Landlords who say they will not accept DSS tenants in the private rental sector may be breaking the law.
The news comes after a recent legal case when a single mother won compensation from her letting agency after winning her claim for sex discrimination.
She says that the agency refused to even consider the mum as a tenant for a home in Birmingham when she told them that part of her rent would be made from benefits.
The woman is a cleaner and former paralegal and argued successfully that having a blanket ban on benefit claimants amounts to indirect discrimination against women, particularly single women, since more of them are more likely to claim housing benefit than single men.
The legal case was brought after she had lived in her home for 11 years and had paid rent every month.
However, her letter of complaint was rejected by the letting agency and she lodged a claim on discrimination grounds.
‘They are preventing good tenants from accessing the private rental sector’
The woman was supported by housing charity Shelter and their legal manager, Rose Arnall, who said: “Good tenants are prevented from accessing the private rental sector with a blanket policy.
“Women are likely to care for their children and probably part-time working and more likely to have their income topped-up by housing benefit.”
The National Landlords’ Association's head of policy, Chris Norris, said: “Landlords who will rent to tenants on housing benefit has fallen in recent years because of cuts to welfare and Universal Credit problems which make it more difficult for anyone receiving housing support to pay their rent on time.”
He added that the woman's legal case highlights what a minority of tenants have to put up with when they are looking for a secure home within the private rental sector.
Could guaranteed let for pets cost landlords?
Meanwhile, a proposal from Labour that tenants automatically be given the right to keep pets could cost landlords dear.
According to Dlighted, a renting firm, landlords may have to pay for scratched sofas, chewed carpets and fouled floors.
The animal welfare proposals were unveiled last week and Labour says it will consult with landlords to give tenants a default right to own a pet in their rented home.
Dlighted's Ajay Jagota said: “The plans will appeal to the growing number of renters who are renting for longer.
“Landlords don't want to turn away a good tenant and will, in my experience, refuse to allow pets for a compelling reason such as the property being unsuitable for animals.”
He added that while property owners protect themselves with a deposit, the reality is that the landlord may face a repair bill in excess of the deposit.