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No DSS ruled unlawful ... about time too

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Wanda_the_Wonder, Jul 14, 2020.

  1. Wanda_the_Wonder

    Wanda_the_Wonder Occasional commenter


    In her ruling, Judge Victoria Elizabeth Mark said that “rejecting tenancy applications because the applicant is in receipt of housing benefit was unlawfully indirectly discriminatory on the grounds of sex and disability, contrary to […] the Equality Act 2010”.
    Jolly_Roger15, Jamvic and Ro13 like this.
  2. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    The principle is of course correct but I fear this will lead to higher rents so the landlords that way can say a housing benefit applicant is refused, seeing as they cannot afford (through the benefit) to pay the rent.

    That is, we are not discriminating but of course, you cannot expect us to pay their rent too?

    Either that or the housing benefit allowance goes up.

    Both measures are not going to be of concern or cost to the landlords, quite the opposite.
    agathamorse likes this.
  3. costermonger

    costermonger Occasional commenter

    Absolutely correct that people on benefits shouldn't be penalised. Pretty much impossible in practice to police. I didn't refuse to let to him / her / them because they are on benefits, I just didn't like them and didn't want them in my property...
    WB and Jamvic like this.
  4. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    It is like the reluctance of builders to include low cost housing provision in their schemes. Nice idea but i suppose the concept is why should i lose money to house folks who can't afford my prices,I lot depends on who the house in such places. The council policies for conditions of tenency might at odds with the builder,
    Jamvic likes this.
  5. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    It won't make any difference. Landlords cant get insurance for DSS tenents, and cannot take tennants that are not insured. The reson for being turned down will be given as insurance as a condition fo the mortgage, rather than DSS, but it will mean exactly the same thing
    WB, Jamvic, ilovesooty and 1 other person like this.
  6. diddydave

    diddydave Established commenter

    Having been an 'accidental' landlord many years ago as my wife-to-be had a home that we no longer needed when we got married but couldn't sell because of the negative equity our experience was that those on benefits were more reliable because their rents were paid directly by the council whereas we had two private tenants who disappeared without paying. Of course that changed when the benefits were paid directly to the tenant who then had to pay the landlord and you then get someone who can choose not to pay you because they have other more pressing needs.
  7. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    Another tactic is to demand money up front for rent if their housing record is poor, Many on benefits life hand to mouth so demand for 6-month rent in advance for those with a poor rental record is often used.
    Personally I think a lot of problems begin with rent not being paid direct to the landlords, as a poster has pointed out. It is so easy to think I can sort it next week and of course there is always another pressing demand.
  8. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Landlords will just say things like "working professionals only" instead

    Anyway the decision is only by a district judge in a county court so doesn't set a legal precedent. It doesn't give any sort of definitive legal ruling and other judges don't have to follow it.
    WB, Jamvic, nomad and 1 other person like this.
  9. smoothnewt

    smoothnewt Star commenter

    You can get insurance. My brother and I rent out our late mother’s house to a tenant whose rent is paid by the council directly to us. The choice of policies is more limited, but they do exist.
    ajrowing and Jamvic like this.
  10. Jamvic

    Jamvic Star commenter

    It does seem really unfair to be discriminated against just because some of your rent may come from benefits. Especially if you have a long and stable history as a reliable tenant. I do wonder why the part of the rent coming from the DSS can’t just be paid direct to the landlord to provide them with a guarantee of receiving rent money regularly. It sounds a better method for both parties, unless I’m missing an obvious drawback. Was there a rationale behind this system being changed?
    littlejackhorner likes this.
  11. diddydave

    diddydave Established commenter

    I think, but happy to be corrected, that it was part of the cost cutting work. By having the money sent to just one place (the benefit claimant) there would be less work to do for the council. Also that it would encourage the benefit claimant to take more responsibility. Also it meant that it put claimant and private tenants on the same footing, both then have the same choice about which bills to pay first.

    My other thought is that it meant that costs could be cut as you wouldn't have landlords charging the maximum rent that would be allowed to be claimed under housing benefit rules. If tenants (private or DSS) couldn't afford the rent then rents would have to come down whereas if rents under housing benefits were allowed to go up to a certain maximum that would become the default minimum rent. At the time I didn't see this as a problem as living in the South the housing benefit was actually below the market rent but I can see that it would inflate rents, and therefore the tax burden, in other areas.
    Jonntyboy, agathamorse and Jamvic like this.
  12. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    In reality, the rent crisis is mainly the fault of the current government.Their insistence that owning your own home is more important than renting has led to a demise in renting properties combined to an increase in rents as banks encourage the 'maximum return' to cover costs no longer catered for by renters. as the government reduced tax reliefs on rentable properties.
    In some parts of the world such as Germany long-term renting is the norm and folks stay in properties for years.
    We have a need for mixed housing , unfortunately, this is an area when political decisions affect the lives of folk in a sometimes cruel way.
    I also feel that profit derived from the selling off of council stock should go back to that council and so provide for the building of other rentable properties!
    littlejackhorner and vannie like this.
  13. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    The ruling is fine by me but should come with a decision that Housing Benefit is paid to the landlord, not the tenant. Issues would then only arise if the rent is not covered in full by GB.

    It was a big mistake years ago when it was decided to pay HB direct to the tenant. It was aimed at helping them to understand all the responsibilities of adult life and was thought that they would learn to budget properly. We had a Social Services family who, to no-one's surprise, used their new-found income on booze, taxis, treats and takeaways. They were thousands in arrears with the very Council that was paying them HB! Crazy!

    What will happen is that some landlords will now increase the bond required to rent their properties and no HB recipients will be able to apply in the first place.
    littlejackhorner and agathamorse like this.
  14. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    I don't know what the situation was versus rents and HB when the change was made to give HB direct to most claimants but there days it's more likely that rents exceed the local HB maximum, especially if there is a spare bedroom.
  15. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    I remember how difficult it was for my wife and me, as 'young professionals', in our second year of teaching, to get a mortgage!
    agathamorse likes this.
  16. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    All the high street building societies we approached (this was forty years ago) 'politely declined' our applications, or advised us to 'come back in a year two's time'. Eventually, Mortgages for Teachers made us an offer, after thinking about it for months.
    agathamorse likes this.
  17. diddydave

    diddydave Established commenter

    I believe it is 100% of the rent (if you can get a council house) but then deductions are made if it has extra luxuries that are not needed for the claimant's purpose..i.e. a spare bedroom. Of course finding a place that has exactly the beds you need can be difficult and they are penalised for having more even if that is all that is available.

    For private rental it depends on your area. https://www.gov.uk/housing-benefit/what-youll-get
    In my area the max for a 1-bed is £100 a week.
    For the City of London it's £300 a week

    There are places in my area that come in under the HB maximum.
  18. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Lead commenter

    LHA is of course capped based on the 30th percentile of local market rents, though they've been frozen for some time, so housing benefit is below market rent by design everywhere in the country.
  19. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    To be on Housing Benefit means you are on an income that is barely adequate to survive on. Yet HB (as has been noted) does not cover the full cost of the rent, so you have to make up the difference from your income which is barely adequate in the first place. Eating and not freezing becomes optional.
    agathamorse and Jolly_Roger15 like this.
  20. diddydave

    diddydave Established commenter

    I'm not convinced that is true.
    If LHA is based on the 30th percentile then it means that a claimant has access to only the cheapest available properties (the bottom 30%) not to none, and if it has the number of bedrooms required then HB is 100% of that rent.
    agathamorse likes this.

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