Over the last year we’ve been campaigning hard to end the discrimination people on housing benefit (also known as DSS) face when they try and rent a home.
Together we’re making a real difference. Last week we had not one, but two massive campaign wins.
The first is that the government announced a crackdown on landlords who simply refuse to rent to people who receive housing benefit.
Housing minister Heather Wheeler said:
‘Everyone should have the same opportunity when looking for a home, regardless of whether they are in receipt of benefits. If the sector is unwilling to take action, the government will then explore all options to remove this practice.’
Also, Theresa May spoke in parliament two weeks ago about finally bringing an end to discrimination.
The second is that NatWest announced that they have dropped a policy where some of the mortgage agreements they have with landlords state that they cannot rent to people on benefits
One of the drivers of discrimination are the policies of mortgage lenders. Some mortgage agreements state that they cannot rent to people on benefits. Our campaigning has been calling for a change to this ancient restriction, and it’s brilliant that a big industry name has finally agreed to end the practice.
Additionally NatWest will be informing all of their landlords that they are free to rent to tenants receiving benefits.
The bank’s changes wouldn’t have been possible without inspirational landlord Helena McAleer. Her courageous campaigning made national news and pushed NatWest to act, as did protests by the London Renters Union, Acorn and Living Rent, and lobbying by The Residential Landlords Association.
In both of these wins, the actions of thousands of Shelter supporters loudly calling for an end to DSS discrimination have been vital. From the emails sent to letting agents, to taking our message directly to those who discriminate, they’re sending shockwaves across the country, and driving DSS discrimination up the national agenda.
Everyone should be treated on a case by case basis. And we’re glad that the industry is finally waking up to this reality. We’ll continue to campaign for fair treatment of all renters across the country.
Today we’re one step closer to ending this injustice and it’s down to the actions of Shelter supporters. If you want to help us end discrimination against to people who receive housing benefits, then join our campaign.