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Activists stage DSS protest outside agency office

Activists from the Acorn renters' campaign group have held a protest outside a branch of Chancellors in Oxford.

The group says the event, held at the start of the long weekend, was the launch of a campaign “to end discrimination against renters on benefits in our city.”

A claim on Acorn’s Facebook page says: “We marched on these offices because we have strong reason to believe that they have refused to rent to potential tenants on Universal Credit and other housing benefits.”


It goes on: “‘No DSS’ policies have been repeatedly found to be unlawful by courts, violating the Equality Act 2010. They represent a brazen attack on the working class.

“But letting agents have been sneaky. Knowing that the most marginalised renters can’t take them to court individually, they turn people away by asking for six months rent upfront or decline without reason.”

The group goes on to claim that it’s campaigning “for the safety and dignity that we are all entitled to, by demanding Oxford’s letting agents sign our pledge to categorically end DSS discrimination.”

Chancellors told Letting Agent Today over the weekend: "We do not have a policy of No DSS, Universal Credit or other housing benefit across our business. We apologise if a customer or a member of Acorn has been left with this false impression. We would ask that whoever has been left with this impression contact us in order that we can investigate the cause and take necessary action so that it doesn’t happen again. At this point no one from Acorn has contacted us directly on the matter or responded to our communications sent directly to them, which clarify our policies and ask for information to enable us to investigate their concerns."

Acorn has frequently staged protests at agents’ offices in a handful of cities. Earlier this year two arrests were reported to have been made after police were called by an agent in High Wycombe where a large number of protestors attempted to gain entry.

Last month a lettings agency was found to have unlawfully discriminated against a tenant receiving benefits - the third in recent times. Worthing County Court declared that Michael Jones & Company unlawfully refused to show Hayley Pearce a potential rental property because she receives benefits. 

According to campaigning charity Shelter, which took up the case on the tenant’s behalf, an agency employee told Pearce over the phone that people in receipt of benefits would not be acceptable to the landlord, without checking whether she could afford the rent. 

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    No DSS represents an attack on the working class. The word that Acorn do not understand is working. Landlords generally have no problem with tenants who are working and get a top up from government. However it is those who have no intention of working that need to seek accommodation from the social housing sector.

    I have let to both types and will never let to the work shy again.

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    The lazy aggressive parasites are harassing people again! They are allowed to protest but why attack or try to intimidate local agents? Shows you the mentality of these scroungers.

  • Roger  Mellie

    DSS represents no guarantee of rent payment or recourse to recover unpaid rent and damages. Then there are those that become a thorn in the landlord's side with constant complaints and breaking things so they don't have to pay the rent because they want a holiday or whatever. A paying tenant will win over a DSS tenant most times.

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    • 04 May 2021 09:36 AM

    My current car is a BMW 340 that I worked very hard for. Very hard.

    And of course, I will never let anyone whom I do not trust to drive it, as they will often trash it, leave it dirty, and never clean and polish it. And maybe not even give it back to me?

    So why the hell should I just let anyone I do not know to live in my house who might just trash my house, leave it dirty, never clean it, and often not even give my house back to me.

    How come these people expect me to just easily let these people to have my house, but they understand why I will not let them use my BMW?

    The rules are inconsistent when it comes to housing.

    And for sure I ain't allowing of these types of people anywhere near my house. Nor my BMW!


    I will never let anyone drive my M6, even friends or family (unless I know them well and know how they drive). I will never take my car to certain areas and will definitely feel suspicious even if these dss people would even look at my car!

    Sounds very mean/evil/generalizing/discriminatory?.....well reading how those people destroyed properties on multiple landlords group and how vicious they can get. I don't feel an once of sympathy for them.

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    • 04 May 2021 16:33 PM

    And I have been one of them.

    And the local authorities did not care a sh*t about what their people had done to my property.....Not even an apology, even when they had known of the damage for 5 months....!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Unforgivaable, and then they wonder why no sensible landlord will 100% shun DSS tenants.

    Thery lost any possible future chance.

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    "they wonder why no sensible landlord will 100% shun DSS tenants."
    - I think you're admitting that you discriminate against dss claimants, which is illegal.

    Acorn are right: you have a secret policy, and you need to be challenged.
    Screenshot taken.


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