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How tenants pay rent is no business of landlords, claims Shelter

Campaigning charity Shelter claims that in one part of the UK alone, some 75,000 tenants have been discriminated against by landlords.

The Welsh arm of the charity, in a statement, says: “It is unlawful to discriminate against anyone looking to rent in Wales. Despite this, over 75,000 people across Wales reported discrimination when trying to find their current home.

“More than one in three landlords do not – or would prefer not to – let to people who are entitled to benefits.


“We know that it is a devastating experience to have found a place to call home, only to be turned down from renting or even viewing that home because of your gender, sexuality, ethnicity or disability.

“Things don’t have to be this way. Sign our pledge and say no one should be denied the right to a safe home because of discrimination. It’s time to put an end to this unlawful practice.”

The pledge in question is a pro-forma on the Shelter website, which also includes an option for the user to be updated on how to get involved in fund-raising for the charity.

An article written under the name of Shelter Cymru in the Welsh online publication The National says: “We know that many landlords and agents rightly assess a tenant’s ability to afford a home and making sure we don’t set people up to fail is fundamental to preventing homelessness. 

“However, there is a stark difference between affordability checks and then turning people away from an affordable home because of who they are or whether or not they are entitled to benefits. 

“How tenants pay their rent is not the business of landlords or agents. Nor is a tenant’s sexuality, age, religion or any other characteristic. You wouldn’t dream of people being turned away from a supermarket for trying to pay for their groceries with benefits – so why is this such an entrenched part of the housing sector?” 



The article also says: “Our soon-to-be-published landlord survey showed that more than one in three landlords do not – or would prefer not – to let to people who are entitled to benefits.

“This is particularly sinister, given that even before the pandemic, around half of the population in Wales were in receipt of some sort of benefit - and we know that people entitled to benefits disproportionately have one or more protected characteristic. 

“Whatever the reasoning behind the discrimination they faced, the impact it has on people being ostracised is vast. Home is everything. Without good homes, it is impossible for us to lead healthy, happy and productive lives.

“So to find the perfect place and see it snatched away from you because of stigma and bigotry is – as we’ve seen – devastating.  

“It doesn’t have to be this way. As well as binding UK case law stating that benefits discrimination is unlawful, in Wales we have additional protections in place to defend tenants from being discriminated against.”

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  • George Dawes

    Wales ?

    Nuff said

  • Don Holmes

    If, as in supermarkets it was cash on delivery without the option to have to wait maybe 4-8-10 weeks for payment, if you are lucky. Then I’m sure more LLs would be more agreeable to accepting the system, which in the majority of cases is the issue, not the applicant!


    I am sure the supermarkets would be delighted if you ate half the food whilst stringing them along regarding payment and forcing them to pay legal fees to recover what is left of the groceries after non payment...

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    With the LHA set so far below market rent how exactly are UC recipients supposed to clear financial referencing? We want long term sustainable tenancies. We don't want to condemn people to living in poverty. We can use a benefit calculator and see how much each component of a household needs in UC terms. In this area most 2 bedroom properties are well over £200 a month more than the LHA. That means people would need to use part of the UC amount meant to cover their personal or child costs to pay part of the rent. Or they could possibly work more but we know the DWP have first dibs on any extra money they legally earn, reducing the UC top up by 55p for every extra £1 of take-home pay. So to get the extra £200 a month for the rent they would need to earn about an extra £700 gross.

    If we have vacant properties at anywhere close to LHA rent we are inundated with applicants. These will be a mixture of people with a UC entitlement and people who are fully self financing. We can only let the property to one applicant. Every applicant will think they should be the chosen one and it's not fair if someone else gets it.

  • John Ahmed

    More political rubbish from Shelta
    It's got everything to do with the landlord. Landlords do not want anti social, criminal or scruffy lazy individuals making a mess of the property. As for the supermarket statement it us stupid. You pay cash before you receive your goods.

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    Careful selection of tenants and choosing wisely is not discrimination, just good business sense.

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    As with everything the minority have ruined it for the majority, most people who receive assistance of whatever degree are normal hard working honest people but the few that would rather spend their benefits on the 60" tv or their smoking/drinking habit have spoilt the reputation of the tenants that do have to look at receiving these benefits to make ends meet. I have a couple of tenants in properties that look after them as if they were their own receiving UC and as Robert Brown suggests it is careful selection rather than just finding a landlord a tenant that needs to be priority.

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    • L C
    • 11 March 2022 09:07 AM

    Will Shelter be compensating landlords who lose rent due to fraudulent housing claims?

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    They just don't get it. If they would take the time to understand how impossible it can be to try to deal with LHA or UC payments stopping, starting, being paid direct then just stopping with no information, massive arrears building up and basically a system that doesn't care at all about paying landlords rent then they might start to focus on the correct thing. If I knew there was someone I could directly communicate with regarding every LHA tenancy and they knew it was important to keep rent being paid, and on time, I'd be much happier to rent to LHA tenants. THAT is the real problem.

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    Only tenants in full time work need apply, that's the simple fact, not interested in anyone else, and that includes students, my property my rules.


    A lot of people in full time work receive UC top ups.
    Apparently it's possible to be a higher rate tax payer and still have a small UC entitlement now the earnings taper has been adjusted.


    Agreed Jo, but at least they are working like I have all my life, I don't do free loaders of any kind

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    I too have the view ….. my property, my decision. They keep pushing it, more of us will pull out and the tenants will suffer. My job brings me into contact with those who do not work at all, and are on full UC , there is zero chance I would ever let to them…… not a hope. The ASB, Noise, Cannabis grows, Drug use, etc….. I have seen to much.

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    As landlords we have had many of our basic rights over our own property eroded. We cannot afford to lose the right to choose the apparently best long term tenant for our property. As usual the governments failings with UC, denying the landlord an opportunity to specify how they would like the benefit to be paid, or any mens of having a contact to discuss any problems that may rise is now being blamed on the landlord as usual. People keep talking about level playing fields and levelling up. How about levelling up with landlords and actually consulting them about the problems that exist and coming up with workable solutions which work for all parties so the PRS is encouraged to supply more properties not less.!

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    One of the most worrying things about the article is the fact that half the population of a country are on benefits, just shows how screwed our society is.

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    Have they forgot the simple difference between simple purchase and rental ?
    Why don't they compare with purchase from supermarket and purchase of properties ?
    Let the councils, government buy housings to purchase the properties from rent them and also compare the work involved etc etc

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    Are they asking Mortgage companies to accept benefit applicants too? Or any other financial application for that matter? It’s a simple case of testing affordability. I have lots of benefit tenants that I’m very happy with but if someone came to me with benefits as proof of income I would want to know how much they are getting and how long that has to run? For example they may be on a three bedroom rate but their circumstances show that rate only has a very short time left to run.

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    This report says:

    We know that many landlords and agents rightly assess a tenant’s ability to afford a home and making sure we don’t set people up to fail is fundamental to preventing homelessness.

    So the fact that benefits are means tested, by excluding tenants on benefits we are assessing their affordability.

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    Due to added expenses of having benefit tenants Its still no thanks from me. My insurance company raised my premiums when they found my tenants were on benefits, it’s wrong that insurance company can discriminate and charge higher premiums.


    Insurance companies are not biased and clearly regard tenants on benefits as higher risk - as should we all.

    Not all young drivers crash their cars. Not all older drivers are careful. Insurance companies work on reliable statistics based on huge numbers and landlords should heed what they think of benefits claimants as a group.

    It will be unfair on some benefits claimants, as high car insurance premiums are unfair on some young drivers, but that's life.

    Young drivers can build up a no claims bonus and tenants on benefits can build up a good credit rating over time. Until then landlords need to rely on statistical evidence like insurance companies do. Nothing personal, just good business sense.

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    If Shelter will stand as gurantor for the rent and my mortgage payments and cover damage costs, then I would take on any tenant whom they may recommend


    I wouldn't trust them to pay up and they have plenty of tame lawyers who love fighting landlords.

  • jeremy clarke

    Said it before and will say it again. If polly and her leftie cronies want landlords to follow their constant chanting, they should all be made to test drive the schemes that they dream up for at least 3 years. If, after that trial period they can, hand on heart, say they had no issues, then maybe landlords might listen.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Society ( should ) provide accommodation for those in receipt of benefit through Council or Social Housing.
    The fact that the state has exited from their responsibility, leaving 'choice' of having to look to Private sector, is not the 'doing' or fault of Private landlords.
    The [ clue ] is in the word 'Private' So-called tenant campaign groups would do well to point their finger at Government, rather than private landlords who are fulfilling a large section of benefit tenants.
    However, one's reputation ( and credit rating ) has consequences that are not going to be picked up by the private sector.

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    Sorry Shelter, the law and common sense say otherwise. Before I let someone have use of a £200k property, I absolutely will do the checks to satisfy myself that person presents as small a risk as possible of defaulting on their rent or ruining the property. If you don’t like it, buy some property yourself and run things the way you see fit - best of luck with that!


    I think it is outrageous that car hire companies discriminate against alcoholics with driving suspensions...

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    As a landlord with a tenant owing £10,000 partly due to Covid and no furlough payments, lying, then on UC sporadically from May 2021 to date, the 2/3 paid by UC of the full rent of £600pm isn't sufficient. The tenant fails to communicate/lies and has not handed over the housing benefit since Nov2021. The tenant has been under notice to leave since July 2021 but remains in the property and legal proceedings have begun with further expense to me.
    Why would private landlords take this risk?


    Well you can kiss goodbye to that money Karen, bet you'll never rent to anyone on benefits again will you ?

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    "How tenants pay their rent is not the business of landlords or agents" - Sorry but it is if there's a danger I won't be paid.

    "You wouldn’t dream of people being turned away from a supermarket for trying to pay for their groceries with benefits" - what a stupid argument. It's a lot easier to evict from a supermarket if something goes wrong and the costs involved are a tad different, no?

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    Well said all colleagues above. The govt., Councils, & many social do-gooders are the root cause behind this mess. Why not get to paying a fair market rent and DIRECT to LLs. Ah well that is too much common sense. Some Clown (Politician, govt employee) has previously said they want to get benefit claimants to learn to manage money. I would advise those dimwits let LLs manage their funds and payment rules and that lot might learn a thing or two! Many of these politicians, govt employees expect market pay rates, for themselves, but fail to understand a reasonable LL's expectation. They all see LLs as cash cows!! .

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    Who Discriminates against Tenants more than Shelter, they have continuously gone out of their way to damage the Private Rented Sector as much as possible. How does that help ?, at the say time provide no housing themselves, have Charity Status while we are abused, wronged, Criminalised, Penalised and taxed to the bone, about time people woke up to Shelter.

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    This from residential landlord web site (enough said) :

    The Residential Landlords Association (RLA)’s research exchange PEARL has compiled a survey of 2,200 landlords which discovered that 61 per cent of those with tenants on Universal Credit have experienced rent arrears. This is a vast increase in comparison to the 27 per cent recorded in 2016.

    It was found that on average, tenants on Universal Credit who were in rent arrears owed almost £2,400. This is a 49 per cent increase year on year.

    Over half, or 53 per cent, of landlords with tenants on Universal Credit have applied for an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA), where rent is paid directly to them rather than to the tenant. When applications were successful, it took an average of two months for this to be organised.

  • Carlo Rappa

    This can be say also for lender.

    Why dont they go after lender that are more discriminatory then discriminators.

    No matter how people pay than they should give a mortgage??

    If shelter is so concerned then they should take the onerous of paying LL a year in advance and they can get the money from tenant. Of course no admin fees should apply.

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    Actually yes Carlo maybe NRLA should be campaigning for Shelter with their £61m per year to pay LL's rent direct with full guarantor and let their precious 'discriminated' tenants pay them. You would see an overnight change in Shelter staff attitude. (funny really It would make them so frustrated in their purpose)

    Then the question would be would you take a Shelter sponsored tenant?


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