Are Landlords Breaking The Law When They Demand No DSS?

Trying to find a place to live when you are on benefits can be near impossible.  Landlords already demand huge deposits, which few benefit claimants can afford.  Even then, claimants have to find a landlord who will accept Housing Benefit or  face being forced to lie about their financial circumstances.

This is one of the main drivers of homelessness. If you are unemployed, or on a low wage, and have no savings, it is near impossible to secure private rented accommodation.  Don’t expect the Council to help.  Unless you have children or can jump through the ever increasing number of hoops which means your Local Authority deems you ‘vulnerable’, then they are under no obligation to offer any help at all with housing..

The ubiquitous phrase No DSS is displayed in the windows of many Estate Agents and refers to their refusal to house benefit claimants.  Foxtons, one of London’s largest estate agents, on a quick phone call to their main number, say they will only accept benefit claimants in Guildford, Woking or Stratford, but not their swanky central London pads.  This includes, according to the person on the end of the phone at least, people claiming Disability Living Allowance (DLA), a non means tested disability benefit available to those in and out of work alike.  A call to a local Foxtons Office in Dulwich asking the same question brings the same answer.  They will not accept any tenants on benefits of any kind.

The refusal to accept DLA may simply be down to a mistake by their agents on the end of the phone.  Or it may mean that Foxtons will not accept disabled tenants in Central London.  It seems clear that anyone on an out of work health related benefit, such as Employment Support Allowance (ESA), would be wasting their time ringing Foxtons in the hope of securing a roof over their heads.

The phrase ‘No DSS’ is somewhat ludicrous since the DSS, the old Department of Social Security, doesn’t even exist anymore.  It is generally used as a euphemism to mean no-one on benefits at all.  This can be interpreted to mean someone on a low wage who qualifies for a Housing Benefit top up, as well as anyone on DLA, ESA, Income Support, Pension Credit or the unemployment benefit Job Seekers Allowance.

Indirect discrimination, in reference to disability, is defined in the Equalities Act as:

(1)A person (A) discriminates against a disabled person (B) if—
(a)A treats B unfavourably because of something arising in consequence of B’s disability, and
(b)A cannot show that the treatment is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

It is unlikely that the Courts would consider preventing disabled people from accessing housing as a legitimate aim.  This begs the question of whether the phrase ‘No DSS’ is a legal demand for landlords to make.

Private sector tenants have been so worn down by the erosion of tenants rights that this is not a matter which has drawn much scrutiny.  A blog on The Guardian last year posed the question:  Do ‘No DSS’ and ‘No students’ notices fall foul of the Equality Act?

On the question of students, and most people on Job Seekers Allowance, it seems that landlords are acting legally, if immorally, when they discriminate against them.  However for those on disability benefit the situation is not quite so clear.  According to The Guardian (which is checked by lawyers and stuff):

“As I have said, I am assuming that placebobutton considers that refusing to let premises to benefit claimants will be indirectly discriminatory on the grounds of disability because disabled people are more likely to be out of or unable to work and therefore in receipt of social security benefits. I don’t know whether this is indeed the case, but statistics to this effect will be necessary if someone is going to show that disabled people are put at a particular disadvantage by this criterion. If statistics can be produced which show that disabled people are significantly more likely to be on benefits than people who are not disabled, then unless a landlord or estate agent can show that refusing to let to benefit claimants is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim – and it is hard to see what such a legitimate aim might be – he/she will fall foul of the Equality Act.”

There are around 6 million disabled people in the UK.  Over half are claiming DLA.  Around a third are likely to be on ESA, the benefit which is for people unable to work because of sickness or disability.  A significant number of disabled people will also now be on Job Seekers Allowance, particularly after the Atos holocaust which has seen hundreds of thousands of disabled people stripped of health benefits.

No-one who is not disabled is claiming DLA (despite what this Government may pretend).  It seems pretty clear that discriminating against someone on the grounds they are claiming DLA is therefore illegal.  If it is really Foxtons’ policy not to accept anyone on any disability benefits then they are probably breaking the law.  This is no real surprise.  Foxtons are scum.

The definition of disability given in the Equalities Act may not apply exactly to everyone on DLA or ESA, and obviously many people on Job Seekers Allowance are not disabled.  But the evidence suggests that of the 6 million disabled people in the UK, most are on some form of benefit, and around a third are on an out of work benefit.

As a third of the non-disabled workforce aren’t on benefits, it is therefore easy to show that yes, disabled people are more likely to be on benefits than non-disabled people.  If The Guardian is correct then  it does seem that the phrase ‘No DSS’ is illegal.

Perhaps it is time to turn our attention to the unpleasant practices of money grabbing landlords as the housing crisis bites?

You can call Foxtons to question them in detail about their policies towards disabled people on benefits on: 0800 369 8667.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

95 responses to “Are Landlords Breaking The Law When They Demand No DSS?

  1. I used to rent privately and found a llandlord who was having trouble renting out the property due to the location, a small quiet village, although having to pay a fee up front to the letting agent even if I didn’t get the property was the worst thing as they could say NO to so many applicants and pocket £120 a time, I did get the property eventually but as I said and believe it was only due to location and the landlord having difficulty letting the place, that they took a chance on me

  2. also when you privately rent you need to fill in a credit rating form and have a guarantear (sorry bad spelling)

    • Letting agents stink, better off seeking to find a private renting option direct from the landlord, it’s a false illusion to think you are protected by going through a letting agent, many are parasites. Most of the time it’s just a visit to a solicitors office to sign an assured shorthold tenancy agreement, there will be a deposit but it’s usually signed by the landlord or lady in the presence of a solicitor who also signs, this is usually a six months on-going agreement where sometimes it’s signed every six months where a landlord cannot give notice of eviction inside that period until it comes to an end, but in many cases it rolls on with no six monthly agreement but this is the most common and In many respects insecure for the tenant as if provides the landlord with the legal right to give you just two months notice. If you are unable to find alternative renting they can take you to court but they take a dim view of landlords doing this and if they have many properties and show up in court maybe twice a year or more and should the tenant have health issues mentally or physically it’s rare for a judgement to be passed for enforced eviction until the tenant humanly able to vacate the property in reasonable time.

  3. In Edinburgh, a recent survey showed that only 3 of the private letting agents in the city were not breaking the law in some way, and there are a lot of letting agents in Edinburgh.

  4. Forget lettings agencies…….they’re all rip off bastards anyway. We found our gaff through the local paper. Our landlord’s cool & he doesn’t give a fuck where the money comes from,so long as he gets it.

  5. I had the same experience as someone above with a letting agent taking the fee then saying no anyway, it was because my old landlady had given me a bad reference apparently. Which was a farce, she had blamed for damage to the cottage, when it had been stripped bare over the years by the dodgy property manager (she was so drunk she hadn’t noticed) and was falling apart anyway.
    I’d also like to see a change in the law that means landlords can’t make you pay top up rent if the housing benefit doesn’t cover the whole sum. As my landlady keeps sending me letters saying I’ve not paid mine (I’m skint I can’t afford to) despite the fact my roof leaks and I have no fire door on my flat. A council inspector came and told her about all these things, we didn’t even have a central fire alarm system before he came, we have one of those now at least. But when he came back and saw no fire door or fixed roof all he could do was tell us he’ll write to her again and tell her to move faster. Still no fire door though, so if a fire did break out and spread to the corridor though the alarms would wake us we would probably die of smoke inhalation waiting for the fire services to rescue us.
    This government has been going on about cutting housing benefit the whole time it’s been in, but housing benefit hasn’t covered all the private rent ever anyway. I’ve always had to pay top up rent as the council sets what is a fair rent in their opinion after checking the property and will only pay that. Why should the landlord be allowed to charge more than a fair rent according to a government appointed person who checks the property according to it’s rules? Landlords should not be able to set their own rent, then maybe we’d finally see an end to all these money grabbing bastards who rent out dilapidated properties to people on housing benefit. Or sometimes even have the audacity to refuse people on housing benefit! They should have to invest in the building to make it better before they can charge more than housing benefit will pay, or it meets the governments rules on a higher fair rent .

    • You have a choice find somewhere else cheaper if you don’t like it .
      The market sets rental rates , the government wont set rental rates because its a restriction of trade plus many landlords have mortgages on the properties that need to be met

  6. It really is dreadful the way disabled are treated now,as my husband and I are both disabled and we have been told we need to move as social services,are not able to adapt current place we are in,it cost £2000 to move in Aug 11,and it will cost almost £2000 to move again now,due to health issues,and yet NO HELP FROM ANYWHERE and we wait nervously AGAIN to see if we will be accepted and have to be humiliated asking friend to be a guarantor,one time we both went to ask for help,me in a wheelchair,and the Job centre staff literally turned their backs on us,even though they had posted us out the wrong form…… its a shocking system

  7. I have been told by Agents that in many cases the Lender / Bank / Building Society for the buy-to-let Landlord often stipulates a clause that specifically excludes “DSS” claimants.

    And yes – Letting Agents are the lowest form of rip-off scum.

  8. It is ILLEGAL for any letting agency to charge an upfront FEE. I questioned this and reported the offender to the TSA ( Trading Standards Authority) after I was charged £150 to view a list of their properties. On investigation the agency closed shop and done a runner – with my £150.00. BASTARDS!!

  9. When you are a landlord who has had their property trashed over and over by people who do not work, you are not likely to take them again, the attitude of – it is free and it is not mine so why should I worry about it – is infuriating.

    • So if you had a property trashed by a working person, would you tar them with the same brush?? Not all, in fact not many, non-working people are scroungers or thugs. I am disabled through no fault of my own, I have a masters degree, am clean-living, responsible and work voluntarily as much as possible to earn my benefits and yet am still perceived as ‘DSS scum’. This attitude is outdated, highly prejudicial and discriminatory.
      Shame on you.

      • I am in the same category, having been made handicapped in Switzerland in 2010. I now have constant pneumonia, inter alia, as I was forced to move back to the UK once I could not work any longer. I have had to take two Swiss hospitals to court, their social services dept. and after having found only today that this discrimination by landlords would be banished under the Equality Act, I am somewhat relieved to hear that others have comprehension of the hell our lives become.

        Instead of cutting the usual benefits, especially those that hurt the sick and disadvantaged I would like to see the government cut pensions for housewives who have not worked at least 10 years. If their husbands can’t cope without a full-time wet nurse then they should be entirely responsible for their partner’s pension.

        We professional women manage to multi-task… but to expect women who have dedicated their lives to study and hard work to suffer even more hardship after paying into the system for so long is completely unjust.

        (Rhiannon, would you still be able to type as I am looking for assistance with my cases and I would rather pay a handicapped person if this is possible)?

  10. I agree. Private landlords have the right to choose who is living in their property. Why would you choose a tennant who does not work? This sense of entitlement to have everything handed to you really bugs me.

    • Why should we pay landlords to live on the earth that belongs to all?

    • regardless of weather a fully respectful potential tenant is in to much pain to work full time or on a cocktail of medication that deems it imposable to work as instructed in its guidelines yet is illegally stigmatised and stereotyped by guidelines that no longer lawfully exist it saddens me that many landlords
      wont understand this consensus unless they have a life changing disability of there own

    • human failure bugs me more so i can understand why a landlord wouldn’t want someone on housing benefit in occupancy under the current government as they reserve the right under atos healthcare to revoke benefits per annum thus resulting in a non payment what i find as inexcusable is the lack of support given to human beings with disabilities in the private sector by a government that clearly excuses itself by funding the public sector handsomely perhaps to handsomely when a high percentage of the disabled will never own there own home yet its illegal to offset housing benefit to a mortgage the government would rather pump higher volumes of capital in to the public sector than save themselves a volume in the process of helping the disabled achieve home ownership the discrimination is seen as cutting corners in the private sector in order to save a capital in the process stigmatising and stereotyping the disabled to the lower classes and on the other side of the coin an over generosity in the public sector to prevent people with disability’s to strive to achieve the equal opportunity of home-ownership this is nothing less than discrimination in both sectors and without the enforcement of law in regards to the equality’s act estate agents landlords and the government alike will continue to discriminate against people with life changing disability’s regardless

      • on a more serious note this is what the governments good at ignoring the human condition and failing to enforce a law they invented to protect themselves funding both sides of the revolution giving the people a bible that says thou shalt not covert thy nabour or steal murdering 100,000,000 natives stealing there land and polluting it with capitalisation and industry then strives to wrestle with its own conscience by recreating a much smaller holocaust in an effort to say come join us we won the war
        the systems always been fascist and discriminative for its own gain why stop now after 500 years of massacres exile reservations broken treaties boarding schools smallpox blankets religious persecution alcohol prison hazardous waste its time they listened for there tongues will make them deaf

    • the most beautiful people i know are those that have known defeat known suffering known struggle known loss and have found there way out of the depths these people have an appreciation a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion and a deep loving concern

    • So you agree that people who do not work should not be allowed to rent a property? Well there are so many different situations that they can only be judged individually. My own situation for instance. I am unable to work as I have a young daughter, no money & nowhere to live. I need an address to get a job & childcare would cost me more than I would earn with the rent, bills, food & child’s clothes on top of that I am already in the minuses. I really do want to work & have drive an ambition, I feel hurt & offended that I am judged by people who haven’t even met me. I know I wouldnt trash someone elses house or not pay the rent, but as someone on housing benefit this is how I am seen. I just wish for my daughters sake that someone would give me a chance, & no the council will not help as I am not deemed as a priority.
      Sorry I had a rant, but it really gets to me, as we are all taught not to judge & that is exactly what everyone is doing

    • Urm maybe people that do claim benefits arnt all scum that trash peoples houses!! and are looking for work!
      I have 3 children i am very house proud i look after the property i live in and have excellent refrences can i find a property to live in.No i cant iv been looking for 6 months as my current landlady is selling . I will be homeless in mid jan if i cant dind somewhere am i willing to work yes i am i have always worked apart from the last year when a illness prevented me from doing so.
      i take great offence in being classed as lazy and living on handouts.

        At present the Government are debating whether there should be more stringent control over banks ,in a Parliamentary committee today Osborne stated they would look at it next year ,basically dismissing the issue .Why has his attitude to Welfare Reform not had the same response .This Government are at loggerheads with Doctors ,nurses,teachers and anyone working in the public sector especially the police .Our efforts against the draconian cuts are falling on deaf ears ,the police have an Epetition giving them the right to strike ,at present it has 16,778 signatures ,if we give this petition our backing it will make the Government take notice ,they are the only protection between them and us .The Police issue will have a bigger voice then we do on the reforms that are going through no matter what .This Government are using illegal underhand methods to push Welfare Reforms through ,by signing this petition we are backing the next biggest voice to the Government in this country legally.

    • Being in receipt of benefits does not automatically mean no job – in fact, recent statistics printed in The Guardian stated that only 1 in 8 housing benefit claimants are unemployed. The rest are on low income. I am self employed. I work seven days a week most weeks, starting at 8:30am and often not stopping before 9pm. I don’t take more than 7 days off in any year. I am a composer and instrumentalist, and on a low income. Because of this I claim housing benefit.

      I’m happy to say that my benefit has been steadily reduced this year and I am determined to be completely self-sufficient. But if I hadn’t had help for the past six years, I’d be homeless now with no chance of improving my financial circumstances.

      There is a growing trend in our country actively cheered on by the government and the media to tar all benefit claimants with the same brush: we are all lazy criminals with an attitude of entitlement. It is lazy, ignorant thinking and does not bode well for the future of the UK.

    • Joe its idiots like you that cause this problem I hope that you get ill and disabled you twat then see you moaning.


  12. In many cases it’s the insurance company that’s the problem, they won’t insure any property with tenants on HB in it. It’s them who dictate terms to the landlords. Possibly this is a good time to remind everyone here that many members of the current government are sponsored by the insurance companies. I can’t reference this off the top of my head but I don’t believe it’s a secret.

  13. A lot of you really don’t know what you are talking about. There are many good and bad letting agents, just like there are good and bad tenants and landlords. The really bad landlords don’t use letting agents in the first place.

    I have been in the last few years a tenant, a landlord and (SHOCK HORROR) a letting agent so I do know what I am talking about. I was ARLA registered, DID NOT RIP OFF TENANTS and had many non working tenants on benefits. So please stop judging whole sections of society on a few bad experiences.

    I could tell you tales of bad tenants that would make your hair curl. For example, one tenant on LHA who stopped paying the rent. There were no problems with the house, it was very nice in fact. LL took her to court where she admitted that she had been using her HB to pay her boyfriend’s debts. Court told her to pay the arrears off at £5 PER MONTH. You tell me, who was the “lowest form of rip off scum” here

  14. @M | May 10, 2012 at 6:07 am – you state “So please stop judging whole sections of society on a few bad experiences.” in other words don’t generalise right?

    You then end your comment discussing a tenant in receipt of LHA. Your closing remarks “You tell me, who was the “lowest form of rip off scum” here” does exactly that, generalisation. Any tenant could have behaved in this manner, private or LHA.

    I for one run a small business and don’t earn nearly as much as I need. I am in receipt of LHA. I have been renting my house for 4 years and have never missed a payment and my landlord and I get along great.

  15. The system is broken

    I would like to add my story to this list, both my partner and I are currently in receipt of job seekers allowence and have been for 6 and a half months now. During this this time I have had to make a new claim 3 times because of so called appointments I have missed even though both times they have closed my claim, they have made some kind of clerical error the process I have to go through is the same as if Ihad not been to an interview or refused a job! I wonder how much it costs to process a claim? This then effects your housing benefit and you end up in rent arrers and the council then don’t have to help you!

    With regard to letting agents I have definative proof that the agent who manages my rented property lied to the housing benefit department about me being more than 8 weeks in arrears with my rent when that was never the case because I have a top up to pay also which has always been paid on time, the only arrears I have are due to LHA being paid 4 weekly in arrears! The agent done this because they wanted the benefit paid to them. Which actually I don’t mind! its the fact that by paying the benefit directly to agent in implies that I have not been?! The staff at the benefit office also spoke to the agent after I had specifcally said not to, Data protection? I made a complaint in writing to the head of housing benefit for not one but two councils in the area the reponse I got was it was ok how it was and the agent had written in saying it was a mistake! and the lady who breeched data protection did so because I had said to her I wanted to withold the money from the agent in order to get a gas safety certificate and they had to protect public money. I did have to report the agent to the HSE in order to get one! I gave up, what difference does it make if you complain? None. the whole system and the majority of the emplyees in goverment office treat you like a second class citizen. One thing I would like to say to them is you will probably be the other side of the desk in not so distance future, enjoy you smug wankers.

    Oh and I think the original writer should have called other agents also, they are ALL the same! I will name drop a few in our area! JSM, Goddard and co, Paul West lettings, Masons, Vikings, Bannisters, and Many many more!

  16. Hi, what happens if I rent a place and personally pay the rent and deposit and after a week or two ask the DSS to pick up the tab and pay me directly?

  17. You simply set up a standing order to have the amount sent from your account to the landlords account. If the landlord expects to be paid on the first of the month then the money would have to leave your account about 4 days before. I had the money paid into my bank every fortnight to make sure I had the money pay the rent

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  20. as its so impossible to get a house whilst on benefits, would it be possible to lie to the landlord/letting agent and tell them im not on dss and then just put the money into their account that the government put into my account if that makes any sense? or do the dss tell them? i know it sounds wrong to lie but then again, theyre morals are wrong for discriminating against people on dss so i wouldnt have a conscience about lying to them atall!

  21. @rachael
    This is not possible! Agencies, and most landlords, do a credit check on you, check up on your employer to make sure you’re not telling porkies and want to see 3 months’ bank statements!

  22. We are a family of four children under 7. My husband was made rendundant in December and has had difficulty finding permanent work since, lots of stopping and starting. Our landlady wants us to move with no explanation, we are excellent tenants, always pay rent, get on with the neighbours and as my husband is a builder and newly qualified electrician we can carry out the maintenance with no charge to the landlady. However as we are receiving part LHA and do not have 3 months consecutive wages slips not to mention the astronomical rent/fees/deposit needed to move we are at risk of being homeless by the end of September. All we want to do is rent a home in our borough of Harrow that we send our children to school and have both lived in for over 30 years. So far all agents have said no, when I asked one why she replied “well you know they would need to do credit checks”. There is nothing wrong with my credit thatnyou, we have just found ourselves in a bad situation, temporarily and suddenley we are deemed scum bags who probably wont pay the rent!!!! If anyone has any advice or knows of a 3 bed property to rent in or around Harow then please let me know..

  23. Pam, you could make an appeal for wrongful eviction if your landlady gives no explanation other than the fact that you’re now getting LHA – if you’re still paying her the rent on time, why would she want you to leave? Try consulting Shelter or the CAB (Citizens Advice Bureau).

    Shelter: 0808 800 4444
    8am-8pm Monday-Friday
    8am-5pm Saturday-Sunday

    Hope this helps you in your unenviable situation.

  24. My parents died and I got into University, moved to London, and was refused a mortgage becouse I was a student. By the time I got my degree house prices rocketed and I had 2 weeks to find a place to live. I have lived in a private rented flat since 1984. i have done all the decorating and furnishings, paid my rent on time, and after 3 different landlords the building was bought by a letting agency. Since then I have had no hot water as I am not allowed to replace my boiler and the landlords will not despite a solicitor, I have no ceiling lghts as the ceiling is coming down due to subsidence etc. I was running a businesss until I became sick. Now I cannot find a place to live to try and make a living because I am on DLA. The Jobcentre says I cannot work anyway in these living conditions, so how am I culpable? I am 58 years old and single. Now I wont get my pension. I just want a place which is “fit for habitation”. And the reason for all this is I have a protected tenancy and live in Central London.

  25. I hate this discrimination against ‘DSS’ I have worked since I was 16 and even worked in a housing association whom I am currently renting a flat from, I fell pregnant at 22 and was laid off due to cuts and my partner was also laid off a few months back thus we had to go on income support and we have instantly been discriminated against, we live in a high rise block of flats and a baby would not be suitable here but finding a house is impossible everywhere I go they will not accept DSS even though I have a full deposit, months rent and application fees and also have a guarantor I am really really disappointed with the system I generally need a home a nice family home not a flat! I cannot get one and I’m due in 4 weeks the council won’t give me a house because I am low priority!! It’s absolutely disgusting how they treat people on benefits I have worked and due to circumstances I didn’t or can’t control they scrutinise us! It baffles me as to how people can have 4 bed houses with all these kids they beat the system, basically they are saying have loads more kids and you’ll be fine!! But me who has one on the way can’t even be considered for a house because I am on income support, so so wrong this country is getting worse!


      Hi Hannah

      Where are you based ? I am a landlord that’s has 3 & 4 bed properties in Essex,

      If you are near this area pop a reply to me. I have a refurbished 3& 4 bed at the moment.


  26. I live in a council house and saved the money to go private its it against the law for the council to give a bad reffrence about me that’s false

  27. If it’s “No DSS” then it’s “No Pets”, if you are on DSS and have pets you are well and truly stuffed for choice, i think there should be more laws to protect the tenant as oppsoed solely the Landlord. Everyone has to usually pay a big deposit but the landlord can sometimes hold a percentage of it back if he/she thinks any aspect of the property upon vacating has been damged or altered without permission, even in a like for like where maybe the landlord was not bothered…. it can be a scandal, with this goverment cutting all overhe place they should put in place some solid laws else all these cuts will end up costing the taxpayer even more than any possible savings from cuts.

  28. I have found myself unemployed as i care for two disabled children, i have three children altogether. I am on benefits but i am refused a council place. I cannot find a home, i save the government more money by not being at work and caring for my two disabled children, if i was working i would not earn enough to pay for the specialist care. i have tried so very hard and have found that i dealing with very discriminative people i even laid down a deposit on a place for the agency to carry on viewings then call and tell me a working family had put down a deposit two weeks after me and the landlord didn’t need or want me anymore.. the next day agents from this company called to say they had landlord who accepted dss then gave me the address for the same house i mentioned above. I am so sick of seeing no dss i am no different to anyone else, i am clean, i pay my bills i have no criminal record and i don’t destroy homes. yet i am treated like i have some contagious disease!! I just don’t understand where my family are meant to live council won’t help, and private just don’t want know where are we meant to live?? I am sure they should not be allowed to do this you don’t see them saying no person with pink and yellow spots. Remember the signs no gypies no irish ect it reminds me of that!!!!

  29. i have a daughter with 2 teenage girls and a little one of 4 years her marriage split up and they are living with me i only have a 2 bed bungalow and so i has to sleep on the couch and the other eldest girl is at uni she carnt seem to get help anywhere what can she do

  30. “Why should we pay landlords to live on the earth that belongs to all?”

    Hahaha, that is true. Go live in a park or forest instead. Maybe you can build a little tree house or something? Or a nice cardboard box?

    • Live in a park? Surely this is a joke. I do have housing and have lived here since 1984 but slum landlords have denied me my basic rights (e.g. hot water) because I have a protected tenacy and the rents in the area have syrocketed. I had to take early retirement for health reasons. I am a university graduate, dont drink, dont cause a nuisance, do my own repairs and decorating. My flat has long been strucurally “unfit for habitation”. I have worked hard never been in debt and before the changes would be getting my pension next year. Why am I now a problem tenant? If I can find a place fit to live in I can try to support my self without being on benefits. Its catch 22.

  31. “So you agree that people who do not work should not be allowed to rent a property? Well there are so many different situations that they can only be judged individually. My own situation for instance. I am unable to work as I have a young daughter, no money & nowhere to live. I need an address to get a job & childcare would cost me more than I would earn with the rent, bills, food & child’s clothes on top of that I am already in the minuses.”

    Shouldn’t have had the kid if you couldn’t afford to raise it. Simple.

    • “Shouldn’t have had the kid if you couldn’t afford to raise it. Simple.”
      Quite. And presumably anyone entering into a relationship with anyone and/or before getting pregnant should get themselves a crystal ball to tell what the future might bring. Myself, I didn’t bother with the crystal ball and therefore couldn’t tell in advance that my then-partner would beat me up when I was six months pregnant requiring an emergency re-housing situation. Damn my lack of foresight!

  32. @Tedz…re pets…I found a place that was perfect for me (unfurnished) but because I have a small dog, the deposit was raised to £2000!! Ridiculous!

  33. @Stung: Let’s all hope that one day you’re in the same boat & become enlightened to the experiences people are attempting to clue you into.

    Obvious troll is obvious…

  34. I am a Letting agent and have seen cases of bad tenants from working to non working applicants.
    At the end of the day you all have to realise that it is nobodies right to live somewhere. The house belongs to the landlord. If the landlord wishes working tenants only, no pets and non smokers then so be it! Surely they are entitled to have some choice? At the end of the day being a landlord is something they do as an income not because they have to. They will want tenants who will look after their property (be it from working or non working tenants). What all you people need to realise is that is THEIR property and THEIR choice who they want to live there. Get over it.

    • Then if landlords are going to be discriminatory they should not be allowed buy to let mortgages just so they can make a fat profit.

      I am going to be homeless from next week and I am scared stiff. I am middle aged, suffering with cancer and after 13 years in the same property my landlord now wants it back. I am in receipt of housing benefit and it is impossible to find somewhere that is half decent. I have first class landlord references and can prove am an exemplary tenant, but counts for nothing.

      • Landlord’s can discriminate, it is their choice and their house.
        I empathise with your situation and do see your point. It is just a shame that everyone on housing benefit is tarred with the same brush. Instead of moaning about landlords, moan about the scum who abuse the system and make it worse for everyone else.

        • They can and obviously do discriminate but it’s disappointing to find it still happens. Years ago (35 maybe) my sister phoned regarding a room in a house of bedsits and spoke to the landlady who turned her down ‘because I don’t want no black girls here, they cause trouble’. Not unreasonably, my sister pointed out she’s white (because she is) and could she please come along and look at the room? Nope.

  35. Its an appaling situation, and empathy about the council, same experience. I am an ex model, now visual artist, I have a degree in Literature, have worked in past. However, due to a botched wisdom tooth operation, I have a loose disc in my jaw, can be frightfully painful, and other health issues, am on ESA. Even though letting agents admit I am rather different to the stereotype of six kids, a shellsuit and a taste for loud techno, will not consider me for housing, only one scary housing estate.

  36. Pingback: Welfare cuts: housing benefit claimants not welcome here - Government Tenders, Government News and Information - Government Online

  37. I have worked all my life and now unfortnately I find myself unemployed and looking for somewhere to live. Due to a relationship breakdown and he owned the house. So here I am sitting for hours on end looking for a flat. There are landlords outthere who will take DSS so stop winging and start looking

    • I have been made redundant twice since December 12 through no fault of my own. My husband has mental Health problems and we privately rent. We have never seen the landlord in 4 years have have done so much work to the house. We had no heating for 3 years just a coal fire to heat the whole house. We found a scheme that fitted a full central heating system to the house at no cost to the landlord. What does my landlord do put the rent up. Now we cant afford to live there but cant find anything else as we are on DSS. That the thanks we get and if i take the heating out it will be classed as theft. I just want a nice landlord that communicates with us. I have spend hours looking for something but its really hard and we are getting more and more depressed hich has an affect on our children.

  38. Pingback: Nationwide Bans The Poor From Private Renting | the void

  39. Pingback: Getting started | Tower Hamlets Renters


    “In Scotland, measures have recently been taken to regulate the lettings industry.

    The law currently prohibits prospective tenants being charged “premiums” on top of their deposit and rent in advance, but some letting agents have been charging various fees for years.”

  41. Mr Chris Byrne

    Hooray for Scotland!
    I’m a retired college lecturer with impeccable references yet, I’m finding it difficult to find rented accommodation because I get a small amount of housing benefit. I too have lost money to unscrupulous letting agents. I wrote to my MP – no reply, he’s probably a landlord!

  42. I know all too well how a lot of you here are feeling about this dire situation. I recently became suddenly unemployed just as I was starting to look to rent a flat on my own again(living with parents currently). The situation with me living with my parents is not that great, I really need my own space, and they really need their own space too. But when I look for flats on Gumtree and property rental websites I am absolutely sick to the back teeth of reading “No Dss”, “Housing benefit not accepted”, “The landlord is not willing to consider housing benefit”, or “Professionals only”. And the ads which state “would suit a working professional” is basically their polite way of saying no unemployed people. Sick of it. This is discrimination and should not be allowed. When I find ads that don’t state anything about “No Dss”, “Housing Benefit applications not accepted” or whatever, then I apply for them in a polite email but mentioning my circumstances, but 99% of the time the landlords/letting agents don’t even have the courtesy to reply back!! And the 1% that do reply back, say the inevitable thing like “Unfortunately the landlord is not accepting housing benefit tenants for this property.”. I am absolutely bloody fed up of this. It’s like banging my head against a brick wall trying to get a decent enough flat to live on my own. It is a very soul destroying experience, and quite honestly it is wearing me down.

    I am a decent respectable and quiet guy aged over 35. I would treat the property with respect. And would make sure the rent is allways paid on time via the housing benefit I would receive. I just want my own flat to give me a bit of space and independence. Yet all these landlords are not willing to give me(or indeed any other such people) a chance. It really sucks. It is absolutely appalling and disgusting that this discrimination is allowed to go on. The government ought to introduce new laws ASAP to stop it, but there’s more chances of seeing pigs fly I think.

    I am trying really hard to get another job. But this is a lot easier said than done. I am completely stuck at the moment, and with no easy way out. Sick of it.

  43. Pingback: Why We Need To Resist Tenant Blacklisting | the void

  44. I have noticed an apalling rise in double-standards, fascism, hypocrisy and sneering amongst those who currently work for an employer and who draw a monthly wage [and who know nothing else]. God help these people if/when they ever get laid off from their highly useful and productive jobs. Back in the 80’s there was at least some comprehension of how hard life can be if you’re having hardships. Can you imagine anyone writing ‘i am a one in ten’ these days? Nope – it’s all ‘lazy’ this and ‘feckless’ that. The extent of the hideous prejudice that comes from these mean, bitter little englanders never ceases to amaze me. The commercialisation of society has meant that these zeroes get a kick out of their petty schadenfreude, and it makes them feel good to lash out.

    ‘Benefits scams’ are entirely the fault of the administration issuing the benefits – that would seem to be glaringly obvious – otherwise they are there in a civilised society as a saftely net, especially if there comes a time when a country [or more] goes into a depression.

    But these people don’t want civilisation as we knew it. They’ve been tricked into thinking that they want the law of the jungle. Who by?
    The corporate morte-main [sic]. (It means dead hand in french btw.)

    And what feeds and cajoles this evil nasty poison in our society? The commercialised media. Poison poison poison. And why are there no jobs anywhere? Oh, just cause we’re all lazy. English people are lazy – those johnny foreigners work awfully hard! And you can boss them about too, and they don’t talk back. Not in english, anyway.

    Why is there no work?
    Not because of incompetence and shocking misadministration, the never-ending gravy train, rank corruption, the labour market flooded with cheap foreign labour, the bank bailouts, the housing bubble, the outrageous printing of money, the frozen interest rates robbing the prudent, the crony capitalism, the never ending confected wars bleeding national resources away with no clear gain [ever] for the people of the nation?

    Didn’t you hear? Gas fracking is actually about helping the POOR!
    It seems so obvious to me now. Perhaps there are good jobs there to be had as a security guard, or perhaps I should just throw in my chips and become a mercenary. Great opportunities there. Bailiffs – good future.

    A large problem with these lovely islands is that people detest one another for absolutely no reason.

    Good luck with that – I can’t see what could possibly go wrong in the future as things get even less rosy, which they most certainly will.

    • “A large problem with these lovely islands is that people detest one another for absolutely no reason.”
      And this too is promoted by a govt that wants this to happen, pitting different sections of society against each other. It is much easier to manipulate a divided society than a united one.

  45. Some landlord’s refuse to accept recipients of DSS because they do not wish to disclose that they are letting properties on the rental market. Whenever a DSS claimant makes an application for housing benefit (social welfare rent payments), the landlord is registered on the local council’s records and as a result also with the Inland Revenue services.

  46. @STUNG.. See this is what they meant by small mind’s judging!
    I am seeing a pattern of a few builder’s in the mix along with myself and most of us are capable of building a house in the woods to a standard higher than you could ever afford!
    Never the less ANYONE stating Landlords are innocent in any way shape or form might want to try joining the rest of us in reality by where.. “Never mix business with pleasure!” A person with a property to let be it legitimate through the Inland Revenue or otherwise are not doing so to be helpful nice or looking for a new best friend!
    They are in it for the money!
    Ergo there is no place for humanity!!
    Keep up with your rent and ANY landlord is happy!
    Fall behind and you are soon reminded that this is not a new friendship!
    Telling them something is wrong is like reaching for their wallet!
    You will therefore usually be fobbed off!
    This could be for honest reasons such as “The landlord may not be financially able to afford the repair and to claim on the insurance would cause his premium to rise which he also may not have the means for because he is being…….. Wait for it……… forced into our position!” Going under! and the circle can then continue!
    Ahhh the cat and the mouse.
    So the landlord finally learns what it feels like to be made to feel like a criminal! “Two thumbs up!”
    Or not! Which ever side of the fence your on rich/poor etc..
    Im sure somewhere further up i read some itellectual vagrant mention supporting the police giving them more power!
    Clearly the person that did so gave no thought what so ever to the fact the Law and the Legal system in this country is flawed and controlled by the wealthy being little more than a charade to convince you why you pay your taxes.
    The only way you can win is to stop caring! “Whoop there goes another rubber tree plant!”

  47. It is painfully obvious to me that as an African-American, U.S veteran (ex-pat) who has lived and worked here in England for 22 years now, raised two beautiful children here (who may have a future here. My son has recently acquired his Masters Degree, and my daughter is a Recruitment Manager), that now as a single (separated), unemployed foreigner on benefits, facing eviction due to rent arrears, I have my fair share of discrimination and dare I say it racism, to look forward to. Reading through the comments posted here, and from my experience so far , so may of you have hit the nail on the head as far as Landlords go. It’s sad and distressing I must say, although its good to hear that not all of them subscribe to the same treatment where those who are on benefits are concerned. The post from the TAXMAN for me just about nails it though; I’m sure nothing scares the swaggering,profit hungry landlord more than the taxman. It’s obvious the financial affairs and practices of landlords excepting tenants who are on benefits become much more transparent to, among others, the TAXMAN!!

  48. At the end of the day , if a person wants to rent a property whats his or her financial situation got to do with the landlord ? Is should simply be ,,( You rent , you pay ) ,( you dont pay , you have to leave within reasonable time) .( If you smash the place up its then criminal damage and a fine pays the landlord ) . Simple . you could not put an advertisement up for a flat rental saying” Blue colored people only “, so how the Hell do they get away with being prejudice to a person whos not well or physically disabled ?its total madness thought up by a severe shrunken brain to type NO DSS into an advertisement , one thats shrunk to the size of a rabbit . . You rent a flat , you should be able to do whatever you like to the place as long as its handed back in good condition . wrap up in tinfoil and practice Voodoo if you want because whats it got to do with the landlord ? We are a nation obsessed with rules and strict ball breaking control freak outs . You wouldn’t rent someone a greenhouse then tell them what they can and cant grow in it ? On the landlords defense though people who claim do have problems with payments stop starting for weeks on end , but this still is not the unemployed /disabled persons fault , the cause is a total lack of communication from authorities , with no help or information in order to avoid the situation for rent delays . Landlords should welcome Unemployed people as a guaranteed way of getting rent paid , The housing allowance should be constant with no breaks , and Job centers should be sued for sanctions and loss of property . and landlords should mind their own business regarding tenants financial situation . Even the moronic reference system is unfair , as no one ever thinks that a person can have a corrupt or insane landlord/landlady who would rather blacken someones credit in order to “hang on to the deposit ” so never mint the prejudiced over Dhss claimants , , what about the poor souls with a bad landlord reference that most councils look back over a ten year period before deciding if you can live under a roof . the whole shabby system wants tearing up and someone human step in to sort it all out fair .

    • That is so true.
      I am unlucky enough to rent from a couple of morons who live next door.
      They always want to know who goes in and out the house, they sneak around and take pictures of my boyfriend, who they say can’t stay with me overnight unless he gives them his personal information.
      They throw their leftovers into my garden, and when I ask them not to do that they tell me that my kids shouldn’t leave their toys either.
      They have already given me notice to leave, yet they’d still coming banging at my door and harassing me.
      I’m paying them £1000, which is most of my wages.
      I wish they burn in hell, those bastards.

  49. We are having terrible problems with this. We have never been the cause of any problems. We have always paid our rent on time and never had any arrears or anything, but recently our landlord has gotten into mortgage arrears and we have had people come to our door asking for the landlord demanding money. We tried to inform the Landlord of this but he is unreachable by phone and emailed our agent saying he is in Serbia and can’t deal with it. So we are pretty much in fear of our house being repossessed by the bank.

    I have got some mental disabilities and suffer with seizures that don’t respond to medication and my partner is my carer and we are on Housing benefit and I am on DLA and my partner Carers allowance. We saved up so we could afford a deposit and have applied to 5 properties so far and all of them stated initially that they would consider DSS until we applied for tenancy when they have all said no because we are on housing benefit. We offered them a guarantor explained the reason for the dss and even offered to start on a 3 month trial period agreement but before they even did any checks or references or anything the landlords just said no simply because we are on housing benefit. We applied for council housing 2 years ago but were put in the lowest band and there are still over a hundred people in the list before us for every one bedroom flat (as that is all we are allowed to apply for). Now we are living in fear of eviction and constantly being told no DSS even though we can give them their fees and a deposit and would pass all of the checks that they do. We often walk into a letting agents and ask if they have any properties that will consider DSS tenants and most of the time are told no.

    Today we viewed 2 properties and were told that the applications would be on a first come first served basis. We went straight to the agent to apply for both of them and the agent sent us on our way promising to get back to us we then got a call at 4.50 saying that despite we were the first to apply for both properties one of them had gone to a couple who came after us but were in were in work because the landlord preferred their working status to our dss status and the other was still empty but the landlord had refused our application for now in case anyone who was in work decided to apply. If they don’t we can reapply and he might consider our application.

    It makes me feel ashamed of myself for not being able to work. It doesn’t seem fair that we do our best and have always done what was asked of us, paying the rent, being pleasant, never being in trouble with the police or anything and yet people just won’t even consider us because they are prejudice about people on housing benefit. I was so upset that I went to the Job centre and asked if they could help me get a job and after hearing about my disabilities I was told that they wouldn’t be able to help me.We just don’t know what to do. We feel that our only option will soon be to be evicted (through no fault of our own) and become homeless and hope that the council might help us then. Why is this legal? and how can it not be discrimination?

  50. All. Solcitors should advertise sue you’re Landlord no win no fee a big business out there. I am very. Sure.

  51. Pingback: The Private Rental Sector Is Out of Control And The Solution is Obvious | the void

  52. Pingback: Housing Minister Encourages Landlords To Breach Discrimination Laws | the void

  53. I am employed in fulltime work, I have two jobs; one in a school and other as a manager to a private swim school, yet I am painted with the same tainted brush…rent prices in SE London, Bromley start 1300 p/m I am fully entitled to H/B, I have a daughter and a son, yes I am a lone parent (I can almost hear the sucking and tutting of breath); after my long term partner walked out on us. However even with my working background and references, H/B is shunned. I am looking for a third (cleaning/ironing) job to try and counteract the refusal of housing benefit. As the children tend to express, “It’s just not fair!”

  54. What a fabulous read. I was starting to feel like a diva, like im the only one who feels this way? why am I having to fight so hard to obtain a home? I mention dss/dla and they see Vicky pollard and slam shut their doors. not fair at all! I. A good person? I buy hovis and andrex if you must know! my two boys have a disability, I care for them, my income pcm is guaranteed and sufficient but im still not good enough. With out all jokes im seriously getting depressed over this. I wish we could do something about this!

  55. I am on ESA in the support group which means I’ve been assessed as too disabled to work. I need to rent a property to live in. I have enough savings to pay rent and deposit in advance but I will need to claim HB. I will not have any problems meeting the rent payments each month but I cannot find any landlord which will accept HB. I do not know what I am going to do. Their attitude discriminates against disabled people such as myself. I have to claim HB as I’m too disabled to work but my sublet ends shortly which means what … I am going to be homeless ? I know that the council will not help me because it is nearly impossible to be classed as vulnerable nowadays despite being on disability benefits.

  56. Lie, tell them you’re self employed and have the rent paid into your own account then transfer it to the landlord

  57. It’s not a matter of no DSS ! If Gordon Brown did not alter the law and the money was sent straight to the Landlord , this would not happen .Can you go into a shop and walk out without paying?You mention central London I would like to afford to live there but can’t ! So get real how can anyone that is not working expect to ?

  58. Pingback: Government Statistics No Longer Reliable Say Charities As Homelessness Epidemic Gets Even Worse | the void

  59. I totally agree with the above.
    I just would like to add, that similarly ‘no dss’ clause discriminates against single parents. I am working full-time already, and having 2 children means that I simply cannot do extra hours.
    I wouldn’t mind renting a cheaper flat or a studio, but the landlords don’t want any children there.

  60. The real scroungers are the landlords who expect a tenant to buy them a house. The tenant pays the mortgage plus a bit extra, then when the mortgage is paid the landlord owns the house and the tenant owns nothing. I recently split with my wife. We had a joint tenancy on a Housing Association house but as i had always hated the area i decided to to let her keep it and i moved to a private flat 200 miles away. I found my flat in a local newspaper advert. I met the landlord and explained my situation. He agreed to give me a one year lease renewable every year. I am disabled and on ESA and DLA. The rent gets paid directly to him and we have never had a proble,. I wouldn’t go near an agent. They are scum. As for the question are people breaking the law by saying no DSS. It doesn’t really matter. Landlords will rent to who they want to rent to. The law doesn’t come into it.

  61. I am trying to find somewhere for my daughter and her 2 teenagers, 1 in education and 1 autistic, my daughter also suffers with PTSD, to live as she has been given notice where she lives due to land lady’s husband having a stroke and now in a home and is being forced to sell to cover costs. It really distresses my daughter every time she has to move! We are living in the SouthWest and all the properties are in the region of £750- £850 and housing benefit a lot less than that.
    Greedy landlords are getting far above average rent, albeit to pay the mortgage, but at the end of the day this is an investment for them and we pay for the privilege! Who ends up with a paid property worth thousands?
    What needs to happen to make life easy and fair and that’s what an equality law is all about; central government should give more money to councils to make them build houses to rent to people on low incomes, out of work or disabilities. If we could house a lot of these people like we used to then landlords would have trouble letting out their private properties, they would have to drop their prices as well as there would not be the need for properties, we would not be lining peoples pockets whilst they buy an investment for their old age. The council get their money back over 20 years and in turn have properties worth money still. Instead of sending money in aid to help other countries they need to use this money in helping people in the UK, we can still help other countries but not on such a big scale, surely charity starts at home. There should be a law by central government saying to landlords that they can not refuse anyone on benefits if they want us to pay for their mortgage investment plan. Also as rightly stated we should not have to show where we get our incomes from even if we work, this is an invasion of our privacy surely.
    If we don’t offer local council houses for the ever growing population then all that is being encouraged is for for these people once one property is paying for itself they get another mortgage and do it again and again, end result some people own 6 properties all let out to the private working sector. They get cash in their account to cover their mortgages, do they declare this as an income? I doubt it as there is not really a paper trail, like there would be from people on any form of benefit.
    All councils need to lobby their local MP’s to get of off their backsides and help people who are suffering because of government policies, they are all right, they have their 2 homes and a very well paid job. They are supposed to be listening to the people that put them in power, are they though?

  62. Pingback: UK House Hunting 101, Lesson 3: Glossary | Spuds & Crumpets

  63. I looking for new home with my cats they are telling me they want tack any one who on dhss I need help if you cane do that for I will be happy for me and my cata . my phone number is 07835-405481. And my e.Emil is from Samantha

  64. Pingback: Is ‘No DSS’ discriminatory? (Draft study) – Wordthings of Jon

  65. I’m the parent of a disabled child. My son has a long term illness and Iam his full time carer. Just about every private rental I have ever enquired about states no DSS when I try and explain my situation Iam still refused despite having 5 years of excellent refrences from reputable estate agents and excellent credit score no history of debt no asbos no criminal recoded etc etc it is way beyond a joke that decent people are refused a decent home because of mindless people’s ridicules judgments. Not everybody on the planet can work due to other obligations and I frankly don’t see why someone who works would be any better at paying rent than someone on benefits who is responsible and their track record proves just that. Wake up landlords and agency’s just because a person works doesn’t mean they won’t trash your property and leave you out of pocket!!! Time to get real.

  66. This is discrimination and needs to be addressed. Those signs remind me of some very unsavory ones from the 50s. I am on ESA with the support component and am 35 so told by the government that I am entitled a certain amount in housing benefit. Well this is no use to me if no one will rent to me. I have long term health problems and have to live in unsuitable accomodation with relatives. I have to accept that if my health doesnt improve neither will my housing situation. A lot of people assume that in my situation the government would step in, there would be council housing, I did before my health deteriorated to a stage that I could no longer work. But no, even deemed as vulnerable you will still be out on the streets.

  67. this article should help a lot of you out

    I think this will help people I know someone who is over 35 mentally and physically l listed as vulnerable homeless can’t get help from the council receives over 1000 a month has seen places room for as little as 60 a week but can’t get anywhere to live due to being on benefits and unemployed
    I understand it’s slightly different if someone just does not want to work but he is disabled and I think maybe instead of just saying no the second a landlord knows someone is unemployed or disabled maybe they could let them move in and have a trial

  69. Richard kerry

    It is abhorrent disgusting behaviour by private landlords when they use excuses against letting to housing benefit recipient like
    1) We don’t let to people on benefits because they spend more time in the property causing more ware and tear than someone who’s out working.
    This is not always the case with all benefit recipients and is a selfish arrogant attitude.

    2) we don’t let to housing benefit recipients because if a recipient looses their right to claim a welfare benefit their housing benefit stops which puts their rent in arrears.
    This is unfair because it is no different from an employed tenant who looses their job.

    3) This is more of an issue with differences in how rent is paid by the council (in arrears) and private landlord’s expecting rent in advance.
    So both sides are at fault here.

    The private rental market has the overwhelming majority of what is a critical requirements for people at both ends of the economic spectrum of remnants. Most private landlords and even some housing associations are only in the rental market to make profit and do not consider the human aspect of the commodity they are getting rich off.

    The government/courts need to pass bills that prevent private landlords from discrimination ( which would also mean making landlord insurance companies fall in line to).

    A house or home is a requirement of survival. No one has the right to discriminate as to who’s allowed a roof over their heads.
    Building new council homes in estates is not the answer due to what’s known as the ghetto effect, but mixing that of council and private lett properties is. Still building new stock is not the answer. The private profit mongering discriminating landloards must be reined in and clamped down on.

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