Nigel Huddleston MP attended the event in Parliament last week to raise awareness for the UKs largest housing and homelessness charity: Shelter.
Shelter are bringing attention to discrimination against people on benefits when applying to rent a private property. A third of people receiving housing benefit said they couldn’t rent a home due to a ‘No DSS’ which refers to people who receive Housing Benefits. Although not explicitly illegal, ‘No DSS’ adverts can breach the Equality Act 2010 as it can be a form of ‘indirect discrimination’ against women and disabled people who are statistically more likely to receive housing benefit.
Shelter have been researching into this prejudice and have found that 36% of landlords who use an agent were discouraged by letting agents. 18% landlords said they heard stories on social media and other landlords, but most prejudice was based on preconceptions about the character of tenants receiving housing benefits. What this all really means is that it becomes a never-ending circle between landlords, letting agents and mortgage providers which ‘freezes out’ those on housing benefits.
Mr Huddleston says:
“We need to do everything we can to ensure less people on the street, and that means making it easier for those receiving housing benefits to find somewhere to rent. Discrimination in any sense and in any place is completely unacceptable and this study led by Shelter has really highlighted the problems and prejudices that have come out of the private property sector. I hope that we can learn from these statistics and try and counteract these bad housing experiences.”