DSS discrimination: campaign update
DSS discrimination: campaign update

Shelter supporters are a powerful bunch.

Since we launched our campaign against DSS discrimination in August, they’ve acted en mass. Thousands have emailed, tweeted and called Ludlow Thompson, a leading letting agent, to demand that they stamp out discrimination against renters on housing benefit

Our joint investigation with the National Housing Federation suggested that Ludlow Thompson were frequently banning renters on housing benefit from homes they let. In response to the investigation, Ludlow told us that it was not company … Read more

Challenging DSS discrimination at NatWest
Challenging DSS discrimination at NatWest

For the last two months we’ve been leading the fight against ‘DSS discrimination’, where renters receiving housing benefit are unfairly banned from renting homes they could afford. This prejudice isn’t just wrong – we also think it’s unlawful.

The campaign kicked off with the results of our joint investigation with the National Housing Federation into housing benefit bans in the lettings industry. This suggested that several leading letting agents are turning people on benefits away.

We’ve written to the Read more

Avoiding discrimination – a guide for letting agents and landlords
Avoiding discrimination – a guide for letting agents and landlords

This blog was written jointly with Rose Arnall in Shelter’s Legal Services.

The launch of our campaign to end DSS discrimination against renters on housing benefit has suggested that some landlords and letting agents may not be fully up to speed on how their policies could be putting them at risk of breaching the Equality Act 2010.

So we’ve put together some top tips to advise landlords and agents on how best to avoid discrimination.

Avoiding direct discrimination 

Most landlords … Read more

Homelessness can happen so quickly – and to anyone
Homelessness can happen so quickly – and to anyone
Chris is a grafter. Always has been.

His painting and decorating business was what he loved and was a huge part of his identity. He always earned enough to be happy and never imagined he’d struggle to afford a home.

But one fateful day, he fell from a roof whilst finishing off the one last paint job of the day and his life turned upside down.

Chris woke up in hospital to find he’d sustained severe injuries including a broken … Read more

Housing’s big week: will the Rough Sleeping Strategy and Social Housing Green Paper deliver?
Housing’s big week: will the Rough Sleeping Strategy and Social Housing Green Paper deliver?

Last week was an important week for housing policy.

An important week for the thousands of men and women bedding down on our streets tonight; nearly 80,000 households going home to temporary accommodation; 1.2 million families waiting for their names to come to the top of the social housing waiting list and half a million social housing tenants without a decent home.

Rough sleeper strategy

On Monday, the Secretary of State published the Rough Sleeping Strategy, setting out the … Read more

Ending DSS Discrimination
Ending DSS Discrimination

‘On benefits’. We live in a society which has given those two words an unwelcome significance they don’t deserve. Free state education, using the NHS, assistance from the police, relying on the basic state pension, we all often depend on the state stepping in to help us live full lives. The welfare state and the benefit system exists to do the same thing. And yet we’ve become comfortable as a society with the idea that ‘on benefits’ denotes a different … Read more

Young people are shut out of private renting

Shelter has said it, local government has said it, former ministers have said it – and now private landlords are saying it welfare reform is damaging young renters’ ability to access a home.

A new report, commissioned by the Residential Landlords Association, yesterday warned that under-35-year-olds will have difficulty finding privately rented accommodation as landlords cut back on renting to young people.

The report, by researchers at Sheffield Hallam University, surveyed 1,996 private landlords around the country. … Read more

London’s forgotten homeless

Question:

How have we got into a situation in London where being homeless could mean: 

a)      Living in insecure temporary accommodation for up to 23 years 

b)      Living in temporary accommodation up to 200 miles away 

c)       Subject to the benefit cap with a £100 per week shortfall, putting you at risk of arrears and eviction?

 

Answer: 

A heady combination of a housing shortage, inadequate government support with housing costs, some private landlords taking advantage of desperate councils, and the Read more

The Immigration Bill- bad for renters and bad for landlords

The Immigration Bill is currently making its way through the House of Lords. The Bill instructs private landlords to check renters’ immigration status. At Shelter, we are all for a more regulated private rented sector but this measure will make an already difficult, expensive, and over-heated rental market even worse for people with few good options open to them.

We know that the private rented sector is already under immense pressure: more people are renting and more renters are … Read more

Rewarding rogues?

This afternoon Shelter and Crisis are launching Sustain: a longitudinal qualitative research study of people’s wellbeing and outcomes in private rented sector housing. The study spent 19 months tracking the experiences and wellbeing of 128 people who had been rehoused in the private rented sector following a period of homelessness. It found that these people are frequently living in shocking conditions:

Every home had a condition problem. The majority of people had to deal with problem landlords. Some people… Read more
What we talk about when we talk about fraud

There are two tactics in the welfare reform debate that I’d like to call a moratorium on. One is invoking the spirit of Beveridge to talk about reforming the purpose of social security. Why hark back to a blueprint from 70 years ago? Social and economic conditions have changed enormously since then. The second is offering reassurances that fraud “only” represents a tiny amount of benefit expenditure.

The statistic that only two per cent of benefit expenditure is lost to … Read more

The tenants’ trap

Following the actions of Fergus and Judith Wilson hundreds of private renters have been served legal eviction notices– simply for receiving some housing benefit. According to the most recent National Landlords Association survey just one in five landlords let to people on benefits.

Those in desperate need may turn to their council for homelessness assistance. All local authorities in England have a legal duty to assist people who are homeless, or threatened with homelessness. As the loss of Read more