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Landlords accused of discrimination by charity and council

Richmond council in London is joining forces with the charity Citizens Advice to help stop what it calls ‘discrimination’ against renters who receive benefits.

It claims that every year large numbers of residents are unfairly locked out of the private rental market for homes because they receive some benefits to pay towards their housing costs.

Research by Citizens Advice Richmond shows that many landlords and letting agents refuse to consider tenants as soon as they discover that they receive benefits. 


And the council goes on to claim that people are often confronted with a blanket ‘No DSS’ (Department for Social Security), ‘No Universal Credit’, or ‘No Benefits’ policy even when they can demonstrate they can afford the monthly rent.

The joint campaign to End Benefit Prejudice against renters aims to raise awareness that any policy that automatically outlaws benefit claimants discriminates and is unlawful.

More than 40 per cent Richmond residents who receive benefits are working.

Lorna Reid, chief executive of Citizens Advice Richmond, says: “We know that long-standing myths about tenants receiving benefits are standing in the way of Richmond residents accessing the homes they need and can afford. We are calling on landlords and their letting agents to keep an open mind and treat all prospective renters fairly,

“Too many local people come to us unaware that the barriers they face finding a safe and suitable home are discriminatory and unlawful. This campaign will share stories of good tenants, with regular, reliable income who can afford the rent being asked and will pay on time and show landlords there is no reason to discriminate.”

And councillor Jim Millard, council spokesperson for housing, adds: “All residents need fair and equal opportunities to rent local homes and should not be excluded simply because they receive some form of benefits. We are calling on landlords to assess tenants’ ability to pay as fairly as possible and to avoid discriminating against them.”

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    Last week I wanted to hire an Aston Martin but I only had enough money to hire a small kia hatchback, will this charity and council please assist me in getting ‘my ‘ Aston Martin’ after all shouldn’t I have the opportunity to have it even though I can’t afford it?

  • Rik Landlord

    It's not up to charities or councils who we rent our privately owned assets to.
    Keep your nose out or YOU buy houses and rent them out!

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    I am glad they raised the subject of Discrimination. LANDLORDS are totally discriminated against.
    By the Government, Councils, Shelter, Generation Rent, Citizens Advice, Acorn, Alicia etc its a shameful attack on Private Landlords many of whom have dedicated their lives to providing first class accommodation to millions of Renters with Private Finance. Time to stop this Discrimination and for all those people to reflect on the their own non-contribution.

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    Landlords need to discriminate between those who will reliably pay the rent and look after the property from those that won’t.

    We are putting a very expensive asset in a strangers care, and so it is necessary to do everything you can to ensure you get the most responsible stable tenants you possibly can. For the less responsible and stable tenants - 2 clear options should exist. Firstly, the tenant changes their behaviour and builds up a demonstrable track record of responsibility and stability, or secondly - the council takes on the work and houses them in government funded properties.

    To expect private citizens to take on this risk is unrealistic, and most landlords would not entertain it unless the pay off was enough to mitigate the risk.

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    Pension credits fine…. A family where no adults have ever worked……no chance, our property, our rules.

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    Unless the council pays the whole rent, which they no longer do on account of the LHA rates being frozen, you simply won’t get the money off the tenant because they can’t afford it. So forget it.

  • Elizabeth Campion

    Hey I got a friend who never worked . Babies on benefits raised all the way . Free holidays off Barnardo's every year as poor family .
    Credit it to her she got a lovely semi detached council house, bathroom upstairs and down, patio doors into the garden, nice boating lake and park around the corner. Lounge, dining room etc I live in an old God knows what EPC rated cold house.
    More fool I for working and paying taxes.

  • Elizabeth Campion

    Omitted to right to the previous email on benefits. Bring on leveling up! I want my freebies

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    Affordability checks, the most important checks my agent carries out for me with new tenants, if they can't afford it they can't have it. I'm not a charity

  • David Lester

    PRS is a business not a charity! although the idiots in government do not realise it at present, however hopefully they soon will!

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    Andrew, it looks like Richmond Council and Citizens Advice don’t allow this to be factored in when choosing a Tenant.
    They want you to go bust what else could it be, THE WHITE PAPER , Section 24, Remove Section 21, Licensing £1500 application fee in L’don for Mandatory, energy costs, insurances, EPC’s that don’t apply to others, squeeze rents, cap or force reduction. Mortgage rates climbing at an alarming rate it seems they think sky rocketing interest rates don’t apply to Landlords.
    Maybe tell lenders to give Mortgage’s to Benefit Claimants and tell tax payers to cover it, that would be good why didn’t they think of that.

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    Elizabeth, there are thousands of those. Just take one for instance gave 18 years on it a so called single parent, various partners along the way no problem. Flat £1200. pm for years & years now more, her benefit money, the support money, free or subsidised child care, Child allowance, that’s not available to working couples (50k rule they just pay for it). One individual seems to me cost tax a couple of hundred thousand, not finished yet wait for the punch line, the Council advised she would loose the Flat when kid was eighteen, guess what she got pregnant again.


    I had one single mum a few yrs ago she was told she had to get a job when her daughter went to school, so she went to stay with her mum in Spain, then came back pregnant, these single mums are expert in milking the system


    Michael- Seen this many times over in my working day, what a sad state of affairs all this has become, gaming the system by producing new human beings ☹️

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    When advertising on Rightmove etc I would always state the minimum combined annual income required for the property. So, if the rent was £1000 per month, based on our referencing company's affordability requirement of three times the rent, the combined annual income required would be £36,000. The only prospective tenants I was discriminating against were those who couldn't meet this simple affordability check!

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    Also your mortgage company may stipulate affordability checks for the tenants.

  • jeremy clarke

    In this report, the following,
    "and the council goes on to claim that people are often confronted with a blanket ‘No DSS’ (Department for Social Security), ‘No Universal Credit’, or ‘No Benefits’ policy even when they can demonstrate they can afford the monthly rent."
    How do they demonstrate that they can afford the monthly rent? We will ask for wage slips, bank statements and current tenancy to "demonstrate" affordability, if someone is claiming all sorts of benefits, normally they cannot provide wage slips with proof of income - simples!

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    • 02 November 2022 14:21 PM

    Where is the Implied terms for customer care interests? The answer is for the UK-wide top civil-service departments' ring-leaders/government-blame-game politicians, do not give the customers (stakeholders, letting agents, tenants, landlords, investors) secondary legislation policies, without Implied terms in unfair trading practices as proven by the status-quos’ and in-between advisers’ transgressions or defiance of the Statute’s breaches of the unforeseen circumstances consumer/consumer contracts going right to the core of contract law (offer acceptance, consideration and consideration) -- by wiping out the customers (stakeholders, letting agents, tenants, landlords, investors) -- by goal-post shifting immediately before good-faith agreements are signed, which is hidden from customers (stakeholders, letting agents, tenants, landlords, investors) as the courts’ statutes implied terms are breached in a ‘corruption’ scenario as there are no evidence of statute’s implied terms, no evidence of delivery of houses
    The customers, respecting the stake-holders wishes, with a world-class contract law’s reasonable ‘skill and care’ (primary legislation/Implied + secondary legislation/express terms) systems can deliver, but the top UK-wide civil service departments’ -politicians and the road-blocking in-between advisers with for example the secondary legislation NIDirect ‘Private Tenancy Bill’ cannot deliver as breaches the happy marriage (implied + Express terms), by wiping out the customers (stakeholders, letting agents, tenants, landlords, investors) in stalemate over some sort of top UK civil-service -politicians unannounced system’s failure. The transgressions/defiance from the top, seemingly prevents the 2-way solicitors/courts from resolving the blame landlord stalemate in what is seen as a very hostile. coercive environment without empathy and mercy for customers
    With superficial Investigations, there is a big MISTAKE in the system: One may be lucky first time, but with the top civil-service departments’ management procedures ‘wokery’ systems’ and the wiped-out customers (stakeholders, letting agents, tenants, landlords, investors), the solution is a world- class contract law happy marriage (stakeholders, letting agents, tenants, landlords, investors)’, needing the Implied terms to FIX the broken top UK wide civil service ring-leaders – politicians’ ‘unresolved’ legal arguments from the goal-post shifting outset - by breaching the law of the land’s statute’ Implied terms’ reasonable ‘skill and care’. By unlawfully offering instead a secondary legislation Private tenancy Bill in unfair trading in a no, no customer Rejection scenario and another complaint. With hypocrisy or clarification, the UK-wide top civil-service ring-leaders departments – politicians seemingly care more about protecting their ‘wokery’ negligence MISTAKE, which never gets resolved with the blame and out-of-control losses passed onto the abandoned landlords in bad cases with the government in ‘denial’ seemingly in 6-years.

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    I think it's fair to say the system is at breaking point and that it (rather than landlords) discriminates against claimants. A great many landlords are very supportive of low income tenants.

    I have got some tenants who claim UC top ups and a couple more who will rely on top ups when they retire. They have proved over a period of time they are good tenants and so I artificially keep their rent at the ludicrously low LHA level. If those particular tenants moved out the properties would be relet at a far more realistic rent. The market rent for one or two of them may be close enough to LHA for the Local Authority to try and persuade me to take someone from one of their schemes or that they would provide a Discretionary Housing Payment top up.
    However, it has to be remembered that any of the lower priced rentals will be absolutely inundated with applicants. Both self financing and benefit aided. The landlord will have a huge choice of tenants and human nature is to help the strivers who are self financing by working long hours. Even better if they pass referencing which is far more likely if they can provide payslips and proof of employment.

    Government policies have forced us to put rents up. The government needs to ensure LHA is increased accordingly if they want benefit claimants to be able to afford PRS rent. Failing that they need to ensure best utilisation of existing Social Housing and that may mean building far more retirement Social Housing.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    If Housing Benefit matched market rent and was paid DIRECT to the landlord there would be Far, far less financial scrutiny.
    Ask the Councils how many extra Council houses they've build and brought to market, Mmm, that will go quiet.
    It all went to pot with the Govt' failed Universal Credit experiment. Neither Tenants nor landlords are happy with it.


    If housing benefits were to be paid direct I would only accept that on the sole condition the tenants were liable for any claw back and not myself. Without that I would not accept direct payment

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    I don’t know why LHA should be increased that means they are in direct competition with working Tenants who are paying the taxes to keep them for doing nothing and all day to do it, That means they would have priority over working Tenants and grab what is available while other guy is too busy at working for them.


    If LHA matched market rents I would still favor a working tenant over a work shy scrounger, if that's discrimination then so be it.


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