Two big wins in the fight against DSS discrimination
Two big wins in the fight against DSS discrimination

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 … Read more

Right to Rent – time to end this discriminatory policy
Right to Rent – time to end this discriminatory policy

Today, the High Court delivered a damning judgment on the Government’s Right to Rent scheme, finding that the desired effects of the policy have been outweighed by its potential for race discrimination.

From the outset, we argued that the scheme, which criminalised landlords who let to those without the right to rent (such as people with unsettled immigration status), would lead to further discrimination in the rental market, including for some who have every right to rent.

We provided … Read more

'It's not fair to expect people and their children to hop about from home to home'
'It's not fair to expect people and their children to hop about from home to home'

Moving to a new house is one of the most stressful things a family can do. For Lucie, who has had to move seven times in the last 11 years, the upheaval has been a regular feature of family life.

The cost of all this moving has been high, both financially and in terms of disruption for her and her children. ‘It’s been up and down for years. I think I’ve had seven properties, and out of those landlords, four … Read more

No excuse for no DSS
No excuse for no DSS

Our campaign against ‘no DSS’ has split the lettings industry. Some agents have engaged positively with it and are taking meaningful steps to drive out old discriminatory practices by making sure they take into account every tenants’ full financial circumstances.

But some have just tried to defend old practices.

Many defences of no DSS are transparent prejudice. But a couple of arguments for ruling out tenants on housing benefit sound more plausible, like:

what if a landlord can’t afford to… Read more
The letting fees ban is finally happening
The letting fees ban is finally happening

Mark 1 June 2019 in your calendars, folks.

Almost three years after the ban on letting fees was first announced, in Autumn 2016, the government has finally approved the Tenant Fees bill – which would ban letting agents and landlords charging ridiculous letting fees.

On Wednesday 23 January 2019, parliament approved the bill, which bans all upfront fees to tenants – things like reference fees, credit checks, administration fees and contract renewal fees.

Government analysis suggests private renters could save Read more

‘If you’re on benefits, landlords don’t want to know’
‘If you’re on benefits, landlords don’t want to know’

This article is part of a series, ‘Shelter defending the right to a home’, that appears on theguardian.com

A lack of social housing forces tenants on benefits to turn to private landlords – but they invariably find themselves locked out of the market. That’s why Shelter is defending the rights of those who rent, or struggle to rent because of discrimination or stigma.

When Jim Spencer was served with a section 21 notice by his landlord, he admits he didn’t … Read more

Health and home: how poor living conditions endanger wellbeing
Health and home: how poor living conditions endanger wellbeing

This article is part of a series, ‘Shelter defending the right to a home’, that appears on theguardian.com

A place to call home – it’s a basic human right. Yet not everybody has one, and even families that do can find their health suffering from living in cramped and dirty conditions. That’s why Shelter is committed to defending everyone’s right to a safe home.

By any measure, a two-bedroom flat is hardly the ideal place to raise a family of … Read more

‘We’ve seen whole families forced to share a bed’: the housing emergency on your doorstep
‘We’ve seen whole families forced to share a bed’: the housing emergency on your doorstep

This article is part of a series, ‘Shelter defending the right to a home’, that appears on theguardian.com

High rents and dwindling benefits leave many families unable to heat their homes or eat. Shelter is demanding that the right to a home be placed on a par with the rights to education and healthcare.

When Tariq’s* wife saw the temporary accommodation the council were offering the couple and their two sons, she cried. The three bedrooms were damp, with mould … Read more

Cross-party working closes the Tenant Fees Bill loophole
Cross-party working closes the Tenant Fees Bill loophole

In her first party conference speech as Prime Minister, Theresa May vowed to use the ‘power of government’ to step in and repair markets that weren’t working. At the time, we wrote of our hope that this could be good news for renters, a rapidly expanding group of consumers who face a marketplace full of dysfunction.

Just a few weeks later, the Chancellor announced a ban on letting fees to tenants in his Autumn Budget. The aim of the ban … Read more

Border politics – how private renters in Scotland are getting a better deal
Border politics – how private renters in Scotland are getting a better deal

As the Brexit negotiations enter a crucial stage, we’ve been hearing a lot about borders. At Shelter, we’ve also recently been paying a lot of attention to one of our borders – but we’ve been more focused on the Scottish border and how renters either side of the divide are getting a very different deal.

If you are a private renter searching for a property near the Scottish border, you may notice some differences between the adverts for homes … Read more

How much longer can lenders get away with DSS discrimination?
How much longer can lenders get away with DSS discrimination?

When challenged over why they discriminate against renters on benefits, landlords and letting agents often point the finger at the banks – blaming the fact that buy-to-let lenders do not allow landlords to let to tenants on housing benefit. We hear this defence regularly in response to our campaign, so in this blog we’re going to look at the extent to which lenders really are driving discrimination against renters on housing benefit. And why the recent controversy with NatWestRead more

DSS Discrimination: letting agents' excuses
DSS Discrimination: letting agents' 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