THE National Housing Federation (NHF) has welcomed the Government’s call for an end to adverts that declare ‘No DSS’ tenants.
It’s part of a package of measures announced by the housing minister, Heather Wheeler MP, intended to help people who are homeless or at risk of becoming so to find a home in the private rented sector.
This includes a £19.5 million fund for local authorities, shared among 54 projects across England. Councils will use the funding boost to help vulnerable people secure their own tenancy through support such as, paying deposits or putting down the first months’ rent.
“I want everyone to have the security, dignity and opportunities they need to build a better life – at the heart of which is ensuring everyone can find a safe and secure home to call their own,” said Wheeler.
“This funding will make a huge difference in opening up the private rented sector to people who need it and give them the chance to rebuild their lives.
“I will also be meeting key stakeholders to tackle the practice of ‘No DSS’, to underline the need for immediate change.”
In the coming months, according to the Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government, ministers will meet leading industry representatives, including mortgage providers, landlord associations, tenant groups, and property websites to clamp down on “blanket exclusions” in adverts – with a view to stopping them altogether.
The move has been welcomed by the NHF, which has sought to highlight – alongside homelessness charity Shelter – the issue of landlords’ reluctance to let properties to benefit claimants.
“It’s good news the Government has heard our calls for urgent action to clamp down on private landlords, letting agents, mortgage lenders and property websites that are discriminating against people on housing benefit. We also very much welcome NatWest’s decision to scrap their ‘no benefits’ policy. Other mortgage lenders and businesses must now follow suit,” said Kate Henderson, the NHF’s chief executive.
“These announcements could not come soon enough as many housing associations know that this disgraceful practice is forcing increasing numbers in to homelessness through no fault of their own. It is increasingly impossible for shelters and hostels to help residents move in to their own home, as often no privately rented homes will house people on benefits, and there are simply not enough social homes available.
“Banning these potentially unlawful and discriminatory adverts is only the first step. We need to make sure the discrimination itself ends altogether. We look forward to hearing more details about the government’s plans.”