Can Landlords Justify Refusing DSS Tenants?

DSS Tenant Vs Landlord

Did anyone read the Daily Express newspaper on Saturday, 24th July, 2010 (side note: I’m not a Daily Express reader, I was simply made aware of the news item)? The front page was splashed with rogue DSS tenants and how much they cost taxpayers. I’ll get into the details shortly, but first let me swing my embarrassingly tiny penis around and have a rant…

I’ve openly had several outbursts about why I’m reluctant to accept DSS tenants, and in return, I’ve received tonnes of abuse, predictably. But in my defence, I’ve always made a point of clarifying that my issue is with the system that governments social housing, and not the tenants themselves. But for some reason, it doesn’t seem to make a difference. I’m still part of the problem, apparently, and it’s definitely not the infrastructure.

The thing is, I actually do sympathise with the genuine DSS tenants that are struggling, HOWEVER, their lack of understanding and inability to appreciate the landlords’ perspective is bullshit and unbelievably boring. It doesn’t seem to work both ways; they want our empathy, but we don’t deserve theirs, yet ironically, a common argument is that they just want us to be “fair”

Anyways, after reading the article, I thought I’d ask the [rhetorical] question: do you think landlords can justify refusing DSS tenants?

Personally, I think ALL DSS tenants should understand that landlords are running a business – whether they like it or not – so we have to act like we’re running a business by assessing the risk factor of the decisions we make. Otherwise, we may as well toss our money on the roulette table and hope for the best.

The reality is, DSS tenants are comparatively high risk occupants. No one is tarring everyone with the same brush here, I’m just stating a fact. By definition, a tenant that is being financially subsidised by the government has financial difficulties (for whatever reason), so the risk with accepting DSS tenants IS far greater than most other types of tenants. Am I saying every DSS tenant is rotten? Definitely not. But what I am saying is that there is clearly a heightened risk.

Oddly, when the situation is framed differently – in a way that doesn’t trigger personal biases – it’s a lot easier to understand. For example, if you explain to a disgruntled DSS tenant that banks need to assess each bank loan application to protect their business, they’re *likely* to understand. But as soon as landlords try to protect their investment with a little risk assessment they automatically become morally corrupt.

Here are some facts from the article to suck on

  • Benefits scroungers are routinely stealing rent money worth hundreds of pounds given to them by the state to pay their landlords.
  • Up to one in 10 of the 674,930 tenants claiming the allowance sponge benefits, interviews with almost 1,000 landlords by the National Landlords Association found.
  • The scandal has caused rent arrears of an estimated £227.4million up to October 2009.

ONE IN 10 abuse the system!!

So, to answer the question at hand, I believe landlords can justify choosing a working professional over DSS tenants, without being labelled a judgemental prick.

To reiterate, I’m not saying the situation is fair for DSS tenants, and I’m not saying every DSS tenant is the same (that’s far from the truth), but what I am saying is, landlords shouldn’t be vilified for making a choice based on risk assessment.

Those that abuse the system aren’t necessarily chavs with missing front teeth, as commonly portrayed (which I totally disagree with), but rather, they’re every day people like Bernadette (the stupid, inconsiderate donkey below) that blends in with society. So while it’s incredibly difficult to separate the genuine from the scum-bags, it seems perfectly feasible to understand why DSS tenants are so often put to the back of the pile.

DSS Tenant Vs Landlord

They are being allowed to pocket the cash for eight weeks before the ­debt-ridden landlord is able to insist that the benefit is instead paid directly.

The article clearly highlights how and why it’s so easy to abuse the system. Shit needs to change for the situation to get better for both landlord and tenant.

Before I go, allow me to quickly go over my stance on the situation again, in easy bullet points, so no one gets confused:

  • I don’t think all DSS tenants are the same. I’ve had pleasant experiences with 2 of them (and bad experiences with 4 of them). They were decent and honest people that were simply dealt a bad hand in life.
  • I’m not saying whether landlords should or shouldn’t accept DSS tenants, I’m just saying landlords have a legitimate reason for not accepting them, and tenants should perhaps understand the situation from our perspective.
  • The system in place, which is so easily exploited, is largely to blame for the current state of affairs, in my opinion, but I don’t blame it entirely. The criminals abusing the system (they ARE criminals as far as I’m concerned) need to be held accountable, and then tossed aside and sliced with a sledge hammer. But the problem is, they’re not.

For those people that deem my rant inappropriate, you can read the original news article online, OUTRAGE AS SCROUNGERS BLOW £220M IN BENEFITS!

86 Join the Conversation...

Showing 36 - 86 comments (out of 86)
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psycho 9th May, 2011 @ 09:11

ok i have phoned many leasing agents.they will not accept people on benifits and thats there company policy so thats not bollocks thats a FACT.
i accept that you have the right to refuse people a tenecny and i respect that its your right to do so. when you personaly state that you are refusing someone becasuse they are on benifits and soley refusing them because of that fact then even though you have a right to do so you are discrimating against that person because of there status. yes i also accept that The tenant would have to prove discrimination but surely you must be seen to give them the same equal rights that any 1 else has a right to apply and be judged on merit. accepted do not have to give a reason and i no myself that landlords have been riped off by people on benifits just as they have by people in full trime employment but surely it makes good sence to judge each person on merit rather than employment status.this puts a lot of honest people in a awfull situation both landlords having empty houses and tenants stuggling to find a home.i wouldnt mind having full checks done but every time ive tried to contact someone renting a house as soon as you state your on benifits thats it. all im asking for is to be treated the same as every 1 else and be given the same oppertunity as every 1 else.personally ive been renting from private landlords for over 20 years recently lost my job thanks to goverment cut backs now my ladlady has issued me with a section 21 notice just because ive lost my job even though weve been good tenants and lived here for 14 years and never missed or been late with one rent payment.thats not to state i might have a job next not given the chance reguardless i quote"your on benifits now and i dont accept dhss tenants" oh well her stated i would just like to be treated the same as every 1 else.

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Mike 9th May, 2011 @ 13:42


As unpleasant as it is, DSS recipients are often refused for purely business reasons. In short, whilst many DSS recipients are good honest people, there are a far higher number of people in that group who are problem tenants than amongst non-dss recipients. Therefore, a landlord who accepts DSS recipients stands a significantly higher risk of being out of pocket than a landlord who does not.

The reason for this is simple - the DSS system is ****ed up. - not your fault and probably nothing you can do about it other than petitioning your MP - but because DSS is paid directly to the tenant and not to the landlord (except in specific situations) it's often the case that the money is spent before the rent can be paid. In this situation the landlord CAN apply to the council to have the rent paid direct, but at that point the landlord is already 2 months rent down, and the council can refuse. In either case the council will not pay any arrears and will not normally make any attempt to recover the unpaid rent from the tenant.

Properties occupied by DSS recipients are often also occupied for a greater percentage of the day, and therefore subject to higher wear and tear and greater risk of damage than from other tenants - even though both may look after the property equally well.

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Cardifflandlord 9th May, 2011 @ 14:34

In addition to Mikes excellent reply above, many insurers will not insure properties with DSS tenants in residence and many mortgage companies will not lend if DSS tenants are mentioned.

If you lie to your insurer or mortgage company as a landlord you can wave your funding goodbye if you get caught. So Psycho, I say again get your fact right before spouting bollocks!

The insurers/mortgage lenders will not take the risk because on balance of probabilities the DSS tenants will cause more problems than they solve for reasons given all over this site. If you have a problem with those companies "discriminating" then I suggest you contact their legal departments with your theory. I am sure they will provide you with reams of data relating to demographics to back up their lending rules. As always - it's the DSS scum who have f***** the system for those with a GENUINE need for a HAND UP and NOT a HAND OUT!

Petition your local MP to get the system changed and MAYBE then things will start to get better.

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psycho 9th May, 2011 @ 16:54

lol you like that word dont you(bollocks).
its obvious im banging my head against a brick wall here.
i m not even going to bother replying

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mynewstart 14th June, 2011 @ 21:50

I am trying to leave an abusive relationship with 2 young children and it has been awful finding that it is so difficult to privately rent a place of my own to raise my children in.

I have been treated with comtempt by several letting agents who virtually wouldn't even let me into their office once I enquired if they would consider a HB tennant. I didn't even get the chance to explain my situation, it was just a point blank refusal which is very disheartening indeed.

Like many of your other commenters I am also an educated person, I work and would only need a HB top up, but I feel that so many doors are being slammed in my face. It seems almost easier to stay in my marriage and tolerate the abuse than find somewhere else for me and my children to live.

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Fedup 20th June, 2011 @ 14:04

I have not read all the comments here but am posting because once again I have been refused a house on the grounds that I am DSS. I am a single parent of three children and really need a bigger property. I can understand the landlords perspective but there are many working people out there that do not pay their rent etc etc so where do you draw the line. I don't have my rent paid to me I have it paid direct to the landlord as it is also easier for me that way but in despite of this and being highly educated I still can't find a landlord that will take me on. I can't find a job and certainly not one that will cover my rent and bills etc.....I am a single parent because my partner left me, I am not one of these young girls that has a baby for the fun of it, I thought I was in a loving relationship but I was wrong..... I advise everyone to think as it might happen to you one day..... I am be on DDS now but I did not start out that way....remember that.

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Fedup 20th June, 2011 @ 14:06

that should say maybe not am be!!

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Fedup 20th June, 2011 @ 17:10

What’s confusing is that no one shouts at banks when they assess applicants for bank loans, but as soon as landlords try to protect their investment with a little risk assessment they automatically become morally crippled!!! If I got declined for credit due to my ill financial circumstances (for whatever reason), I’d understand because it’s not like I’m being told I can’t get credit because i’m overly qualified. Now that would be confusing!!

Banks assess you with a series of questions and checks, Landlords and Estate agents do not, the word DSS has them running for the hills so it is hardly the same thing..... this is what "decent" people claiming DSS want a right to be assessed on our individual situation, not pigeon holed by society. Answer me this, if you had a few working tenants that messed you about and didn't pay the rent would you also them claim to not accept working people because that does happen, I know a couple of people who have good jobs and just don't bother to pay their rent.

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Matt 23rd June, 2011 @ 19:43

interesting...not all Landlords actually have the choice of accepting DSS tenants.
I am looking into a remortgage of a buy to let and one of the lenders criteria states NO DSS!!

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Mike 6th July, 2011 @ 10:31

Interesting blog entry on lettingfocus which looks at local authorities, housing associations & private landlords being open to dss tenants. I particularly liked the following excerpt:

7. Action: Understand that failure in delivery of the “back end service” to private landlords can act as a stab in the back for the best designed and best communicated products. For example, not communicating with landlords over why LHA payments have suddenly stopped, trying to claim overpaid LHA when a landlord could not possibly know that tenant’s circumstances have changed, telling a non paying tenant on LHA to ignore court orders and stay until the bailiffs come etc, will undo the best marketing and most innovative of schemes.

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Stewart 6th August, 2011 @ 23:05

So if a couple (one working and the other on disability benefits) were interested in renting a property and would not be claiming housing benefit, most landlords would be cool with that? (providing all the other stuff is fine such as references etc?)

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Jack 7th September, 2011 @ 14:38

Why don't landlords go the whole hog ..

No Blacks , No Irish , No Asians , No Foreigners , No Scottish , No Disabled , No Short people, No Tall people, No Fatties , No Redheads ,
No 4 eyed gits , No DSS.

In short anyone who isn't white , middle class & independently wealthy..
Strange isn't it one day you can be seen as an upright honest citizen (whilst in full time employment)& the next day you can only be viewed as nothing but a low life scum sucker because your employment ceased..

It should be illegal for you to recommend No DSS..
Mean while your scathing attack on the unemployed & trying to justify why landlords should not accept people as tenants due to being in receipt of DSS payments is outrageous ..
You are limiting those peoples opportunities to find decent accommodation & don't tell me that your going to be ripped off ..because with guarantors & your insurance policies can be fully protected from loss just as you are with your employed tenants.
Most people on benefits are ordinary decent human beings who are no different to you ..they are just unemployed..

I read recently that 40,000 Estate Agents have closed across the UK over the past 3 years due to the recession ..GOOD ..Maybe if they had accepted the DSS as tenants instead of being up their own arses they would still be in business ..
Hey some of them are probably looking for accommodation ..shame there'll be out of luck.. wont they ..

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Dr James 15th November, 2011 @ 13:59

Quite simply, don't become a landlord and turn housing into a business, since it is turning housing into a business that creates the problems you talk about. Try not being a landlord and run a proper business that doesn't exploit the terrible mess housing has become in this country and the culture of investment and greed which encourages people like yourself to make housing into a "profitable" business. If you don't wish to be seen to generalise, why not vet those potential DSS tenants so you only choose the good ones and not the bad ones. That way you won't be seen to be someone who says something and does the opposite. You will therefore be giving all people an equal chance regardless of their circumstances. And also if there is a shortfall in rents, why don't you make the shortfall up yourself if your making a nice profit out of other people's need for housing? Surely you're wealthy enough from the housing business to take a 100 pound a month hit to help someone less fortunate than yourself? I know people who rent property doing just that when they deal with tenants who have lost their job or find difficulty paying rent. But then they spend time getting to know the people rather than generalising about certain social groups. I even know one person who gives several months rent free to tenants who can't pay because of losing their job. That's because they realise they are in the business of housing and with that there comes great responsibility. You're not selling dog food. The risk you take in your landlord business unfortunately involves people and therefore you need to acknowledge that with maturity, compassion and discretion. Then maybe you wouldn't get such angry responses to your posts. Oh, and one other thing, why is not possible to find out about the landlords before we rent from people like you? Why is the rental market based on outdated stereotypes of tenants and endless do's and don'ts about who tenants should be and what they can do and can't do, when that kind of scrutiny is not equally applied to those running these housing rental businesses. Shouldn't your business and who you are be a little bit more transparent so we can judge whether we think you're going to rip us off or not do those repairs while making money out of us to pay for your new car or pension?

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Benji 15th November, 2011 @ 15:09

Doc, youre getting mixed up with running a business and running a charity.

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Dr James 15th November, 2011 @ 17:13

Benji, it isn't an either or - ruthless business or charity; you can also run a business with ethics as my father did and some of my friends do, were you can forfeit some of your profit and that next fancy car and bigger house for yourself, so that other people can live a better life too. That is not called running a charity, its called running a business with compassion and without greed and with ethics. Its not hard to do, it just requires some self-discipline, an open mind, an ability not to generalise, and to not be too possessive of wealth. It requires a cultural shift from a lazy outdated wealth driven form of capitalism which has no limits on individual wealth, to one that is less exploitative, less using, less selfish and greedy. Again, if you think housing is a business from which you can just make money out of without thinking of the social, cultural and individual consequences and responsibilities then you should try something else. It's nearing Christmas, maybe watching a re-run of "It's a Wonderful Life" should be on your Christmas film list. At least, take note that in the past housing was not so much a business, but a social good funded by non-profit making organisations." Oh, how times have changed...

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Benji 15th November, 2011 @ 17:47

Sorry Doc, I don't agree.

Landlording is a business not a charity, fail to make that distinction and sooner or later some scumbag will take you to the cleaners.

Nothing wrong with letting housing as a charity as long as youre aware that is what youre doing.

"A Christmas carol" is a far better festive story. Perhaps try reading a bit of Dickens. It would remove your rose tinted glasses about what housing was really like in the past.

Best Regards.

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Dr James 15th November, 2011 @ 20:50

Well, it is clear you have never been on the other side of the fence and poor and struggling with housing; It's interesting you say you don't agree with what I say - you have a right to do that, but without experiencing the other side of the fence just what value is your opinion worth? As I said being a landlord does not need to be an either/or business or charity. There is a middle ground which is worth exploring. As for Dickens, yeah things were really bad then, but that doesn't excuse lesser degrees of exploitation of housing now. Exploitation is not relative, exploitation is exploitation. However, I do remember the main point of "Christmas Carol" as being about obtaining wealth without compassion and humanity as being a rather pointless and souless exercise. Dickens realised that capitalism and business needed a compassionate core. And my point about "It's a Wonderful Life" is that in the story the building society made no profit out of helping people become homeowners; we've lost that business ethic and replaced it with housing as a form of investment, a form of wealth, and a form inequality which often pitches wealthy individuals against poorer ones, particular the younger and more vulnerable members of our society. Thanks for the chance of debating this issue with you. Best wishes.

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Benji 15th November, 2011 @ 21:21

Hi Doc,
Nice to chat.
All the best.

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David Booth 24th November, 2011 @ 21:07

No need to refuse DSS Tennants anymore

I would like to take my time to introduce you to our new company Tasker Payment Services. The company is designed as a one of it's kind payment service for DSS claimants and their landlords. Customers who do not have a bank account, or have large overdrafts eating into their Local Housing Allowance can use our service to have the peace of mind that their rent is paid straight to their landlord's bank account on time, every time.
With much experience in dealing with such payments, landlords can rely on Tasker Payment Services to provide them and their tenants with a reliable and secure way of receiving their rent.
We are fully registered with the FSA (registration number 564939) and can be found on the FSA's register of payment service providers.

The idea behind our company is simple the tennant agrees to pay our company (Tasker Payment Services) the money they get from the LHA and the landlord gets paid from us fortnightly. All we take £4.00 transaction fee for transferring the money to the landlords bank account.
This also helps out the council because they dont have to deal with arrears and it could help the council because more landlords would want to register because they know they are going to get paid.
If you would like to visit our website and read a little more about us if you have any questions please feel free to ask.

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Jay 5th January, 2012 @ 14:40

I completely understand that landlords are running a business and actually agree with some of your points (@landlord).

I can understand that dds comes with more risks than working people.

As you have said many times you 'take people on there own merits' however many lanlords out their don't even take the time of day because as soon as you say 'dds' they switch off and many put NO DDS on the property discription which puts many people off.

I'm 16 and live with my mother who has bi-polar amongst other mental illnesses and she pays the rent in our current property as soon as its due. many times its the council who bodge a payment which infact make the tenant look bad.

Like i said i understand that its 'your' business and as you may say you don't discriminate many other landlords do.

i also think that your langauge dosn't help, people are going to get mad if you talk like that.

But then again its your blog and i also find it quite amusing.

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anon 22nd January, 2012 @ 21:52

you can claim dss without your landlord knowing ;)
less they know the better as long as they get their money every month on time and you're not a problem

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David Booth 22nd January, 2012 @ 22:03

Councils cant always pay directly to he landlord unless the tennant gets into situations such as above why note try we make sure the landlord is paid on time everytime and you don't have the hassle of whether you are going to get paid!!

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Benji 23rd January, 2012 @ 10:22

David, If/When you go bust, who pays the landlord?

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Benji 23rd January, 2012 @ 10:24

Anon, What about employers references, credit checks, bank statements etc?

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L Tasker 23rd January, 2012 @ 18:26

tasker payment services is Fsa registered and opts to safeguard funds, which means business funds and debts are segregated from LHA and rent received and paid.

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Benji 23rd January, 2012 @ 20:57

L Tasker, D Booth etc,
Are you covered by the FSA financial services compensation scheme? As you are hopefully aware, payment services are not covered by the FSCS.

An unscrupulous rent collector (not saying that you are) could easily build up rent payments and then disappear overnight. That would cause a lot of pain to both landlords and tenants.

If you are on the level, why are you trying to get free advertising here? Why not do the honest thing and pay the site owner for an advert?

BTW, Im obviously not connected otherwise I'd have deleted all your spam already.

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L Tasker 24th January, 2012 @ 07:40

We do advertise on various sites and will look into ur suggestion. We are a new business and are currently setting up a fidelity assurance which covers the issues that you outlined. We are not a rent collection service, we are a payment service that operates on behalf of the tenant in line with the LHA rules of direct payment to the tenant. We are simply putting the information about the service we offer out tree so that tenants like the above are aware of it should they not have a bank account or are currently ovrdrawn. Tenants often don't have access to landlords sites, hence why we are using such methods to inform them what we do. As you can see above, alot of dss tenants welcome avenues which will aid them in their search for dss property.

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sineace 24th January, 2012 @ 07:56

at the end of the day it's about use and abuse, it isn't about working or dss, well not morally anyway, should we really keep labelling each other like this? There are plenty of disreputable working people too, there are working people that smoke, drink and take drugs and cause noise and trouble as there are dss people like this too, this is why we need a more personal service when it comes to things like this so we aren't all tarred with the same brush and the poor people who may have nothing at least are able to keep their dignity but it's a cold hard world we live in isn't it and the more the population grows the higher the figures will get of bad people. the only problems i've ever had paying the rent is when the social security office have messed up my housing benefit, another system that is flawed. So in some cases it's the housing that get the social security tenant the bad name but is that ever heard!

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sineace 24th January, 2012 @ 08:16

I actually do sympathize with the genuine DSS tenants that are struggling, HOWEVER, their lack of understanding and inability to appreciate the landlords’ perspective is bullshit and unbelievably boring.

how can u assume that struggling dss genuine tenants lack understanding and inability to appreciate the landlords perspective???? you can't

"the people hurling that abuse at me are probably receiving benefits because they’re uneducated delinquents, as opposed to educated single parents or those claiming for physical disabilities."
again, probably recieving benefits because they are uneducated, lol, do you think educated or disabled people are incapable of losing it!!! incapable of hurling abuse!!! i don't think so

and how you can know that banks have never had anyone rant and rave at them i dont know, so take your tiny penis and stick it where the sun don't shine baby, lol, people are unpredictable and that's people, not working, not dss, no labels, people, full stop.

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sineace 24th January, 2012 @ 08:52

all tenants should have a police check
rent should go direct to the land lord
abusers should be dealt with
and justice should be paramount
landlords should be protected
and labels should not exist
statistics have their place but aren't a true representation of the individual, and thats what we are, individual and should be dealt with as such, stats are taking things to the impersonal which isnt what we need to give a just service in any walk of life, they only give an average measure and turn us into numbers and not people, how sad

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Jess 22nd March, 2012 @ 14:44

Landlords also refuse pets and children sometimes. This doesn't mean they hate animals and kids, or they're 'discriminating' against them - it's simply higher risk for damages.
Personally, I wouldn't take on someone who's on DSS. I'm gonna tar everyone with the brush and say they are mostly scumbags. Looking at a few of the 'furious', badly worded responses on here (e.g "i wrk i ave 2 kidz i no1 will take me itz discrimination like wot if i wuz balck?!").. Well, you're not doing yourself any favours.

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Jess 22nd March, 2012 @ 14:45

Ahh, I mucked up.
** "i dnt wrk"

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na#GY982744B 2nd June, 2012 @ 00:19

@Jess, I can't for the life of me understand why anyone in there right mind no matter how desperado would want to help you pay off your dept or as I say "deathgage" Justice would be repossession of your property, maybe that would drill some much needed empathy into you...doubt it ! Good luck with those debt repayments !

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na#GY982744B 2nd June, 2012 @ 00:24

@sineace well said !

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Lynne 12th September, 2012 @ 16:54

I have been in a rented house for 8mths now, l am on dss as they call it. I have always drawn my rent money out the same day it goes into my bank account and taken it straight to the rental agents for my rent. Now the house l have been in has been sold so l have to fine somewhere else, but this is very hard because alot of landlords will not take dss. And rental houses are getting really expensive. I have gotten a letter from the rental agents for any landlord so they can see that l have always paid my rent on time.
This situation is through no fault of my own and find it hard to understand why we are all put into a box because we are on benefits. People should be judges on their own merit!!!!!!

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Anthony 14th December, 2012 @ 09:39

After being diagnosed with various debilitating conditions, they put me on disability told me i cant work no more as im incapable, so i take a house with a private landlord payed for by dss, move in and the place is a complete shit pit, so i spend just over 2 grand of money i cannot really afford to do the house up give it proper flooring repair all jobs that should have been done before i moved in 3 months after completion owner decides to sell the house along with another 18 in my area making 18 good families homeless
and the post of this blog has the cheek to say that the tenants are the bad guys wtf, my landlords actions are immoral and dishonourable and unfortunately there arent many more out there who are the same.

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Chris Slater 3rd January, 2013 @ 13:41

Divide and conquer at its best. The Bourgeoisie as always dictating to the proletariat. We are in the position we are in because of that great Fascist Thatcher.

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Sonai 4th June, 2014 @ 20:00

You sound like an awful human being. DSS or not, who would want to rent from you?

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The Landlord 4th June, 2014 @ 20:29


"awful human being" sounds a bit extreme, but I guess I would say that.

I provide clean, safe properties. I abide by the rules (because I'm aware of them, many landlords aren't. In fact, many agents aren't), and attend to repairs and maintenance almost immediately- regardless of how small and beyond my legal obligations. I'm contactable 24/7 and pay my taxes, albeit begrudgingly.

I'm good to my tenants, professional.

I could walk through the doors of your agency as a landlord, and you'd be none the wiser that I was the mind behind this "personal landlord blog", where I just go on occasional rants, which really has no reflection on how I actually deal with "real life" matters.

So, I guess, to answer your question, many people would (and do). They could do a lot worse :\

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Benji 4th June, 2014 @ 21:57


'who would want to rent from you?'

If a man has good corn or wood, or boards, or pigs, to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs, than anybody else, you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

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JimW 5th June, 2014 @ 09:25

FACT maybe,

On the other hand, your discriminating against the tiny number, in your seemingly tiny mind, of legitimate people, with disabilities, or ongoing medical conditions, who require suitable properties, that are few and far between when offered by the local authority.
Those people are potentially good tenants, unlikely to take illegal drugs, or drink excessively. We are unlikely to trash the place, put smoke stains on the walls and carpets. You get the picture.

DSS hasn't existed for many years, so you may as well catch up and use the correct terminology, and start reducing the stigma attached to genuine disabled and needing tenants, and start promoting how good they can actually be! Better use of your energy all round!

Landlords that refuse, good tenants receiving benefits only add to the frustration of those genuinely seeking somewhere to live.

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ingm 2nd January, 2015 @ 12:56

basically, its like this landlord owns the house maybe its his pension, rents out to dss tenant, they dont pay the rent landlord owed 1 months rent, period of letters, then landlord serves n,otice to get possession, tenant gets another 2 months rent from dss which they keep, more time to get tenant evicted. tenant now has 3 plus months rent and then is evicted, is then housed again as they have children. its a wonderful system i am a complete idiot for working, no point suing them for the money as you will never see it again

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Kai 11th May, 2015 @ 14:24

As someone who's had physical and mental disabilities all his life but worked up until a few weeks ago when my health became so bad I lost my job, I find it astonishing that landlords view benefit claimants as a higher risk. People in work could lose their job and not pay the rent. People who work may simply stop paying the rent and wait until court ordered eviction.
The risk of non payment is the same for employed people as it is those on benefits. I'm sorry, but it is. Despite having serious chronic pain and being disabled, it sickens me that I'm facing homelessness because my current rent is too high for my housing benefit and as im only entitled to £64 a week, it makes no sense to me that landlords offering rooms for £55pw refuse my application.

I disagree with the whole buy to let business in all honesty. It's one of the reasons the UK is in a housing crisis. It's bad enough that there's little affordable and realistically prices housing (bear in mind for a BTL mortgage the rent coming in must at least cover the mortgage payments, so the landlord is getting property for free at the end of mortgage) without those landlords who do have stock available for at or below the housing benefit cap refuse to accept these amounts.

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Colin Hoadley 10th May, 2017 @ 20:46

To whom it may concern,
Yet another poorly informed landlord, the Department for Social Security has not existed since 2001 when it was replaced by the Department of Work and Pensions (I knew my CAB background would come in useful someday). And why so angry, I’m certain that a lucid case can be made for landlords’ refusal to accept people on benefits. However, all the expletives and insults make you look the delinquent not them. Indeed, it’s clear from your visceral outburst that you are not the person for the job and that landlords badly need another spokesperson, who’s a little stronger on facts not language.
For my part, I am a prize-winning PhD who developed epilepsy, Barretts Syndrome, chronic pulmonary disease, psychogenic seizures and I suffer from depression, for which I apologise. I have worked most of my life, but have found it impossible to continue, again I am sorry. I now receive £20,000 pa in disability allowances (I require a carer to meet my needs) but I am not reliant on LHA. I have never missed a rent payment in my life, I have an excellent credit rating and a clear credit card with a £6,000 limit. I have an unblemished record and flawless references. Moreover, my income is guaranteed unlike someone in work. My sister (my guarantor) runs a research group, earns £50,000 pa, has a £270,000 house and will be the recipient of a lump sum of over £70,000 when she retires in two years.
Quite a package I think you will agree. Yet still there is a problem as I find myself unable to rent from what is, apparently a poor, vilified, misunderstood group of individuals whose only crime is attempting to run a successful business (poor devils you are so badly done by). Can you explain why this might be the case. Surely it makes sense to judge every situation on its merits. Indeed, I would be the first to condemn bad tenants, I worked in social housing and know the problems they can cause and I am not suggesting for one minute that you take on unsuitable people I am just asking that you trust your own judgement and surely this is what running a business is all about.
Finally, please, please make your case without all the insults and expletives they do you and your argument a disservice and make you look the poorly educated delinquent one not the people whose bad behaviour you address. Moreover, get the terminology right, if you don’t know who runs the benefits system how can we trust anything you have to say on its deficiencies.
Dr C.S. Hoadley

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Colin Hoadley 11th May, 2017 @ 06:13

Isn’t saying all ‘DSS’ tenants are not the same then rejecting all of them very much tarring everyone with the same brush, a minority are bad so, without any checks I’ll reject them all. The problem here is precisely the absence of any risk assessment, an assessment that you claim is so important to your final decision and that leads you to reject those on benefits. Moreover, that banks do it is does not mean you should follow suit and then measure yourself by their conduct. Indeed, I am surprised at the example given the mess they made of things and the delinquency this revealed. The fact is you appear unwilling to do the work, better reject them all. An idleness that does not bode well for your business. We are not all high risk and it is offensive that you think of me in this way. And let’s get this straight, as a critic I have a degree, a masters’ degree, a PhD, I am published and currently have four articles out for peer review with journals ready for publication, I count among my friends’ people at the top of their respective fields, the point being in a conversation between the two of us the uneducated one is not me. Finally, anecdotal newspaper articles and self-serving surveys by the National Landlords Association do not constitute evidence.
Dr C.S. Hoadley

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Mark 25th May, 2017 @ 15:06

I would agree that DSS Tenants do cause the worst problems. I have lost over £60,000 in lost rent over the last couple of years with DSS tenants. The irony is after I get an eviction order the Council then re-house them ! However, the Council refuse to give the new address. So
it makes it extremely costly to find them to recover the arrears. Because of this, it is totally uneconomical to let to DSS tenants.

The other important factor is that most BUY TO LET LENDERS WILL NOT ALLOW LANDLORDS TO LET TO DSS TENANTS, so please do not always blame the landlord, as the are hamstrung by the lender.

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Colin Hoadley 3rd June, 2017 @ 16:06

For the love of God D.S.S. again! It does not exist, can you please get yourself informed.Know one is suggesting that where you can't rent to 'D.W.P' candidates you should violate the terms of your loan. Landlords insist on creating straw men so they can knock them down. However, the number of times I am told by the estate agent that they will 'have to get back to the landlord' on the basis of the fact that I 'need a guarantor' often nothing to do with benefits who, in my case is a property owner (a sibling local to the area with a large salary and an expensive house with no mortgage), and when I am in receipt of £19,000 net and own a £25,000 guitar collection. The point here, your argument is a red herring, as this policy encompasses people not on benefits. Moreover, the fact that this has, in some cases become estate agent policy suggests collusion to exclude large parts of the population from acquiring a home whether they work or not. Please stop blaming the banks (they are an easy target), not all financial institutions make such demands, and certainly not with every landlord an estate agent could represent. The primary concern of banks is that mortgages get paid, not the case if the market becomes too restrictive. Flats are now subject to rent reductions in my area, not to the advantage of lenders I think you will agree.No, this is largely down to you, so own it. I will respect you more for coming clean.

Dr. CS Hoadley

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Steve 3rd June, 2017 @ 19:36

Colin, why do you get so annoyed by something as trivial as someone referring to it as DSS? It was DSS for years, so people just refer to someone receiving housing benefits as DSS, even though it is DWP. PEOPLE KNOW THAT!! YOU NEED TO GET INFORMED!!! You don't have one over on anyone just because you're using the up-to-date acronym.

Even letting agents and insurance companies still recognise and use the term DSS because it's what many many people still use.

So calm down and stop making such a pointless... point. Stop being so pety.

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John Bull 20th November, 2021 @ 15:42

@Dr James

I must say I truly like your comment about housing as a business. And it's a very good point. Housing is being driven to unacceptably high values (partly) by buy-to-let owners and then rented out.

I, for one, would love to see rent controls back in place, but I fully appreciate why people go into BTL. I once rented out my own house as I had various, cheaper, living arrangements, and my own house was oversized. I could rent out the house (then valued at around £150,000) for £600 a month. This was £7200 per annum. After maintenance (a lot of which I could carry out myself - I later qualified as a plumber, but was already quite handy), I had at least £5000 a year taxable income. Which is just over 3% profit, plus whatever the house value may increase to.

To someone in a financial position who could afford to buy to let, especially if they buy outright, even with the risk, BTL involves a 3% profit on the capital investment. Not bad. As being a landlord involves some work, it's not entirely unearned income.

Compare this with what else could you do with the money? Shares just make you a capitalist speculator and are unearned income (and risky as hell), while a savings account at 0.4% or under the mattress techniques just mean you watch your savings dwindle. Not all of us are great businessmen and would know what else to do with the £150,000-250,000 you'd need to have to spare in order to buy a house to let, so I can well understand that, actually, buying a house to rent out might seem to be a less unethical solution than others.

I note Engels was a factory owner himself (there's even a statue in Manchester). Perhaps he even took some risk when he employed people to work there. Trouble is, most BTL landlords do not have a large enough stock of houses that they can risk letting even one to a high-risk tenant. It's not like taking on one or two dubious factory hands amongst 2,000, particularly if mortgages must be paid (which I do think is a leech on society in general).

I'm not quite sure how one can run a rental business ethically when trapped within the restrictions of such a system. If what the blog owner says is true about the councils not helping matters and making DSS high-risk, it could, indeed, be seen as unethical to rent to a DSS tenant on the grounds that one bad tenant makes the whole portfolio less profitable. We're not talking about risking £5 when we rent a house, we're talking potentially thousands, even if the tenant is perfect in every way except for their income coming from the DWP.

You could, of course, just buy a house and gift to someone, if you have the money to spare and perhaps that would be the right thing to do, but it's hardly an investment. Even the most ethical of people tend to prefer to redistribution of wealth to be a mass, collective, initiative, rather than just a dubious unilateral charitable effort.

What would you do?

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John Bull 20th November, 2021 @ 23:26

@Dr James (again)

I once ran a really good newsagent's shop once and provided a phenomenal community service. A customer complained at the amount we'd charged to print out an email for him. The shop was running at a loss, but the customer said that as a regular, it felt like a slap in the face. Trouble is, we had less than a 20% gross margin on the products he actually used to purchase, yet customers who spent 8 times what he spent with us paid the same (fair) fees happily, and seemed to find it made more sense than maintaining their own printer. I charged everyone the same amount, only doing it for free for a couple of personal friends who would help me out in turn and for a simple-minded lady that needed an important document printing and who wouldn't have got it printed had I not insisted.

To make a minimum wage selling the goods this man purchased I'd have been so busy with the quantity of work involved that I'd have had to employ another member of staff to deal with print and copy services so the only reason I was able to provide the service in the first place was that trade was slack. As the customer was a retired luxury hotel director, I can only imagine his charging one customer around 300x what I was, and that printing an email was, by comparison, a smaller favour. After I closed, no local firm provided a printing service - that tells you enough, I think.

Anyway, the point of this diatribe is to go back to my earlier point that, when you consider that most people with money do invest it in the stock market, being a (decent) landlord is probably a lot more ethical and less profitable. It's a business, and those businesses that genuinely are run ethically don't have a lot to spare, otherwise they're back to charging as much as they can get away with. So the spare money to subsidise anyone who does fall short of rent is often simply not available. Should a landlord forgo rent during hard times? Yes, if they can afford to and if its a cynical move to keep an otherwise good tenant. No, if it's just an affordability issue.

Alex, the blog owner, may be wrong to categorise DSS (DWP) as high-risk, but having known people who have had their benefits cut due to no fault of their own (due to governmental incompetence), I can understand why Alex would not want to rent to people on benefits - often due to, as he has said time and time again, often no fault of their own. The problem, he has said on other pages, is their source of income. Although I find it very strange to be defending someone who thinks "The Daily Express" is a reliable source of information...

The other problem is that some tenants will take the proverbial - I do know a landlady who reduced rent to a couple of tenants from 600 to 450 for over a year to help with the lack of work one of them experienced during lockdown - the tenant never advised the landlady that s/he'd found another job in the interim and was later promoted, so the tenants kept the reduced rent. So what do you do? Ask for a means test that we make up based on our own criteria - dodgy - (and somehow prove its truthfulness), or simply leave social security to the state and use any surplus profits to supply the local food bank? You can't use your intuition: that would be immoral and would indeed be discrimination - we're be back to the bad old deserving and the undeserving poor school of thought.

When I set up my plumbing business, I initally charged too little because, living frugally, and not being hard up myself, I really didn't need much money. Then it dawned on me that my customers were mostly paying for (by my standards) needless luxuries. So I thought, why am I creating unfair competition for my fellow tradesmen, earning less and thus paying less tax? I shouldn't be subsidising wasteful luxury work either. Surely I should charge the fair charge that most would require to be able to provide the service I do and pay income tax and then, if I want to do something charitable, I have money to do it with? And I raised my fees. I don't think landlords can do that.

I quite agree about housing as a business being wrong, but I remember the a member of the Labour Party (probably Corbyn) talking of a National Housing Service that there should be, and it occurred to me, why housing? Food is also pretty essential and not provided for properly by the market. So is supply of pharmaceuticals. The profit motive in insurance and banking is unacceptable (even building societies charge around 30x the interest on mortgages that they pay as interest on savings). I don't see that this is capitalism gone wrong: I see it as neoliberal capitalism. So my solution is either we accept capitalism for all its flaws but ensure all businesses play by exactly the same rules (socio-democracy), or we nationalise a lot of commercial activity and hope the state is more competent than the private sector.

Really, who makes the money? The mortgage companies. They make interest on each and every house by providing the capital. The only landlords who can profit properly are those who own a decent amount of their stock outright. Those landlords paying off a mortgage get valuable houses, but they probably won't ever use that money except to buy and sell houses, so while they may feel wealthy with a load of over-priced typically shoddy UK-dwellings, the increase in house value they obtain is entirely fictitious - unless they choose to sell everything and move to a region or country that has considerably cheaper house prices. So my feeling is an ethical, decent, landlord only has to provide the service s/he is being paid for, pay the taxes that are due (the wooden-spoon prize goes to HMRC for giving an amnesty to tax-evading social scrounger landlords who 'didn't realise' they needed to pay tax instead of fining them till the pips squeaked, by the way), and provide it well. Giving rent holidays to actually help people might be enough to make the rental game not worth the while at all.

The nut of the problem: house prices are too high. There isn't even a lack of them!

I'm in favour of fulfilling legal duties, but this is one place where going further in being ethical does not even give you a market advantage. You can hardly say 'rent from me because I give rent holidays when you lose your job and I don't charge any extra', can you? In any case, not necessary. Some former tenants of mine once told me I was the best landlord they had ever had, to which I replied that all I'd done was provide them with the service they were paying me for, and it was true. What we need is to be properly regulated, not voluntary "regulation" which puts the well-meaning on a back foot against those who say, 'it's a business', let alone against the scoundrals.

And, of course, getting back to your opening statement, if landlords stopped renting houses, then house values would have to fall until houses became affordable again to ordinary people at normal values and rates. People wouldn't simply 'have no-where to live' as BTL owners would not prefer to keep the houses empty. Trouble is, homeowners stuck in a mortgage would be in trouble, the banking sector would be in crisis, and while I'd not really have much sympathy, I can't see a sudden decline in prices ending well. We're all stuck in this stupid system then.

Which is why I ask, how do we get out of this mess?

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John Bull 21st November, 2021 @ 01:06


If the "Daily Express" (then owned by Richard Desmond) article says 'up to 1 in 10', then what the heck does that mean anyway?

It's obvious "The Express", in its usual bias against the principle of social security will word things to make recipients of state benefits come out badly ('blew' the benefits). What is less clear, apart from the case study (shown above), is what the 'scroungers' in this survey spent the benefits on instead of rent as the landlords, not the tenants, were those who were surveyed by the NLA.

With the best will in the world, the sort of negative headline which arouses interest fueled by people's fear that the world is going wrong always gets more readers than the opposite, so you can see why I'd be very cautious at taking what that article seems to be saying. In any case, the political bias is obvious with space being given to the NLA, to a Conservative MP, to Lord Freud, to the Taxpayers' Alliance, but to NOBODY on the political left, housing charities, or the (up to 9 in 10) of the tenants who hadn't mis-spent their LHA. All as you'd expect from the "Express". Owen Jones could write an article based on the same report that would 'prove' the opposite. Both sides would a good case, but I suspect the FACTS would have little to do with it.

You'd need to read the report, and understand its methodology, in full, to have any idea of what it tells us. Unfortunately the "Express" article merely picks a few details that sound good and then moves on to the same old story of divide and conquer that has served the political right since time immemorial.

Could that presumably mean there were 674,930 tenants involved in total (selected at random or, if not randomly, how?) in the survey by the National Landlords Association, that the proportion of tenants who diverted rent was far far less than 1 in 10, with the proportion being 1 in 10 in only (made up, but possible figure) 22% of investigations? To take it to the extreme, it COULD that only ONE landlord, with only 10 tenants, has had a tenant divert her benefits. We simply don't know.

If the 22% figure I just made up were the case, however, I could legitimately claim that well over 97% of DSS tenants do not mess up the system. Headline: "OUTRAGE OF 660,000 HONEST BENEFIT RECIPIENTS WHO NO ONE WILL RENT TO DUE TO TABLOID JOURNALISM!!!". No one could do me for libel, just as no one will be pursuing the "Express" on libel charges - they haven't mentioned specific people who can have their reputations damaged (except for the one person, whose case study is presumably true but who, in any case, probably could not afford a solicitor if it were not true). And the "Express" is not affecting people with a protected characteristic, so it could spin a misunderstanding and get away with it: LHA recipients are not protected by the Human Rights Act.

Sorry Alex, I'm not buying it. You have to be really careful when you are reading this sort of newspaper (indeed any sort of newspaper) to sort the fact from the spin. But with the light-reading tea-break nature of "Express" articles, you aren't going to get enough detail to let you read between the lines and anyway, this article was primarily about the upcoming benefit review. If you wanted detail, you'd buy another paper. Without the detail, I'm not sure if the implied story is justified (they often aren't). You've found an article that supports your own legitimate concern and now are using it to justify being concerned, which is itself pretty scary.

In any case, you need to realise how the media works. I asked a journalist once (one who believed very strongly in giving everyone a voice and whose articles were often carefully written for accuracy to the point of verging on being boring), 'Why are you always writing about car accidents and people who have died?'. His reply was simple, that there isn't much you can write about someone who has just been born, or someone who left work in the car and got home safely. So it's obvious we only nearly ever hear the bad stuff, and sometimes the good stuff, but never the mundane.

















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