agents adopted and communicated a blanket ban, which is the bit that was unlawful. All they have achieved is changed the way that these tenants applications are now rejected, not improved their chances of securing a property. That will never change until such time as HMG improves the way the system works however much noise Polly wants to make about it.

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    • 18 September 2020 15:39 PM

    Perhaps Polly might like to consider things asymmetrically.

    What would be the response of most LL if the repossession laws were changed in cases of only rent defaulting that the LL could if he chose to remove rent defaulting tenants 14 days after 1st rent default with Police assistance if necessary.

    Magically practically every property suitable for renting would become available.

    The reason; LL would know they could recover their properties in cases of rent defaulting very quickly.

    Note I only quote in cases of rent defaulting.
    Any other reason has to go through the usual tortuous processes.
    But we all know that repossession is usually as a result of rent defaulting tenants.

    Surely NOBODY would support feckless tenants poncing off a LL resources to avail themselves of FREE accommodation courtesy of penal Govt regulations!!??

  • icon

    A second Court ruling to say NO DSS is unlawful, that's fine as sure as Hell you'll be paying, can we say no to working Tenants or would that be unlawful as well. Please don't forget to tell the Audit Commission to leave space in the debit column for the additional false claimants. Congrat's

  • icon
    • 18 September 2020 19:55 PM

    I t easy to just not to print you do not want DSS tenants.

    Anyone is welcome, but it will not take much effort to find they actually ARE DSS tenants or UC tenants.

    I can think of reasons to say no to any applicant:

    I don't like them
    They have no documentation that satisfies me
    They smell
    They have animals
    They cannot provide a proper deposit
    They cannot provide a guarantor with the right credentials
    They have children
    They are just living together
    They have funny names
    They miss an appointment for more than 2 minutes
    They cannot spell English properly
    I think they are feckless
    I just feel they will not pay the rent.

    Missing any of that lot, and they do not get my house. NO WAY!

    It is MY house.
    I and I alone who can decide who lives in MY owned property.

    Just me....No law and no Government can dictate who has the privilege to live in my property.

    These crooks ONLY own the property for the one month upfront they pay...Any default means it is then I decide what happens.

    From the moment they default, the property belongs to me 100%

  • icon
    • 20 September 2020 19:53 PM


    Yet again you have to be taken to task about your stupid comments.

    You must stop referring to LL as speculators.

    LL are business investors mostly for the long term but that would be irrelevant.

    LL are business investors like anyone else who chooses to invest in a business.
    Most such business investors use leverage to start their business.

    Very few businesses are able to grow from the start without leverage assistance.

    LL are no different.
    Most business investors are termed as entrepreneurs and as such it is perfectly reasonable to describe LL as such.

    Knowing your weird left- wing views you would probably describe entrepreneurs as speculators.
    That would just confirm your weird perspective on anyone who strives to succeed in business.

    You seem to have a weird idea that society will be able to control a private LL property.
    This will never happen directly though of course the ridiculously lengthy repossession process and the current eviction ban very effectively gives control to Govt of the LL private property assets.

    That will only be a temporary phenomenon.

    Relatively normal service will eventually resume.
    The small LL will continue though certainly not in the current numbers.
    Leveraged LL in particular are extremely vulnerable to the dysfunctional eviction process.

    So it will be these issues that cause a reduction in the numbers of small LL.

    There will NEVER be a situation where the Govt will be able to force LL to accept UC tenants at the outset of a tenancy.
    LL of course are not permitted to discriminate anyone who has 'protected characteristics'

    Currently ANY tenant who relies in full or in part on HB is NOT included within those protected characteristics.
    The fact that there are many tenants reliant on HB is irrelevant as far as a LL is concerned.
    If that means those tenants are rejected by LL who prefer not to take on UC tenants that is their choice.

    No particular tenant has the right to utilise private assets if the owner doesn't wish to let them.
    The domestic status of any particular tenant is IRRELEVANT.
    It is not the fault of any LL if certain tenants are reliant on welfare.
    In a free society which is what our one purports to be private assets are still able to be controlled by the owner.

    Govt clearly intends to make things even more difficult for small LL.

    That is their political prerogative.

    However don't underestimate the tenacity of the small LL.
    For the little man property still remains in their investor timeline a superior investment than other forms of business investment.

    It will take even more extreme actions to force the small LL out of business.

    So your desire to see the end of small LL I suggest will be frustrated by the determination of small LL to remain in business.

    They will never be forced to take on UC tenants against their will.
    Govt could never try to impose this as it would be against the HR of LL to force them into contracts they didn't wish to enter.

    Essentially such tenant types will never be permitted to control the private assets of those who don't wish to let to them.
    If that day ever occurred Communism would have arrived.
    I know in your deluded world that is something you would welcome but the vast majority of the UK population do not want Communism as a societal model.

    Until that very unfortunate day if it ever arrives private citizens like LL will be able to let their private assets to whom they so choose irrespective of the domestic effects on such applicants etc.

    However I do agree with you that the direction of travel is certainly moving towards effective sequestration of private property.
    As such small LL in particular will need to take view on whether private letting is a viable business model anymore.

    This in fact was the case about 45 years ago.
    It certainly ISN'T impossible that the PRS could return to those bad old days.
    You may be delighted by such a prospect but I can assure you that millions of tenants would not thank you at all as millions of rental properties are sold meaning a total loss of that stock to existing and future tenants.

    Don't imagine for one moment that such sold ofc stock would be bought by FTB or tenants.
    Those buyers could buy now but for various reasons don't.
    Supply isn't an issue.
    Affordability is.

    LL won't be selling off cheap.
    They like me will sell for full retail price.
    There are already signs that many LL of the smaller variety are indeed progressively selling off.

    This does not auger well for tenants who need an increasing not reducing rental supply to keep rents lower.

    Your weird enthusiasm for fewer small LL will result in ever increasing rents.
    Few tenants will thank you for the results of your weird ideological stance.

  • icon

    Its amazing the Bigotry LL's has to endure from the low life. I think History will prove how much LL's were wronged, especially when we are not there anymore and I for one am so sorry for ever being a LL, what for to be blaguarded, bullied, taxed to the eye balls, continuously stresses, one sacrifice after another 7 day's a week & every evening /night & week end unpaid work in connection with the business, run after everyone fix this and that that shouldn't be broken, just to put a roof over other peoples heads many of whom never made a contribution to the treasury in their but are treated like kings. We don't supply a few grotty Flats at all but first class accommodation always have done which we bring to the market at no cost whatsoever to the Government imagine that, no special treatment for us and we are despised for that. I think those sponger supporters should wake up to reality before they find themselves on their own & no one left to live off. I pay several C/taxes, Licensing fees, compliance fee, multiple certificates of every kind, maintenance costs, goods replacement on going for ever, oh I nearly forgot I have to supply the property as well, so for doing all this we're hated, discriminated against, why has Government not supported us even once, while benefit claimant /false benefit are treated like high society.



    Totally agree with everything you say! Just take comfort that you know that you are paying your way and making a positive contribution to society, even if not all those enjoying its benefits are fully deserving of them. I find that remembering that makes me feel better, especially when the internet is down or slow and I can't monitor in real time the several hundred pounds per day that my net worth is growing through rental income and increasing property values.

    Whilst I have no first hand experience, I suspect those non contributors are usually unhappy and dissatisfied with their lot as evidenced by the abuse of alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs in a vain attempt to find self respect and the pride which comes with success - or even just with putting in the effort required in the pursuit of success.

    • 20 September 2020 22:40 PM

    Unfortunately you have very neatly described the LL dilemma.

    Never has a group been so despised yet so desperately needed.

    So how do we react!?

    I suggest that inevitably UK LL will follow Irish LL out of business.

    This has led to a housing crisis in Ireland due to the numbers of LL who have sold up.

    Remember this reaction was caused by a far less onerous version of S24.

    So now there is a massive shortage of Irish rental accommodation.
    The Irish Govt is now desperately trying to encourage the former LL to return to the PRS.

    Unfortunately for the Irish Govt those LL are having none of it and consequently there remains a housing crisis or rather a massive shortage of rental accommodation.

    For some strange reason all these desperate tenants aren't buying up all the former rental properties which was supposedly the hope of the idiot Irish Govt...............funny that!!!!??

    You would have thought the UK Govt could see from the Irish experience what would happen in the UK.

    There is nothing to suggest that UK LL will behave any differently from the Irish LL.

    I believe that the slow exit of UK LL from the PRS is occurring.
    It will take some time before it is noticed that there has been a material change to PRS sector.
    But in a few years questions will be asked as to where all the LL have gone!?

  • icon

    My property with simple rules to be eligible to rent; not on UC, not on benefits, not a single mum, not a daily curry eater & not to have pets, and Are you employed, do you have right to rent and do you have a Sound guarantor if I require one. If you can’t meet these very simple rules of mine you don’t rent my property.

  • icon

    Be aware everything that happens in the Capital first, whether it be Boom or Bust take note. Things seem still quiet good up north so Robert this is a golden opportunity to cash-in the chip, flog the port Folio immediately before the bottom falls out of the market, the difference is that loss could well cover your c/gains tax and before Gov' puts additional taxes in place to prevent you, they want to keep you there to be able to torture you in the future. I missed the boat I wanted to do it a few years ago but the first Lady wouldn't agree with me Bless Her. LL's like to sell one off each year but no time for that now. I know it will be against the grain and against everything you ever believed-in but this is the situation now facing you and was always going to happen due to unjust laws, even without Corona. I have been through about 5 recessions not like I haven't a clue as people might think and I told everyone in 2007 including my MP it was going belly up, everyone disagreed then but when it happened they turned around and said no one knew, that was only minor blip to whats coming.

  • icon
    • 21 September 2020 10:59 AM

    Yep since 2008 we have had a zombie economy supported by WTC.

    There should have been mass unemployment and bankrupted businesses.
    The banks should have gone bust.

    Politically Govt couldn't stomach the outfall so they borrowed to subsidise just like they are doing now.
    No such thing as real capitalism.
    All Govts turn Socialist when events could see the incumbent Govt booted out next GE.

  • icon

    We must not discriminate against benefit Tenants which I don't but I prefer working tenants as I have always worked myself but I don't ban them either. However sometimes I acquire them by default when they come they are working, then they realize and see their friends on the easy option and before you know it they are on it too, they are not stupid the system in specially made for them, now if they have to quarantine get £500 it looks like if you are stupid enough to work & to pay tax no support.
    HM0 licensing disaster which only applies to one half of the community its un-fair costly & total discrimination against LL's who prefer not to let to DSS which no doubt the majority of Family's are on benefit I never have a family come to me not on Benefit. I have a house vacant and today I was approached by an Agent wanting to let it but when he heard it's a Licensed HM0 he wasn't interested. I did know the Agent prior but he said HM0's are legally too difficult and wanted housing for Family's on benefit with is much easier for him and don't need to do all the checks., now then why is this not against the Law this is Discrimination and to make matters worse I never wanted to be a HM0 LL it was imposed on me at great cost,


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