Petition calling on Rightmove to ban ‘No DSS’ listings gathers momentum

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:

https://speakout.38degrees.org.uk/campaigns/rightmove-clean-up-your-act

The petition is here:

https://speakout.38degrees.org.uk/campaigns/5509?bucket=email-blast-20_3_2019_50kt&utm_campaign=blast2019-03-24&utm_medium=email&utm_source=

Crackdown on letting adverts banning ‘tenants on benefits’

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23 Comments

  1. The_Maluka

    “The Government has also called for an end to the practice [of specifying no DSS].”

    and I call for the government to pay benefit tenants enough to cover the full rent and to pay direct to the landlord by default.

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  2. jeremy1960

    It seems to me that nowadays you get a bunch of people (preferably available during the day ), come up with something to protest about, make some “witty” placards and shout a lot. Then campaign to government and they sort things out for you!

    Shame ARLA & NALS didn’t think of that whilst agents were being shafted over tenant fees but then again agents work during the day.

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  3. Chatty Cathy

    When landlords can’t accept people on benefits what’s the problem with stating it in the description, are we that scared of offending people that we can’t state the facts?

    As a LL myself I would take a tenant in full time work every time over someone on benefits as from personal experience they’re far more likely to be a nightmare, sweeping statement I know but true

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    1. NewsBoy

      Exactly. All this will succeed in doing is wasting DSS applicants time. They will call the agent and ask if DSS is allowed, only to be told it isn’t. What a complete waste of time for them and the agents. However….

      Maybe we are better off just letting them vent their spleen on this stuff, rather than worrying about anything really useful!

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      1. Elizall41

        …or maybe it would be worth meeting the applicants for a viewing? The tenant must go into the agency as well as applying online.
        Agencies meet the tenants face to face can get an understanding of their values and situation, requesting two good references and a gaurentaur. A secured Deposit. The property checked for inspection after a few months. 6 month contract to start to ensure they look after the property.
        The council need to stop forcing Dss tenants through the eviction process, which upsets the landlords. Which then causes stress apon everyone involved. It is then adding to the bad reputation that Dss tenants already have. No one wants them in their properties, it’s understandable.
        There is less affordable housing, good people who work hard but can’t afford to pay their whole rent for their property because of the inflation, they can’t live without help from the government. Also there’s probably more single parent family’s these days that end up having to get Dss. Which then inflates the amount of council properties used up then there’s more people becoming homeless.
        The’re are not enough council homes. 
        I don’t think that the government/ council do enough to make things fair on this subject for the tenant or the landlord. Estate agents are stuck in the middle. But it’s important to remember that there are normal hard working families that deserve somewhere nice to live. To all the landlords ‘Those people will look after your property.’
        It’s unfortunate that it has come to this. 

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  4. Sunbeam175

    As a landlord I’d always want working people, they pay in advance, if there is arrears it’s worth taking them to court (whereas benefits tenants, this is a waste of time) and there’s no danger of me getting any clawback on the rent. I’d love someone from 38 degrees or Shelter to tell me ONE ADVANTAGE of letting to benefit tenants?

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    1. Will2

      I can think of one advantage Sunbeam175!! you would prevent yourself being bullied by the housing thugs but it would not do your finances or investment any good.

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  5. Will2

    I for one will not be bullied by Shelter or any other bunch of thugs or political bully boys (or girls) and will only let my properties to tenants that are risk assessed to meet the criteria I set.  Having recently had to evict a tenant for non payment of rent (several months arrears) the Council rubbed salt into the wound by instructing the tenant to ignore a court order (incitement) and wait for the bailif. They rang and asked if their was anything they could do to keep the tenant in place!  As for the the program last night on social housing showing typical/classic severe condensation and tenant/reporter complaining about risk of mould spores certainly raised my temperature as children were USED for sensationalim journalism, gutter TV. Any responsible parent would have ensured mould was washed off with bleach mix/fungicide to protect their children NOT allow it to continue to grow to the health detriment of their children. Those parents should be prosecuted for neglect.  Most interesting is of course none of these ROGUE TV  REPORTS have experts advising why overcrowded rooms with little ventilation, curtains pulled all day etc lack of use of heating due to fuel poverty etc might be contributing factors in order to con the great british public demonising landlords.  They always use the Black Mould as it is really graphic and can form in any property no matter how well maintained if the property is abused by its occupiers.

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    1. Woodentop

      Balck spot mould will only ever form if the property is not kept clean over a long period. You can have damp, condensation, wet patch etc and mould will not appear overnight. It is tenants lifestyle and continued neglect to clean 90% of the time.

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  6. JamesB

    Pointless exercise!

    these applicants will still get turned down if landlords don’t want them so why waste their time

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  7. Woodentop

    RM are correct, the agent has a duty to confirm criteria for tenants. Zoopla were wrong to ban, having cowered to political ideology from pressure groups. The private sector has the right to say who they have living in their investment, it is the private sector and carries the risk. The agent has a duty of care to find the landlord  a suitable tenant, some except DSS, others don’t for very valid reasons. The real issue is the lack of government housing stocks and trying to manipulate the private sector to bail them out.

     

    Banning “NO DSS” will do what? Suddenly DSS tenants believe they will then have a right to be accepted by any landlord. Nuts, delusional and nonsense. As DSS can never guarantee income or guarantee repaying debts …… NO DSS is  a very valid reason why for those landlords, particularly those that have been well and truly stuffed by them for £K’s, have the right to say yes or no at the very beginning and save everyone wasted time (including the tenants). In any event tenants will just continue to fail on “reference score” and the far left wing saga will have failed miserably.

     

    These pressure groups who do better at trying to get government to build homes for social housing …. sometimes for the tenants the local authorities have evicted!

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    1. s71

      Via Zoopla . you will now be getting a lot more time waster

      having said that we advertise on all 3 platforms and On the market is surprisingly producing more leads then Zoopla

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  8. Eyereaderturnedposter12

    …Given the propensity of these ”professional whinger” types (Lobbyists/Not-for-Profit/Charities etc.) to compensate themselves handsomely, I suspect that being on benefits isn’t something Mr Innes will personally have to contend with.
     
    I remember a simpler time, when you actually had to have some understanding of what you were talking about, to be taken seriously…. Now, these people get ‘airtime’/media coverage!  
    It’s a mad mad world…

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  9. LetGreed

    Its not that the rent is from the DSS – you’ll get the money. The point is that many DSS tenants don’t have deposits (relying on bonds) with no deposit comes no responsibility. With no responsibility comes neglect for the property. From experience more DSS tenants leave properties in a poor state than no DSS tenants. Therefore why would you allow your client LL’s to accept a higher level of risk. There are a few that I do recommend however not many. The private sector is not the place to house those that neglect properties and expect to walk away. Tenants with money have more to lose and consequently do tend to be more responsible tenants -fact.

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    1. Elizall41

        LetGreed- Sorry I just need to correct you there, Dss applicants ‘can’ actually get deposits, they get 0% loans especially for supporting themselves in private property’s, it’s lended by the credit union. I’m sorry you have had a bad experience by the sound of it. We ‘can not’ assume everyone is the same type of person. More people find it hard to afford properties these days. I know many people who work hard, keep their rented properties immaculate but have had to turn to benefits for some reason or another. Nothing to do with being a terrible tenant. I think we all need to be careful about how we approach things, I suppose allowing people to have a chance at a viewing that would give the agents time to get to know whether someone is respectful and can be backed up by a guarantor. Having a gaurantor would then be an alternative assured payment.

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  10. Dom_P

    It blows my mind that this is even ‘a thing’. If a private individual owns a property and they choose to offer it out to tenants in order to realise a income, why on earth would they willingly choose a tenant with limited prospects for payment and/or deposit?!
     
    It puts them at higher risk as that tenant has no incentive to look after the property, and if they trash it or let it fall into a state of ill repair the private landlord has no avenues to recoup their financial loss as that individual is not likely to have the ability to meet any court order.
     
    The moron lobbyists really are meddling in something ill thought through here and are lobbying the wrong groups. If there was better support for the PRS rather than a constant stream of governmental persecution then stock would be up, LL would be more happy to accept DSS with adequate protection, and the sector would be profitable and fit for purpose for all parties. Craziness!!

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  11. MrsF

    Remember, it is about being seen to be fair! Landlord still has final say. All they are doing is removing the ability to state NO DSS/Benefits etc.  
     
    I know that the changes within certain softwares will be implemented and finalised by the end of April. Yes, I understand that it is going to be somewhat of a learning curve. But as I said, it is about being seen to be fair and the landlord still has the final word.

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    1. Woodentop

      That is not the way to run a business. “Being seen to be fair” doesn’t change the fact the tenant was never ever going to get a chance for “that particular property”. They are wasting their own time and everybody else’s (the latter covering the expense). Life isn’t fair!

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  12. jeremy1960

    With the onset of lower deposits as of June 1st, I am recommending to all new landlords and existing landlords taking new tenancies that they take out rent & legal insurance to cover them in the event rent is not paid or tenant doesn’t vacate. The criteria for landlords to take out said insurance means that applicants have to pass a comprehensive reference and checking process part of which is income criteria. If the prospective tenant does not have sufficient income, we ask for wage/salary slips at the outset, then they cannot be considered by that landlord and I have fulfilled my obligation to the landlord in securing the best tenant available.

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    1. Will2

      some companies will accept tenants on benefits providing there is a guarantor.  The next question will be does a landlord want to pay for additional referencing for a guarantor post June 2019 to take a tenant that may be borderline? And of course with only a 5 week deposit?  Shelter the gov etc are making it more difficult for the most difficult tenants to house.

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  13. HIT MAN

    Honest workng tenants always pay the referencing/admin fees, it’s never been an issue, shelter one of the main culprits in the banning of fees and now trying to ban of No DSS adverts, I suggest they build some houses and put them up themselves.

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  14. Mothers Ruin

    So having got what they wanted with BTL taxation –  in summary cuddly Corbyn and Shelter would now like to end no fault S21’s, offer tenants 3 year tenancies (that the tenant can get out of but the landlord can’t) accept DSS tenants with as many pets as they like, cap rent increases, and insist on zero deposits. Is this the real world for property investors? They will be left with the poorest stock the PRS has to offer and rue the day. Meanwhile the political agenda/propaganda for votes continues……….

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    1. Will2

      Unfortunately Corbyn and shelter do not understand the term SHORTHOLD.  THe basis which landlords made their investments.  There are assured tenancies which provide the longer tenancies and lower rents provided by housing association.  Guess what; they want Range Rover housing for Dacia money!  And surprise surprise the cretins blame the people who invested in SHORTHOLDS rather than the public investment in ASSURED TENANCIES.

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