At a recent Parliamentary event Justin Madders, MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston, met representatives from Shelter, the UKs largest housing and homelessness charity to learn about the discrimination against people on benefits that is taking place on high streets up and down the country.
“It is shocking to hear that ‘No DSS’ practices – where people in receipt of benefits are barred from applying to rent a private property – are common.
“Under the Equality Act 2010, it’s unlawful to indirectly discriminate based on things like, gender, disability or race. ‘No DSS’ adverts and other exclusionary practices can breach the Act via indirect discrimination, as they disproportionately harm women and disabled people, who are more likely to receive housing benefit.
“Given that there are over one million private renting households in England who receive housing benefit, this means that the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of people may have come up against this type of discrimination in recent years.
“A survey found that the main reason given for ‘no DSS’ policies were problems with payment and level of Housing Benefit/Universal Credit.
“Reliability in paying the rent should be treated in the same way for everyone, by judging each applicant on their merits. However, no DSS practices prevent tenants on housing benefit from even being considered. No one is telling landlords to let properties to renters who can’t afford them, but landlords and agents can’t bar people from properties simply for being on benefits and need to urgently consider their position.”