During the weekend there’s been fireworks over on the other side of my blog. Whenever my blog gets an erratic surge of activity, it’s usually over a DWP / DSS Tenants related topic. It’s good to know that some things never change. Head over to the Reasons Why Landlords Shouldn’t Accept DSS Tenants blog post to catch up on the drama.
I didn’t participate in the discussion because the conversation seemed to be going around in circles, and more importantly, it was the bloody weekend. I religiously reserve the weekend to get my freak on!
Even though I didn’t partake in the discussion, I truly made the best of a bad situation. I was receiving an email each time someone contributed a new comment, consequently my phone was vibrating like crazy. Needless to say, I slipped my phone into my boxer-shorts and enjoyed the repercussions of my blog post in my own beautiful way.
I’ve only just got around to reading the comments. It consisted of the general bullshit I expect from people that are too ignorant to understand anything beyond their own reality. Nothing new there. But I want to address one specific statement made by a few people. I’m told, “Refusing DSS Tenants Is Discrimination”, and it’s similar to refusing “Blacks”, “Irish” and “Asians”
That particular Red Herring has been flapping around for a while, and I want to kill it. With a sledge hammer.
Anyone that carries that kind of mindset clearly doesn’t understand the dynamics of being a landlord or what being a landlord is all about. The irony is, anyone that believes refusing DSS tenants is a form of discrimination is a self-righteous ignorant bell-end. Yeah, I said it.
My list of reasons why refusing DSS tenants is NOT discrimination
This is NOT a charity
Being a landlord is NOT a charity based organisation, it’s a business based on profit. I think that’s what most
peopleDSS tenants fail to appreciate. Our job is to secure suitable/reliable tenants.
A major aspect of running a successful business is “risk-assessment” Some tenants have higher risk than others and we just want to minimize our risk. For example, a bank is unlikely to authorise a loan to someone receiving benefits. Is that discrimination or is it a decision based on risk-assessment?
Yes, even the lower-risk tenants can cause problems. And yes, the higher-risk (DSS tenants) can be the best tenants in the world. But this is about risk-assessment, and the odds are stacked against DSS tenants. This type of risk-assessment is practised by almost every business in some shape or form, but more relevantly, businesses that deal with credit and insurance.
Landlords don’t refuse DSS tenants because they have something “personal” against the individual. They generally refuse DSS tenants based on their undeniable financial circumstance. No one is ASSUMING DSS tenants have financial difficulties, it’s a fact.
ANYONE running a business (regardless of whether they’re receiving Housing Benefits or not) will try to minimize their risks, so it alludes me that people fail to understand that concept when it’s regarding Landlords and DSS tenants.
It’s NOT like racism
The whole argument that refusing DSS tenants is on the same par as discriminating against a race is laughable; it’s almost not worth defending. But I will, because the statement is silly, and I’m in a silly mood (I suspect that comment will come back to haunt me if/when the protesters attack).
The financial status of a tenant has a direct impact of how they may affect MY business, someone’s race DOES NOT. So no, those analogies are nothing alike in the current context; so you can stick the “race card” up your anal-passage and choke on it.
Find me a family with an employed Asian wife with an employed black husband, with a mixed race baby, and I’ll happily give them tenancy. Find me a family with the same racial statuses that are unemployed, and I won’t be so willing.
Difficult to get insurance
Most Landlord Insurance companies refuse to insure landlords with DSS tenants. The very few that do cover DSS tenants have a high premium. Why? Because at some point or another, statistics signified that a high portion of landlord claimants had DSS tenants.
So the root of the problem is far deeper than landlords simply refusing refusing DSS tenants; it’s also based on the fact we can’t get the proper protection policies in place to secure our investments when giving tenancies to DSS tenants.
Some lenders don’t allow landlords to let to tenants on Housing Benefits. So not only is it difficult to get insurance, but also an agreeable mortgage.
On that note, you should always check the conditions of your mortgage before letting to a DSS tenant.
Risk-management is business
Landlords want to keep their risk at a minimum (going back to risk-management), just like any business. That is why I would rather give tenancy to a family that consists of 2 employed individuals as opposed to a family that receives Housing Benefit. How is protecting my investment by obtaining the most “secure” tenants an act of discrimination? If you were a landlord that had the choice between a) a family that consisted of two doctors or b) a single unemployed individual receiving Housing benefits, which would you give tenancy to? It’s a no-brainer, as is this argument.
Most landlords are NOT rich
Common misconception- all landlords are rich. That’s seriously bullshit. Most landlords struggle to make any profit, especially in this climate. All it takes is ONE tenant to fall into arrears for a landlord to go under. Then, ironically, the landlord may end up on the social housing list. What good would that do anyone?
Point being, some times the whole risk-management aspect is crucial to the landlord’s livelihood.
It’s a broken system
I personally refuse DSS tenants because of my past experience with the “system”, and not the individuals themselves. The protection for landlords when DSS tenants fall into arrears is scandalous.
I’ve housed a DSS tenant that intentionally fell into arrears so she could get moved up the “Council Housing” priority list. I’m not saying all DSS tenants would do that. However, The question needs to be asked, why would the council move someone up the priority list AFTER they fall into arrears? Who knows, but it seems to be protocol.
Similarly as scandalous is the fact that landlords no longer directly receive rent payments, it’s given to the tenant to pass onto the landlord. This has proven to be the reason why so many DSS tenants has fallen into arrears, because they won’t pass on the rent.
Actions like that are awful for the landlord because they’re left out of pocket and equally as awful for the genuine DSS tenants struggling to find a tenancy. Why would I want to support a system like that?
To reiterate, this isn’t a gripe I have with the claimants, it’s a gripe I have with the system. I have made that clear on several occasions.
I’ve said the following a million times on almost every single one of my DSS related blog posts, but only a handful seems to pay any attention, while the others get filled with rage and ignorance. But here it is again:
- I appreciate, understand and even sympathise with misfortune. I know not all DSS tenants are the same; I know there are good and bad DSS tenants; I’m aware that many DSS tenants genuinely don’t deserve to be in the position they’re in; I’m aware that there are genuinely good DSS tenants out there that are struggling because others have given them a bad reputation. I get it. It sucks, and I mean it. It’s truly a shitty deal. However, DSS tenants are still high-risk in-comparison to professional-working families, so that is why I would rather give tenancy to the latter. I’m not saying that the working-professionals won’t or can’t fall into arrears, but I am saying it is less likely, hence the risk-management.
- I’m not saying landlords should or shouldn’t accept DSS tenants, I’m just saying landlords have a legitimate reason for not accepting them, and DSS tenants should understand it’s not about discrimination.
The root of the problem is deeper than simply, “landlords refusing DSS tenants” – so much deeper. Getting ALL landlords to accept DSS tenants won’t resolve the underlying issues of a broken system.
By all means, be annoyed that some landlords refuse to house DSS tenants, but don’t call it discrimination, because it really isn’t.
Either way, I don’t really expect to have changed minds. I just wanted to make my justifications clear.
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.