'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 2o19, 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

Don’t just vilify Fergus Wilson. Use him to justify change
Don’t just vilify Fergus Wilson. Use him to justify change

Fergus Wilson clearly enjoys the attention that being a hate figure brings.

In the last five years, he’s gone out of his way looking for publicity for his mass evictions and controversial – sometimes unlawful – lettings policies.

But in the wake of a new round of newspaper reports on his decision to evict 90 of his tenants, including nine families with children under ten, it should be clear that vilifying him isn’t enough.

Treating him like a panto … 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

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

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

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

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