The Residential Landlords Association has given its backing to Zoopla’s ban on agents and landlords advertising properties to rent as ‘No DSS’.
Chris Town, RLA vice chair, says: “Landlords should not refuse someone solely because they are on benefits, and should consider prospective tenants on a case by case basis.
“But with growing numbers of benefit claimants now reliant on the private rented sector we need to do more to give tenants and landlords greater confidence in the benefits system.
“This means building on positive changes already made by the government by giving all tenants the right to choose if they want to have the housing element of Universal Credit paid directly to their landlord; working with bank lenders to remove mortgage terms that prevent landlords renting to benefit claimants as NatWest has already done; and ending the Local Housing Allowance freeze which has meant benefits bear little resemblance to rents.”
In its announcement at the end of last week Zoopla said that it had already contacted member agents about the issue, was amending its terms and conditions, and would scrap the No DSS field in its cloud-based software products.
RLA research has found that the average amount owed by Universal Credit tenants in rent arrears increased by half from just over £1,600 in 2017 to almost £2,400 in 2018.
Around two thirds of the largest buy to let mortgage lenders do not allow landlords to rent property to tenants receiving housing benefit.