An online petition calling on Rightmove to ban property listings which specify ‘No DSS’ had by yesterday afternoon received over 38,000 signatures.
However, Rightmove said there is no quick fix, and pointed out that where restrictions are placed on landlords – for example, by lenders or insurers who insist on tenants not being on benefits – this information must be include in advertising.
The petition is on the website of 38 Degrees, a not-for profit political activist organisation.
It comes after Zoopla became the first of the major portals to announce that it will be banning property listings which prohibit tenants on housing benefit.
David Innes of 38 Degrees said: “Housing in the UK is in crisis. The shortage of social housing and high house prices mean more and more people are forced to rent privately and rely on housing benefit to pay extortionate rents.”
38 Degrees is also encouraging supporters to message Rightmove on Facebook and Twitter, asking “Why hasn’t Rightmove clamped down on landlords and letting agents who are refusing to rent to people on housing benefit?”
Shelter has been campaigning to end property adverts which stipulate no tenants on benefits, and has named and shamed branches which it says are guilty.
The Government has also called for an end to the practice.
EYE asked Rightmove if this is something under consideration, and a spokesperson told us last night: “Rightmove believes that the suitability of a tenant should not be judged by how rent is paid, and that all renters should have access to the widest selection of rental homes.
“That’s why we provided guidance last year that letting agents should not impose blanket bans on tenants on benefits, in line with guidance from the Residential Landlords’ Association.
“We wish there was a simple fix, but we know that currently there are restrictions placed on some landlords which means they are unable to let their property to someone receiving benefit, and where this is the case, the Competition and Markets Authority state that they should include this as information in their advertising.
“We’ve been speaking with the Government to get clearer guidance on this and as soon as any new guidance is issued we will update all of our letting agent customers.”
The 38 Degrees active social media campaign, which invites supporters to target agents’ individual property listings, is here:
The petition is here: