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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Lettings agency bosses to give evidence to MPs this morning

Senior lettings agency figures are amongst those who will this morning give evidence to a committee of MPs investigating so-called ‘DSS discrimination’ against benefit recipients who privately rent.

The all-party Work and Pensions Select Committee sits this morning and amongst those giving evidence will be Glynis Frew, chief executive of Hunters, and Helen Buck, chief executive of Your Move.

Other evidence will be given by a number of tenants, representatives from mortgage companies including buy to let products in their portfolios, along with Greg Beales, communications director at Shelter and Adam Hyslop of OpenRent.

The committee’s investigation into the apparent discrimination was sparked by media reports late last year of mortgage lenders restricting landlords from renting to people on benefits.

The committee has now widened its inquiries to take in other potential forms of direct or indirect housing discrimination against benefit recipients: from the ‘no DSS’ ads run (at least in the past) by letting agents and portals, to property insurance policies that won’t cover homes rented to people who claim a benefit. 

The NatWest Bank, Zoopla and more recently Rightmove have amended policies which appeared to discriminate against DSS benefit recipients.

A statement from the committee ahead of this morning’s hearing says: “The lenders and property agents will be questioned about their policies in relation to benefit recipients, and what action are going to take to rectify any potential discriminatory impacts of their policies. The landlords and tenants will provide personal testimony of their experience of discrimination against benefit recipients in housing, and what the solutions are.”

  • Paul Smithson

    Welcome to the Socialist state of Britain, rent controls, you can’t decide who you can rent to, or that you can’t ask for your property back, tax on turnover not profit....give it 10 years and the sector will be dead.

  • jeremy clarke

    This government's attitude gets more like the Salem witch trials every day!

  • Bill Rockett

    The easy solution would be for the rent never to go to the tenant and instead go straight to the landlord/agent. That would encourage more landlords to take DSS.

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    Bill no it won’t help matters if paid direct either. The main issue is claw back, if that’s addressed satisfactory then landlords would be happy

     
    S l
    • S l
    • 24 April 2019 10:32 AM

    I agree with Leon. Too many cases of council dealing with benefits paid the deposit and rents and then either stop payment as tenant wanted it to go to their account and refused to pay to landlord OR council claim back from Landlord claiming that the tenant are not entitle to benefit. They should sue the tenant for money back, not claim from landlord. Their inefficiency and lack of responsibility in making sure the tenant are entitle to housing benefit in the first place are the caused of the problems occured in prs not wanting dss or hb.

     
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    • D G
    • 25 April 2019 15:11 PM

    It's not always just the payment of rent. I've been carrying out inventories and checkouts for over 20 years; sorry if it hurts some peoples' ears - HB tenants leave a property in a far worse condition than rent payers. That's not to say all rent payers leave a property in an immaculate condition, just more of them do. It's also the attitude from some of the HB tenants at checkout where they try to convince me they have had a property professionally cleaned, where quite clearly they have tried to clean the property themselves, usually to a very poor standard. As well as the damage they deliberately try to hide and get belligerent when they're 'caught out'. Why don't people who make the rules speak with people who deal with this every day, rather than shouting "it's unfair" when they have only listened to one side of the story.

     
  • icon

    How nice that our elected dictator government is paying lip service to letting agents by inviting them in for discussion. They have made up their mind anyway so this will not make a jot of difference to the outcome.

  • S l
    • S l
    • 24 April 2019 10:38 AM

    Wow, typical of the MPs - “The lenders and property agents will be questioned about their policies in relation to benefit recipients, and what action are going to take to rectify any potential discriminatory impacts of their policies. The landlords and tenants will provide personal testimony of their experience of discrimination against benefit recipients in housing, and what the solutions are.”

    Surely they should look at the problems and the cause which brought on this action to NOT let to DSS or HB. Not just the LA policies. Look behind the reason for the policies.

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    Interestingly I have just seen an ad for the Guinness Trust looking to recruit a Housing Officer. Job description includes carrying out affordability checks? Does this mean they will accept people on UC etc although the housing element would not be enough to pay the rent? As I am well aware most of their family rentals rents are in excess of the LHA rates.

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