The five-week wait is five weeks too long
The five-week wait is five weeks too long

Yesterday, we published a report on how the people who use our services have been impacted by Universal Credit (UC). This highlights the issues the introduction of UC has caused, drawing on the voices and experiences of people affected, as well as in depth analysis of the data they have provided. Our findings have helped inform our key recommendations for moving forwards, so if the newly re-appointed Secretary of State for Department for Work and Pensions, Amber Rudd, needs some … Read more

From the Frontline: the ongoing impact of welfare reform
From the Frontline: the ongoing impact of welfare reform

The consequences of the broken housing safety net are laid bare in our new report, From the Frontline. This shines a light on the thousands of people we help every year who are being pushed to the point of crisis due to the continued impact of welfare reform and the introduction of Universal Credit (UC).

The freeze to Local Housing Allowance (LHA), which is housing benefit for those renting privately, is forcing people to make the impossible choice between … Read more

DSS discrimination means renters are punished for their circumstances
DSS discrimination means renters are punished for their circumstances

Kyrstyna and her husband, Geoff, had been homeowners. But when they lost their jobs due to redundancy, they were forced to go back to renting privately in their 50s.

Finding somewhere to rent was tough. Like many people receiving housing benefit, Krystyna and Geoff faced DSS discrimination and struggled to find a place to live. In the end, they were forced to move all the way from the West Midlands to Cornwall just to find somewhere that would accept them … Read more

Supreme Court rules that subsistence benefits should not be used to cover rent shortfalls
Supreme Court rules that subsistence benefits should not be used to cover rent shortfalls

The Supreme Court has just given judgment in the case of Samuels v Birmingham City Council, where the court was asked to consider whether a home should have been considered affordable where the housing benefit did not meet the full rent.

This is an important test case, in which Shelter intervened. It will have major implications for local authority homelessness services and put further pressure on the government to increase Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates back to the bottom … Read more

How I challenged DSS discrimination
How I challenged DSS discrimination

A version of this blog was published on Huffington Post UK.

Guest blog by Philippa Lalor, a Shelter supporter and client

Almost one in three renters receiving housing benefit haven’t been able to apply for a place to live because of discriminatory ‘no DSS’ practices.

These range from a total ban on renting to people on benefits, to simply advertising a vast number of properties as ‘no DSS’.

As part of our campaign against DSS discrimination, Philippa successfully challenged discrimination … Read more

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 … Read more

International Women’s Day: we must see an end to women in housing poverty
International Women’s Day: we must see an end to women in housing poverty

International Women’s Day is a brilliant celebration of the women we all know and look up to, including our women politicians. But as well as those with a high-profile, we should also be celebrating the thousands of women, often hidden from view, who are keeping their families going despite facing homelessness and destitution.

Every day in the UK, women are waking up in poverty because they can’t cover the costs of their rent. This is no accident. The housing benefit … Read more

IFS: housing benefit bill signal of failed social housing policy. But we need it more than ever to hold back homelessness
IFS: housing benefit bill signal of failed social housing policy. But we need it more than ever to hold back homelessness

Yesterday’s article by the Director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS), Paul Johnson, made a very welcome contribution to the growing debate that increasing social house building is the key to fixing our housing crisis. As our Social Housing Commission report showed, investment in social housing will reduce the spiralling cost of housing benefit. 

As the article points out, housing benefit gets considerably less coverage when it comes to debates about homelessness. We agree it’s about time housing benefit … Read more

A united front to ending the LHA rate freeze
A united front to ending the LHA rate freeze

As we revealed last month, homelessness is continuing to rise. The causes and solutions to homelessness are heavily debated. But one thing is for sure – homelessness isn’t inevitable. It can be prevented.

Along with others, including local housing authorities, Shelter has long argued that benefits are to blame. Restrictions to Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates are driving homelessness rates upwards. These increases are, also, making it difficult for local authorities to help families out of homelessness and … 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

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