DSS Discrimination: letting agent excuses
DSS Discrimination: letting agent excuses

Our DSS discrimination campaign has lifted the lid on practices and policies many would like to believe simply didn’t exist in 2018. 

Recently Vicky Foxcroft, MP for Lewisham and Deptford, raised with us how shocked she had been to discover the impossible situation people were being put in. During regular constituency drop-in surgeries, Ms Foxcroft was repeatedly faced with constituents in receipt of housing benefit being denied somewhere to live by multiple letting agencies. 

Shocked by the discriminatory practice and … Read more

Lies, damn lies, and making use of statistics
Lies, damn lies, and making use of statistics

Using statistics often requires a compromise of some sort, because a statistic is usually a simplification of a more complex issue. This means stats are often misused, or misunderstood.

We were recently criticised (along with the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) – always a good organisation to be grouped with) by Ian Mulheirn on our use of the local authority level Valuation Office Authority (VOA) data on two-bed private sector housing rents. We were told that the VOA data does … Read more

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

Shelter services - our view on benefit discrimination
Shelter services - our view on benefit discrimination

At Shelter, we know how hard it can be for people to find somewhere safe and suitable to live. For many, the security and affordability of social housing is an impossible dream, never mind the fantasy of owning their own home.

While families sit on waiting lists up and down the country, they, and millions of others, face the harsh reality of private renting. The eye-watering cost is not even the first hurdle. The majority of low-income renters will have … Read more

No one should have to choose between their health and their home
No one should have to choose between their health and their home

Imagine wanting to take your child home from hospital but being unable to do so as the conditions there would make him ill – or even endanger his life. That’s what Laura faced until our hospital discharge team in Birmingham stepped into help.

When we first met Laura, she was living in a damp and mouldy council flat with her four young children, worried for their health and terrified they might be taken into care.

Living in unacceptable conditions

Laura, … Read more

First-time renter? Here's what you need to know
First-time renter? Here's what you need to know

Renting your own place can be really exciting, but sometimes things can go wrong. Here’s a round-up of some of the most common questions we get asked about renting with a private landlord.

And just to say that this post relates to assured shorthold tenancies (AST), the most common type of tenancy if you rent from a private landlord. If you have a different type of agreement, or you don’t know, use our Tenancy Rights Checker to find 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

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

Shelter's support helped me hold bad letting agency to account
Shelter's support helped me hold bad letting agency to account

When Sarah’s son was forced to leave his home after being harassed and intimidated by a letting agency, she had no idea how to help him. 

A phone call with Shelter made Sarah aware that the agency’s behaviour was illegal, and what she could do about it. Twelve months after her son was forced out, she’d brought an official complaint against the agency, winning compensation and a damning verdict on the way they had acted. 

How it started

Problems began … Read more

Rentquake – coming to a marginal seat near you?
Rentquake – coming to a marginal seat near you?

Could private renters decide the next election?

It’s a question recently raised by new Conservative think tank Onward. It highlighted that by the time of the next election, there will be 253 constituencies where more than 20% of voters are renters. That’s an increase from just 18 at the 2001 election.

We were far from surprised by this. Our own research shows that the numbers of renters is growing – and quickly. You can see what this looks like in Read more

Letting fees bill - the parliamentary journey so far
Letting fees bill - the parliamentary journey so far

Despite all the pressures that Brexit is placing on parliamentary time, the Tenant Fees Bill has been making rapid progress through parliament. While this speedy parliamentary journey may be good for moving the bill closer towards implementation, we shouldn’t forget there are still areas of the legislation (as currently drafted) that will leave private renters open to continuing exploitation.

Here’s our update on the parliamentary journey so far, which sets out the areas the government still needs to address … Read more