By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.
Graham Awards


Some lettings agents ignoring No DSS ruling, claims Shelter chief

The chief executive of campaigning charity Shelter claims some lettings agencies are ignoring the recent ruling that private landlords cannot discriminate against benefit claimants.

Last month a court in York ruled that blanket bans on claimants are strictly forbidden, on the grounds of discrimination. It found a single mother of two had experienced indirect discrimination when a letting agent refused to let a property to her.

That legal ruling was welcomed by landlord and lettings agency bodies at the time but now the chief executive of Shelter, Polly Neate, has told The Guardian newspaper: “Hundreds of people have since contacted our services with similar stories [of no DSS] and we are still hearing of letting agents and private landlords ignoring the judgment.”


She continues: “The recent court judgment was an incredibly important step forward but Shelter has been fighting ‘No DSS’ for nearly two years and will continue to do so until these discriminatory practices are stamped out for good. All landlords and letting agents should know that if they keep acting unlawfully, they could face legal action and hefty fines.”

However, Neate gives no indication of the agencies allegedly breaching the rule, nor how many of them she knows of, nor of any action being taken to notify the authorities.



Just over two weeks ago Shelter claimed it was “doubling up” its efforts to make sure letting agents comply with anti-discrimination legislation when it comes to tenants.

It said at the time: “We’ll be doubling up our efforts to end housing benefit discrimination for good – and make sure letting agents are complying with the ruling.“

  • icon

    Good luck with that

  • icon

    So Shelter, act as guarantor and get DWP to make direct payments to the Landlord from the very beginning
    no messing around waiting for large arrears to build up , problem mainly solved

  • girish mehta

    Shelter can solve this problem easily.Simply act as guarantor for the tenants.

  • girish mehta

    Shelter board members linked to Grenfell Fire tragedy resign.
    What happened to tenants rights when shelter board members were selling dodgy cladding in Grenfell towers.
    Pity they have put thousands of life at risk
    Now they come and preach to landlords and agents about their responsibilities
    Shelter get your house in order first then lecture us !!

  • icon

    Polly Neate talking out the wrong end again. No evidence to support her wild-eyed claims but it is good for a few column inches and several thousands more in donations to help pay her salary!

  • James B

    Bored of listening to shelter now banging the no dss drum for publicity.. this won’t house one more tenant whether it’s on the adverts or not .. but keep pushing for them donations shelter !

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    All Agents and Landlords need to do is apply the affordability criteria, which according to Shelters figures, eliminate 97% of rented property as benefit paid is Below Market rent. Also to require a Guarantor ( especially from the unwaged as part of a fiscal management policy. )

    Shelters 'York case' won't make a single property more accessible to those on benefit, just give them more of a 'run-around' and cause frustration. ( which Shelter are marketing as a 'success' ! ) More foolish of those that thought this would make any tangible difference for tenants.

  • icon

    I’m sorry, I wouldn’t even go into a Shelter shop. Having run a successful estate and letting agency for 13 years and been a landlord for 35 years, we tried on numerous occasions to talk with them to get help and advice for specific clients in great need of help.. only to be told “we don’t talk to letting agents”.

    They are so anti landlord they’re actually self defeating and letting poor homeless people down.

    jeremy clarke

    Be careful shopping at B & Q or using Nationwide as they both support shelter as do Tom Smiths who make Christmas crackers! money spent at these organisations is money used to promote anti-landlord propaganda by shelter!

  • Matthew Payne

    Landlords and agents "ignoring the judgment" is not the same as what she would like to say which is "they are not doing what I want and accepting all DSS tenants". As we have discussed on other posts, blanket discrimination by agents and landlords directly on grounds of gender or disabilty alone is not the driver for the vast majority, and where there is the odd maverick that does discriminate in this way, they should be prosecuted as Polly says. She is either choosing to ignore or doesn't understand the real issues behind why DSS tenants are not an attractive propostion, either because she knows there is very little she will be able to do to address those challenges or doesn't care what they are. The "indirect" in the Courts judgment is only a reference in context to how the tenant's rejection was handled. Had we got into the detail of why that ladies application was rejected, it would have been no different to all the others - affordability/clawback etc as she was not told it was because she was female or a single parent.

    If anything her campaign will probably draw more unwelcome scrutiny onto the group of people she claims she is trying to help in these uncertain economic times and they will find it even harder to find somewhere to live.

  • icon

    My ads will no longer say “No DSS” as required, they will now say “must have last 3 months pay slips”

  • icon

    They will send you their benefit slips - they regards that as pay not a benefit.

    I have only ever had one "benefit" tenant that was any good. She worked part-time bringing up her daughter. She was on top-up and not only paid on time. she left the propery better than she found it. Unfortunately she did so well at work that she was given a promotion with accommodation and, if she turned it down, her salary was slightly too much to claim top up.

  • jeremy clarke

    I read the article in the Guardian, in my mind it had nothing to do with private landlords not accepting benefit claiming tenants but more to do with the failure of successive governments and local authorities to provide sufficient social housing. For those on the margins, the availability of social housing would solve their immediate problem of insufficient income, no guarantor, no credit history.
    If Polly really wants to do good (& I for one and not convinced she does) she needs to focus her energy on government and local authorities getting them to provide more social housing. The same local authorities also need the powers to enable them to move on people in social housing who no longer need it because they can afford to rent in the PRS or they can obtain a mortgage to buy so releasing social housing for the needy.

  • icon
    • 04 August 2020 13:28 PM

    It is MY property, and I alone will decide who will be allowed to rent my property and at any price agreed by me and a potential tenant.

    I will NEVER accept any tenant from a Housing Authority ever, ever never. I will sell the houses before that happens.

    Anyway...There is always a way of using vocabulary that makes it very clear.

    At the very least I will always insist on a Guarantor, which very few DSS tenants would be able to do anyway, and I would want their 6 month pay slips and a reccomendation from an employer.

    If that is not forthcoming then neither is my house.


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up