Zoopla bans DSS discrimination

Zoopla bans DSS discrimination

We’re celebrating another huge win in the fight to end DSS discrimination, as Zoopla announced that they are banning ‘no DSS’ adverts from their website!

Zoopla are the first major property portal site to scrap this open prejudice, which plagues portals by deterring renters receiving housing benefit from applying to homes, even when they can afford the rent.

For far too long, tenants have been barred from renting a home simply because they receive housing benefit – but changes like these show the tide is turning and DSS discrimination will not be tolerated.

Well done Zoopla, for doing the right thing, and massive congratulations to our amazing supporters, who’ve achieved yet another victory.

Zoopla’s announcement comes hot on the heels of the government declaring a crackdown on ‘no DSS’ adverts, and news of NatWest dropping restrictions preventing buy-to-let landlords from renting to tenants in receipt of benefits.

These are all signs that the lettings industry is waking up to decades of unchecked, immoral, and often unlawful discrimination. Shelter supporters made this happen by pushing the issue up the agenda and making it impossible to ignore.

Today’s news is particularly significant because of the sheer volume of discriminatory adverts posted on Zoopla. A National Housing Federation study in November 2018 found that 1 in 10 properties were advertised as ‘no DSS’ on the site. That’s over 8,700 homes which someone receiving housing benefit wouldn’t have been able to apply for.

And this doesn’t take phrases like ‘professionals only’ into account, which are used as stand-ins for ‘no DSS’. We hope that adverts using this type of language will be banned too, showing a commitment to ending the practice and not just the phrase.

No one should have to face this discrimination when looking for a place to live. But shockingly, almost one in three renters who receive housing benefit do. Discriminatory practices, from ‘no DSS’ adverts to total bans on renting to people receiving housing benefit, push people closer to homelessness. So, it’s fantastic to see a leading name stamping this behaviour out.

As well as doing what’s morally right, Zoopla will be operating on the right side of the law. Women and disabled people are disproportionally affected by housing benefit discrimination, meaning it can be unlawful.

By proactively purging prejudicial adverts, Zoopla won’t be running the risk of a legal challenge. Shelter has been supporting clients to challenge DSS discrimination, and we’ve been winning.

All renters must be treated fairly, on a case-by-case basis, when applying for a home. Zoopla agree with us and the tens of thousands of Shelter supporters who’ve joined the campaign against DSS discrimination. They’re leading the portal pack, and we urge Rightmove, Open Rent and the wider lettings industry to follow.

Together we’re winning big changes, so let’s keep the momentum up. Please sign our petition to leading letting agents and demand that they end DSS discrimination too. Widespread change looks inevitable, but only if we continue to pressure the culprits.