The government says it wants “an immediate change” in the policy of some letting agents and landlords who advertise ‘No DSS’ when renting out private flats and houses.
It is understood that meetings are to be held between government ministers and officials and bodies including the Association of Residential Letting Agents and the major landlord trade bodies, to discuss the issue.
Minister for Family Support, Housing and Child Maintenance, Justin Tomlinson says: “Everyone should have the same opportunity when looking for a home, regardless of whether they are in receipt of benefits.
“With Universal Credit, payments can be paid directly to the landlord, and we continue to listen to feedback and work with landlords to improve the system.
“Landlords can already receive rent from tenants on Housing Benefit and Universal Credit – meaning payments can be paid directly into their accounts.
“This helps strengthen the choices and opportunities available for those on benefits to secure the homes they and their families need.”
And a statement from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government says housing minister Heather Wheeler has made it clear that letting adverts which potentially discriminate against would-be tenants on Housing Benefit “should end.”
Out of 4.5m households living in private rental accommodation, 889,000 receive housing benefit to help pay their rent.
However, the MHCLG says latest figures show around half of landlords said they would not be willing to let to tenants on Housing Benefit – ruling out thousands of vulnerable people and families.
“In the coming months, ministers will meet leading industry representatives, including mortgage providers, landlord associations, tenant groups, and property websites to clamp down on blanket exclusions in adverts – with a view to stopping them altogether” says the statement from the MHCLG.