Rightly or wrongly so, I found this email rather quite amusing. I always welcome constructive criticism because it usually makes a good read, but most importantly, it gives me a little something different to blog about, which is cool.
Ok, so, I was advertising a vacant property available for rent on Gumtree. Gumtree worked a charm- I eventually Found A Tenant Through Gumtree.
I never removed the advert from Gumtree, even after I found a tenant. The property was still generating a few enquiries. I intentionally left the advert live because I didn’t want to remove it until the tenant had signed the Assured Shorthold Tenant Agreement and paid the deposit.
Part of the description I put in the advert was as follows:
Take note of the “NO DSS” part. In response, I received this email of complaint from J.K.Rowling:
NO DSS WHY IS THAT THEN ? MONEY IS MONEY AND HB IS MORE SECURE THEN SOMEONE WHO IS WORKING AND MAY LOOSE THERE JOB OR BECOME ILL OR DO YOU FEEL PEOPLE ON HB DONT DESERVE TO BE IN A HOUSE LIKE THAT IM IN WALTHAM ABBEY A LOVELY HOME LIKE YOURS AND YES IM ON HOUSING BENEFIT MY MONEY GOES DIRECT TO MY LANDLORD AND I HAVE BEEN HERE 4 YEARS NOW AND MY LANLORD HAS NEVER CONTACTED ME REGARDING PROBLEMS WITH RENT -IM SORRY BUT IM TRYING TO STOP PEOPLE LIKE YOU HAVING THIS BAD VIEW ABOUT PEOPLE ON HOUSING BENEFIT(HB).IM LOOKING TO MOVE BECAUSE I WANT A GARDEN BUT THE BIASED OPINIONS PEOPLE HAVE ABOUT HB IS SO UN FAIR .. IM FINDING IT REALLY HARD TO FIND ANYONE WHO WILL ACCEPT HOUSING BENEFIT ..
- 1) lol @ the grammar, caps-lock and complete ignorance of punctuation.
- 2) From my experience, HB isn’t actually more secure than a working tenant. The council can alter (usually lower) or even completely cease allowances just as easily as someone can lose their job.
3) The money goes direct to the landlord when receiving “Housing Benefit”, but HB no longer exists as of April 2007.
As soon as a HB tenant relocates and signs a new tenancy agreement, they’ll be thrown onto the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) system, and the allowance will go direct to the tenant, and not the Landlord. More details: The Difference Between DSS Tenants on Housing Benefit (HB) And DSS Tenants On Local Housing Allowance (LHA).
- 4) I’m scarred by bad experiences with DSS tenants, specifically the system (and necessarily the tenants themselves). It’s not just a random form of discrimination I’ve conjured up without any basis.
- 5) I wonder what the individual actually hopes to achieve by sending out emails like that. To change my mind? Waste of time.
I hear this story a lot, and I actually sympathise with ALL the genuine, hard-working, unfortunate DSS tenants out there. They DO have a hard time. Not being able to seek appropriate accommodation because of personal circumstances, through no fault of their own, is extremely sad. But in order for things to be right, I don’t think it’s a case of landlords simply being more “open-minded”, I think it’s a case of the system needing to be improved.
I’ve written a lot about DSS Tenants in the past, and I’ve dealt with my fare share of them. I know what the system is like, and frankly, it sucks dog shit.
I’m not saying DSS tenants are scumbags (I’ve had GREAT DSS tenants in the past), I’m saying the system is dog shit. More explained here: DSS Tenants And The Shitty Council.
As I’ve always maintained, a DSS Tenant is just like a regular tenant- you get the good and the bad. However, they do, unfortunate as it may be, have a grey cloud following them because of the bad press they receive. I personally think one issue is undeniable though- DSS tenants are way more complicated than the average employed tenant. Some of the complications are explained, along with tips for anyone considering providing tenancy to a DSS tenant, right over there: Tips For Taking On DSS Tenants
The bottom line is, Landlords want security, especially in this uncertain climate. EVERY Landlord wants to be sure that they’re going to receive their rent on time, throughout the entire tenancy. So, now that tenants directly receive their allowances, I don’t feel secure with a DSS Tenant. Perhaps that’s just me being a pompous, ignorant ass.
If it came down to a working professional Vs DSS, a working professional would win EVERY TIME. It’s a no-brainer, and I don’t think I need to explain my reasons…or do I?
In order to even consider a DSS tenant I’d need some kind of incentive, but the council removed the most convincing one for landlords when the LHA was introduced, and removed the “direct payment to landlord” policy. That was a HUGE blow. Since the change, a lot of Landlords have felt the burn. Research has shown many tenants are failing to pass on these payments to landlords.
NLA’s research shows that 52% of landlords surveyed have decided they would not let, or be ‘less likely’ to let, to LHA tenants. A further 43% of those landlords who have already tried the new system said they would now be leaving this failing market because of increased uncertainty about rent payments.
So, do Landlords have a good reason not to accept DSS tenants? Yes. Why? There’s no fucking incentive to consider them anymore.
Disclaimer: I'm just a simple landlord blogger; I'm not qualified to give legal or financial advice. Any information I share is my opinion based on my personal experiences as an active landlord, and should never be construed as legal or professional advice. For more information, please read my full disclaimer.