Is Picking a NON-DSS Tenant Over A DSS Tenant Discrimination?

In July 2020, a Judge ruled it unlawful (on the basis of breaching Equality laws) for landlords and letting agents to flaunt “NO DSS” signs in their shop windows and adverts, as well as rejecting tenancy applications from anyone purely because they’re in receipt of housing benefit, as was common practise.

Although the ruling does not set a legal precedent, it is an issue landlords and letting agents should be wary of, both practically and ethically. However, landlords are still entitled to choose the most suitable applicant for their property, so is it discrimination for landlords to choose the applicant with the strongest financial position? I really don’t see how it can be.

Why it’s easy not to pick DSS tenants applicants…

The reality is, rightly or wrongly so, it’s easy to build a practical case for why landlords should pick non-DSS tenants over DSS claimants. With that said, it’s really tough to find the usefulness in the “NO DSS” ban, because even if landlords are forced to accept applications from housing benefit claimants, I think it would be quite easy for landlords to justify their reason for picking a non-DSS tenant.

  • 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 DSS 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 minimising risk. 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 hold personal grudges. They generally refuse DSS tenants based on their undeniable financial circumstances. No one is ASSUMING DSS tenants have financial difficulties, it’s the exact reason why they’re receiving financial aid.

    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 ridiculous; 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.

    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.

  • Mortgage restrictions
    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.

  • 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, sometimes the whole risk-management aspect is crucial to the landlord’s livelihood.

  • It’s a broken system
    I’m personally reluctant of DSS tenants because of my past experience with the “system”, and not the individual claimants 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 by default, it’s given to the tenant to pass onto the landlord. This has proven to be the reason for why so many DSS tenants have fallen into arrears, because they simply don’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 be encouraged by 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. 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 big time, 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 many landlords would rather provide tenancies 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 concept of 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 after weighing up the situation.

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.

362 Comments- Join The Conversation...

Showing 312 - 362 comments (out of 362)
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Lorna Lewis 12th November, 2016 @ 20:31

As a landlord and agent I find your attitude quite appalling and one of the reasons British landlords are often seen as 'greedy' by the wider community. Most working families are in receipt of some housing benefit. Even if working, they still qualify for BH on the basis that their income is too low to meet their monthly rent payment. Think about this: if a couple with children are choosing to rent, they will most likely be on a low income otherwise they would buy rather than pay someone else's mortgage!

We use Rent4sure for referencing. They conduct a thorough vetting process. If a prospective tenant has a good credit rating, is in employment and their previous landlord has given a good reference, I don't see why they shouldn't be accepted just because they receive HB. I'd rather a tenant receiving HB than a tenant who doesn't receive HB but has a negative credit rating. If their income meets the affordability criteria I (and my clients) do not give two hoots about the source of the income.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 12th November, 2016 @ 21:26

@Lorna Lewis
It doesn't even seem like you read the blog post, because my main gripe is with the system, not the actual individual tenant. I've been in situations where good HB tenant's have had their benefits revoked over night... what's the cure for that?

Think about this: why does the choice have to be between a tenant receiving HB and a tenant who doesn't receive HB but has a negative credit rating?

I've never struggled to let a property; I've always been inundated with applicants. So I'd rather choose an applicant that has a full-time steady job and good credit rating.

I'm struggling to understand why choosing the most secure tenant is greedy. Oh well.

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Paul 12th November, 2016 @ 21:49

Lorna you need to read all the posts on this thread to understand what you state us complete twaddle
As the LL has stated we LL have nothing against HB tenants per se who I am sure are fine and upstanding people.. It is the system that conspires against HB tenants.
Even more so that the OBC has been reduced for those lazy HB tenants who can't be bothered to get off their areses and do at least 16 HDS per week which then exempts them from the OBC.
LL make business decisions
That is why many of us refuse to take HB tenants.
There are presently just too many issues regarding the efficacy of such tenants which is of course a great shame.
LL and HB tenants alike are both victims of the system.
Change that and LL will return to letting to HB tenants.
No LL can he forced to take on a HB tenant
We are not social housing providers and I see nothing wrong with being a greedy LL if that is what you call a person who seeks to maximise profits out of an investment rental property.
The whole reason I became a LL was to achieve high rents and capital growth
To me that makes me the same as any other business.
Do you know many businesses that don't seek to maximise income and capital!!
If you do aren't proper businesses
They may well have some sort of social remit in their business model which is fine..
That is not my business model.
I seek to maximise my returns on my capital.
I do not wish to be a social housing provider which us why I refuse to rent to HB tenants because that can't give the returns that other private tenants can.
That is just tough luck on HB tenants few of the him would ever be able to afford to buy.
Things are going to rapidly worse for HB tenants with the now reduced OBC and with S24 starting next year.
Believe LL will be evicting HB tenants and taking on higher rent paying tenants or just selling up as the S24 tenant tax arrives
I feel very sorry for HB tenants but no way have I any intention of taking them on unless they can meet all my business requirements which none of them can!
It is great that you are prepared to take them on and have not such a profitable business model as me..It is up to the individual LL which model he wishes to operate.
I go for the most I can earn whilst still providing good quality rental property.
If this means HB tenants can't rent my properties........Tough!!
I don't owe them or anyone else a rental property.
My business my rules!

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David 13th January, 2017 @ 11:23

It's absolute bullcrap. It should not matter whether a potential tenant is on benefits or not. As long as they pay rent, who cares?

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David 13th January, 2017 @ 20:53

@David

You are right that it SHOULD not matter but the fact is that it DOES matter.

In July 2015 I said the following,

"It IS discrimination, but here is the simple reason why you can't blame landlords.

Housing Benefit is based on something called LHA Allowance

This is set at the LOWEST 30% of rents withing the area.

So in the first place, unless the property is a bit naff, the tenant will have to supplement housing benefit and in the current climate it is unlikely that a tenant could afford this because of heating and other bills.

The exception to this is disabled people and people with disabled children as they get non means tested additional payments for the disability. In fact these make the best long term tenants in my opinion.

The current lack of supply and excessive demand mean that LHA rates will increase over the next few years and housing benefit costs will rise.

This is why the Government policies are NUTS if they actually want to cut public spending.

But then a Governement that increases public spending from £670bn to close to a trillion pounds.

Osbourne failed on 29 of 30 of his own targets as provided to the Office of Budget Responsibility.

The solution to this problem is to build starter homes for young people, they would be social housing but they should then be sold to tenants who want them after 2 or 3 years with the income going back into the house building fund.

This would stimulate the market from the bottom up rather than top down with Russians, Arabs and Chinese as we have now."

My position has not changed, we need a million new homes per annum for 5 years to balance the market and population increase, we do not have such targets and the targets we have are not being achieved.

This is partly the housebuilders who are building in small quanties at a time, then selling those before building more to keep prices articially high, this despite them having planning permission on one site I know to build 3000 homes. They should only be granted permission if they complete the whole site withing 2 years and risk losing the land and all adjoining land they own if they do not build quickly.

What every Landlord needs to know is that anyone can fall off the ladder, in one area I know that 2 bed flats can cost £950 a month, the LHA rate is £625, so only high end earners can afford it, but high end earners are also high risk jobs and when they fall off that ladder the social security pay is £325 less than the rent so arrears grow quickly, in addition to that they may be contracted to luxury services like a full Sky TV package, an expensive car etc.

My feeling is that DSS tenants are better off in social housing because it is the only rent that is actually affordable, the so called "affordable housing" is an oxymoron.

Of course it does not help that this stupid Government scrapped the obligation to build 20% social housing on all housing developments.

That coupled with the right to buy for social tenants will put the housing associations out of business because to offer such low rents they need access to that 20% new build stock. Anyone who can use a calculator can tell you that if they have to buy and build at market rates they can't afford to provide social housing and so again, it will increase the cost of welfare. How stupid is this Government!

Landlords are also screwed when Councils tell tenants to stay put until they are evicted, this is against guidance after a huge enquiry, so now the law is having to be changed to force Councils to house everybody for at least 6 weeks. Quite how they are going to manage that is beyond me, but it is their own stupid fault.

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Ellie 21st June, 2017 @ 01:12

I know a man who is over 35 he is single and homeless. He receives enhanced pip at 559 a month and enhanced esa of around 700 a month. He has seen rooms to rent all bills included for as little as 60 pounds per week so he could afford this without claiming housing benefit. He is a vulnerable adult with physical and mental health problems but he can't rent a place because no one wants to accept anyone who is not working and the council can't help because he has no local connection to anywhere. I am his Unpaid carer. I spend all my time speaking to estate agents, googling spareroom, gumtree, preloved for places for Him to live. It's sad though that people woukd rather leave him on the streets than give him a chance and the same for all homeless people
https://www.change.org/p/minister-for-housing-stop-landlords-estate-agencies-from-refusing-people-on-benefits-from-renting-properties?recruiter=615517049&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition

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David 21st June, 2017 @ 08:02

@Ellen

This is an emotive campaign, using the picture of someone who is homeless but you say

"I have IN THE PAST needed to look for a house to rent and I have been turned down by private landlords and housing estate agents as soon as they have found that I am in receipt of benefits."

This is confusing, are you campaigning because you are on benefits and need private accommodation or for the person you mention above.

Someone in that position would have a connection to SOMEWHERE in the UK, where they were born, where they are or have been registered with a GP, even where they had lived on the street for 2 years as long as they had engaged with a local organisation or charity.

At the end of the day the Local Authority has an obligation to house someone like that, but they have to apply where they have the greatest connection. Their local Council will have an obligation to house him for 6 weeks while they determine his eligibility and they may transfer him to where he does have a local connection.

If someone like that has mental health issues they can get support for their application from the people that treat their condition.

Let's face it, they would be better off in Social Housing because am HA will be more sympathetic when benefits are randomly withdrawn which happens regularly and is one of the reasons that Landlords will not take a risk on people with benefits.

If you read my comments on this thread you will see that I am supportive, but I think you are going about this in the wrong way.

You are effectively holding up a baby for your own benefit. You put this vulnerable man front and centre of your campaign, someone with mental health issues who may not even understand or be capable of understanding what you are doing. Something that may cost them what little dignity they have left.

People will look at YOU, they will see someone on benefits who can't work, but can be an "unpaid carer" and who can organise a campaign online. They will ask questions about YOU.

If you really want to help this person, take them to a local housing charity in in Boston Lincs.

http://www.centrepoint-outreach.com

http://www.bostonmayflower.org.uk

they will know how to assert the rights of the person to be housed or identify where they CAN be housed. This person will have to engage with the system, they either move to where they DO have a local connection or they live on street for 2 years and then gain local connection.

You say in your campaign you feel people on benefits are judged, well yes they are, they have to be judged on their ability to meet the obligations of the contract (to pay the rent, to keep the property in good condition etc).

Landlords have to pay the mortgage on properties, if they put in a tenant that can't service the rent they lose the property because they themselves can't pay the mortgage.

As I have said above, it is the system that is wrong, not the landlords. The simple fact is that a Landlord has to make a choice based on risk. The reality is that anyone can fall off the ladder and find themselves on benefits, it will not matter how much tax they have paid, they will be assessed on their status at that moment. If they have two bedrooms but need one, the system will pay the LHA rent for one bed. So a Landlord will look at the risk of this happening.

Maybe what you should be campaigning for is for there to be a national scheme where Landlords can put up a property for rent and that rent is guaranteed by the local authority in the event of a suspension of benefits. Where from day 1 rent is paid direct to the landlord. I know that some local authorities try to do that. Maybe such a scheme would offer tax benefits for the Landlord.

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Jules 24th July, 2017 @ 21:28

Although I'm a private tenant claiming housing benefit, I don't believe it's the private landlords to blame. Fact is the Government has overcrowded our country. Simple as that. Council housing has been sold off,people are complaining these are not replaced. How can that situation go on forever. Where will they be building them when theres no land left but boat loads of people keep coming! Our councils are the ones discriminating. Where's the help for single people? Why are there never one bedroom properties built? Why are under 35 year olds expected to live in a shared property,like a bunch of students. Who is it that created local housing allowence, in most areas a weeks allowence wouldn't cover a night in a shit b&b. They have done that knowing landlords won't touch us with a shortfall in rent because it is impossible to live on. They pay rent directly to tenants instead of landlords, if your skint, starving & your rent payment goes into your bank account what you gonna do? Your gonna use it to eat. Anyone would. They say it's all to encourage people back to work, great. But what about the genuine people who can't just go back to work, like myself I lost a good job due to ill health and find myself on esa, trapped. To add to the pressure I've now got a shortfall in rent to worry about. If the Government expect private landlords to sort there housing crises for them they should cover the rent and their insurance otherwise you can't blame them for refusing. There causing financial suicide all round. Get the population of this country sorted then maybe people have a chance of getting a job, a home.Council housing was meant to be for the poorest,councils turned it into a business so I blame the Government entirely for this housing crises.

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Ella 21st November, 2017 @ 05:30

Oh come on now, were no longer living in the dark ages, were living in the new age where real lives and real people speak a lot for the society we live in. What happens with all this talk about equalism in schools. We must be careful not to send the wrong messages out in society as a whole.Yes, it's fair to say Landlords have a right to concern. I believe it should be the councils who should take the lead in all this. First of all, people can become very ill by becoming homeless, Hense making it extremely difficult to go to work.This alone will be much more costly to the NHS. This can lead to a much more inhabitable society.Many people feel they don't have any civil rights in Uk and feel their much the same as the illegals in the Uk.I think it's time there was a new legislation out for insurance companies not to allow any place for any form of discrimination.Secondly for councils to become guarantors for tenants after all their the ones who refuse to house specific citizens.Everyone should have a right to live humanly.It cost councils a lot more, in the long run, to keep people in hostels and temporary accommodation.full rents should be paid to all refused housing from councils.Landlords, it's not DWP tenants fault it's the councils.

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David 23rd November, 2017 @ 00:52

@Ella

Whilst it is true to say that SOME Councils are terrible at taking on their homeless obligations, most are just trying to get by with a clogged up system.

The majority are trying to get by do all they can, the terrible ones use loopholes in the law to avoid Government edicts and the law is now being changed to make them take on any homeless tenant for at least 6 weeks.

I think there are two aspects to taking DSS tenants, the functional and the dysfunctional.

There may be some debate about the definition of each group but for me the functional are those that can manage their budgets and do NOT have an underlying problem such as drug addiction, alcoholism, mental health conditions or terminal illness.

Remember all DSS tenants are only allowed to rent in the lowest 30% of rent in any area, in addition to that, if any tenant even non DSS has more rooms than they need according to Council rules then they will not be paid their full rent.

So for the functional tenants (and anyone else really) all it takes is a bump in the road and the Tenant will not have the rent. What constitutes a bump in the road? Well it can be anything, less regular hours on a zero hours contract, a problem with the tenants car that they need to get to work because they live in the sticks, loss of a job because their child is sick and the need to take care of them, a break up in a relationship or for the most part, THE DWP THEMSELVES.

Yes the DWP, what a cunch of bunts these people are, they have all sorts of dirty tricks to just decide to suspend a claim. For example falsely accusing thousands of people of fraud at 65 weeks into a claim, they still do this but now it is at random weeks.

Their latest cunning stunt is called Universal Credit, the political message is that "it will make work pay" but the reality is that it is just another way to pay tenants less who do you think is going to take the brunt of it? LANDLORDS.

Universal Credit stops their current payment for 6 weeks but it may be for 6 months, they will be moved from being paid fortnightly to being paid monthly. Remember this is a stunt to pay them less, so even after the delayed money the numbers will not add up, when they first get their new payments they may think they are better off, but that is because they now have their rent paid to tenant instead of directly to Landlord (4 weeks in arrears). Once they pay that rent they will struggle to manage. Some will think that they have more money than they actually do and so will overspend.

The Government is doing this deliberately, they could have easily tapered the payments, but then it would have become more obvious that they are pulling a fast one.

When you look at the failed IT project and costs reported in the Universal Credit system (£40m write off in stage 1 alone)…

http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240212473/Analysis-The-IT-risks-facing-Universal-Credit

You have to ask what were the promised benefits of this project? In the climate of austerity I cannot see any real benefits, except perhaps cashflow at the expense of the poorest and most vulnerable.

The stated benefit was that it

“has the POTENTIAL to simplify substantially the working age benefits system, and to make it much clearer to people than at present how their financial position would change on moving from unemployment into work.”

Has the POTENTIAL?

Has the POTENTIAL?

Shit if that is all you need for a public spending business case it is no wonder we are so messed up

How this was worth what will end up being hundreds of millions of pounds on I do not know.

What most people do not realise is that there were already delays built into the previous systems, claims do not start for a certain number of days or weeks, there are all sorts of deductions for this that and the other. So really this is just a way of stealing from the poorest members of our society, remember the majority of people on DSS are the working poor.

One Landlord in Grimsby has recognised the danger of this and has written to their tenants warning them that they better prioritise their rent and issued S21's to 350 tenants just in case they don't.

http://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/news/gap-property-director-defends-eviction-781838

It was reported that the DWP told this landlord "well you can always use their security deposit" which shows the complete and utter ignorance of the DWP.

This is the same DWP that tried to hide the "death stats" and is currently refusing to respond to FOI requests so again being forced by the ICO to comply.

Now @Ella you seem to think the Council should underwrite all this debt as Guarantor, WITH WHAT? The Council is you and me, yes a bigger cohort than Landlords but still the money isn't there.

This is especially true of the dysfunctional group; consider a drug addict or an alcoholic, put any money in their pocket and it will be spent on their addiction. Which is why most social housing landlords have their rent paid directly.

Within the dysfunctional group are those with a mental health problem and those who simply cannot budget. For the latter they may be easily classified as the suckers who buy any product from Brighthouse, but it is worse than that.

It could be anyone on lowish pay who buys an Iphone on a contract, hell, listen to blasé attitude of the person at 4m 50, of link below, she is 27 years old, works as a receptionist in North London on £20k a year and spends half her net income on rent. She has a joint account with a flatmate! WTF! Has she never heard of joint and several liability!

However the real issue for me was her buying a car, I know junior lawyers living in London on £42k who cannot afford to run a car because they are stuck renting a room at a price they can't afford.

They made a wise decision to not replace their tatty car as recognised could not afford to run a car in London on their salary, so how can someone on £20k and how can a finance company lend her that kind of money.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b098bsrc

If she gave the car back on day 2 she would lose 20%, the finance co know that they will get the asset back and still manage to lumber her with the debt.

Is it reasonable to expect a Landlord or a Local Authority to underwrite poor spending decisions or should we insist the banks set the bar higher when lending in the first place?

@Ella you may not realise it, but 80% of Landlords let less than three properties, typically they are a couple who each had a flats which they rented and got second mortgages on to buy their own home.

They are not massive corporations with deep pockets, when you do the maths, every Landlord is taking on some risk because anyone can fall off the ladder and end up on DSS, but only those with a larger risk appetite can take a chance on already on DSS tenants.

This is not the fault of Landlords but the system itself that seems to think that Landlords are a replacement for the bank of mum and dad.

You have only to read the comments on this site to see that Landlords have lost £10k to £30k for bad tenants that trash their properties, some have had to re-mortgage their properties to fund this, so why would they risk DSS when there is a shortage of properties and huge amount of tenants?

Every demographic has associated problems:

Uni tenants will only be around for 2 to 3 years

Non EU foreign tenants may have a limited visa or go back home for their own reasons

EU foreign tenants may not earn enough or go back home for their own reasons.

Young single tenants are likely to form relationships and want a bigger place.

Any couples may have children and want a bigger place or move to get into catchment of a school.

Young Professionals on high salary will be able to afford a better place

Divorcees may meet someone new and move in with them

Middle aged people are most common to face redundancy

Elderly people may get ill and even have to go into a care home

Each of the above has their own risks but none of them limit a Landlord to the LHA 30th percentile, a Council deciding they have one or two rooms too many, or the DWP messing with their income and ability to pay rent.

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Paul Barrett 23rd November, 2017 @ 02:24

@David
Excellent post.
However on small point which you have incorrect. No tenant in the PRS is subject to the Spare Room Subsidy, commonly referred to as the Bedroom Tax.

UC or old HB for the PRS is based on the domestic situation of a tenant.
So it is perfectly possible for a HB tenant to rent a 3 bed property when they only qualify for the 2 bed rate.
Of course they have to source a LL who would accept the 2 bed rate or they would have to top up their two bed rate to afford what the LL requires.
There would also be the issue of Council Tax.
If the HB tenant only qualified for the two bed rate then any Council Tax assistance would be limited to a two bed property with the tenant having to make up the difference.
It is only in the social housing sector that the SRS applies.
Of course all this is fairly academic as few LL would let a 3 bed property for the two bed rate; but you never know!!
It is up to the LL to make their own business decisions.

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David 23rd November, 2017 @ 14:20

Thanks @Paul

That is right and what I meant, that any PRS Landlord who lets a property that is under occupied risks the tenant not getting the rent as HB.

For example a Landlord rents a 4 bedroom house for £2000 a month to a couple with two boys aged 7 & 9, the father is a project manager in public sector and earns £85k a year, the wife volunteers at a local cancer charity. He works from home a lot so has one room as a study, the boys each have their own room and the parents use the master bedroom.

On the face of it they are solid tenants and can afford the rent.

UK 21c Recession V2.0 hits and there are cutbacks, so he loses his job along with a lot of other public sector workers.

He sends a message to Landlord to assure them all is OK, the Landlord know the LHA rate is £417.02pw or £1807.08 per month, so she figures the guy can afford to make up the close to £200 a month.

The Local Authority inform the Tenant that he does not need the 4th bedroom as a study and for bedroom purposes the boys can share so he is only entitled to Housing Benefit at the 2 bedroom rate of £302.33pw or £1310.09 a month, close to a £700 a month shortfall.

How long a Tenant could realistically pay this £700 per month with their £73 (ish) Job Seekers Allowance, £33 Child Benefit is anyone's guess. They may have phone contracts they can't get out of for 2 years, a gym membership where they are liable for a year and an 18 month obligation to Sky for TV and Broadband.

This is the danger of occupancy I was referring to, not the bedroom tax specifically.

So my point, in the context of the above blog post is that any tenant presents a risk and anyone can fall off the ladder.

Also that it is not really discriminatory to avoid DSS tenants, just that the "system" means that the Landlord is taking on substantially more risk with DSS and for what, a much poorer return on investment.

I am very sympathetic to the plight of all people on DSS, I think zero hours contracts should be abolished because they undermine self employment, putting all the risk on the employee and trap them.

To me there are different organisations who meet different needs, Small Private Landlords, Large Private Landlords, Landlords formed as Social companies, Housing Associations and a few Council Landlords which may have also transitioned into HA's.

The Con Gov seems determined to kill off Housing Associations, at one end they have taken away their ability to get 20% of developments so cutting off their supply of cheap properties and at the other end they are forcing them to offer right to buy. Anyone can do the math, it is not sustainable. Now the HA's are being forced to offer so called "affordable rents" instead of the social rents. The social rents were around 40% below LHA rates.

The result is higher LHA rates and higher housing benefit costs and thus a higher social security spending.

It is like increasing the Bank Base rate to control inflation, it increases the cost of public borrowing, how daft is that when the goal is to get borrowing down!

I would bring back the 20% on developments and I would build 5 million new "starter" homes, not necessarily social housing but cheap homes for genuine first time buyers who live in the property. None of the Governments since Thatcher have met their goals on house building and the 5 million is less than the cumulative shortfall, it also reflects the increased population.

Socially it gives young people "buy-in" to their community, for Thatcher it created a whole load of Conservative voters in the highly fought over left of centre zone.

It would also make sense for Government because it would use the only thing that can control the increasing rents; Market Forces, increase supply reduce demand, it is economics 101.

At the weekend I had dinner with a colleague, he has been given the task of managing land bequeathed in a will for social housing. It is around 10 acres between edge of town and green belt.

He wanted to have built a 100% social housing project with temporary housing for up to 200 people and flats or small houses for the rest. However, putting aside all the crazy local authority obligations to provide facilities he has been advised that the best he can make it is 40% social housing because of build cost and no HA's having resources to fund the build cost over the long term (100 years). This conflicts with the objectives of the trust.

Again it is "the system" that is at fault!

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Paul Barrett 24th November, 2017 @ 00:49

Yes you are correct about the dysfunctional system!
But in your quoted example had the two children been a certain age and been a boy and girl they would have been entitled to the 3 bed rate.
So make sure you have families with a boy and a girl of the right age and the state will pay the 3 bed rate.
It may interest you to know that if the tenant is working and not in a UC area then HB will be paid for the full rent for 13 weeks.
This facility will be abolished when UC is fully in place.
But whatever way you look at it as you have so well illiterated
UC remains a nightmare.

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David 24th November, 2017 @ 15:29

@Paul Barrett

Ha Ha, you need to put an exclamation mark when you are joking.

Can you imagine Landlords having to check the sex and age of children, maybe they can ask if daughter has had her periods start so they can be entitled to their own room!

This is another example of a policy for the provision of social housing being imposed on the private sector.

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Paul Barrett 24th November, 2017 @ 21:41

Yeah it is bonkers
Look at this example
Say two children male and female are below the age to have separate bedrooms so receive the two bed rate
As soon as the girl is old enough then the family qualifies for the 3 bed rate.
Even if they stay in a 2 bed property!!

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Naima 28th January, 2018 @ 20:12

I agree on both parts. While it is discriminating to refuse dss tenants you also can't deny the facts. dss tenants are more likely to fall in financial difficulties rather than working proffesionals. Weather this be intentional or non intentional being on such a low income puts those receiving dss in a vulnerable financial situation.
The HB system do not help as they pay directly into tenants bank accounts if this wasn't the case I'm sure LL would be more likely to accept dss.
You really do have to consider LL in this they are not charities they have mortgages, bills and homes of their own to manage. Obviously they are going to go with someone who is financially stable, someone who is more likely to have some savings, or is more likely to be accepted for a small loan if financial difficulties were to occur. you can't blame LL for wanting reliability and stability.
I am not claiming all dss tenants are unreliable some may even be more reliable and organised than working professionals, but again LL go with stability.

There are also many crooked LL who pay high interests, leave homes in unsafe and appalling conditions and then refuse to repay bonds for the smallest of things, they are not easy to get away with these things when accepting dss as the local councils are involved.

LL cut the middle man out and get there money from A to B

I'm on the fence with this subject I have seen LL go threw legal battles and great losses due to dss tenants not paying them refusing to leave

However Iv also seen decent families struggle to find accommodation because dss is so frowned upon.

I think the answer could be so simple.
Background checks, direct payments to landlords, guarantor.

The ppl who make this the most difficult is actually the housing benefit system

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David 29th January, 2018 @ 01:33

@Naima

Whilst I understand both sides I do think that overall the Landlord has the better time.

Go to the agents of any London borough and the in the window is says NO DSS, being on the end of that is soul destroying.

It does not matter what referencing you do anyone can fall off the ladder, they say most of us could survive around 2 months before going into debt, some a lot less.

A guarantor is a nice to have but how many people do most people know that would underwrite their rent? Not many I'll wager.

When you read the posts some have made on here is it any wonder that a tenant who has struggled to get a place does not want to advertise if they lose their job and have to go on Housing Benefit?

When you apply so many days are not covered, then there is the delay before it comes in, then they tell you that your rent is higher than LHA rates, then they say you have a 2 bed flat and only need a one bed flat so they will pay the LHA rate for 1 bed. So is it any wonder that tenants get into arrears?

For some tenants there is a failure to understand budgeting, their rent may be £1250 but they may get £750 for that one bed place, they get their HB drip fed in arrears, so they need a spreadsheet just to work out what is what. Then the DWP decide to routinely accuse all claimants of fraud, just to pause claims, this automatically stops housing benefit for up to 10 weeks. Quite how they are supposed to eat, pay bills and rent is anyone's idea.

Now we have Universal Credit rolling out, now even though they were being paid in arrears, they have to wait 6 weeks more for this and it is paid as one lump sum. So the tenant will have to work out what is the HB element when they finally get paid. It really is despicable.

Most tenants who refuse to leave are doing so at the explicit demand of the Local Council who tell them if they leave before bailiffs come they will have lost their right to temporary housing by making themselves homeless.

One of the big problems is the ratio of rent to income, a friend of mine recently took up a role in New York, there the Landlords demand your salary is 40x your rent. Their rent was $5200 for a one bed apartment, so they needed to show they earned $208,000!

My nephew in London earns a decent salary as does his partner, yet still they could not afford to buy a place in London, finally the bank of mum and dad stepped in with an equity investment, but most people are not so lucky. £470k for a one bed flat in London.

For me the issue is not going to be solved with direct payments for guarantors, it is only going to be solved by building a huge number of social housing, I do not mean the so called affordable homes the ConGov says it is going to build.

Because all governments have failed in their housebuilding targets we are about 5 million short of homes, this has created a massive problem with supply and demand. At the same time time the ConGov has virtually signed the death warrant for Housing Associations by removing the obligations to build 20% social housing in new developments, as if that was not enough they have brought in a "right to buy".

You can do the math on the bag of an envelope, HA's are only able to offer social rents because they own old stock, they have to replace this with the so called affordable properties, if they are forced to buy at market rates, they will have to charge market rates or go bust.

Add to that the demolition of social housing sold off for a penny by Councils and replaced with swish new apartments for the Chinese, Arabs and Russians, these are not even rented out, but left empty.

They are also screwing with the tax offsets for Landlords which is making many pack up and sell, thus reducing rental stock.

The ConGov needs to bring back the 20% social housing requirement, they need to JV with housing associations to build build build, literally 5m homes. This will force rents down with the increase in supply which in turn will reduce LHA rates and thus reduce the welfare cost. (Note the vast majority of people on HB are the working poor, their income is so low that they qualify).

They need to give Landlords a way to move their properties into a company without paying stamp duty, as long as they then become the shareholder and perhaps put a penalty on selling the company shares for 5 years, or else pay the stamp duty they would have paid.

I do not blame Landlords for avoiding DSS, because in most situations the LHA rates simply do not cover the rent. I think that as the interest rates go up this year we may well see some BTL landlords forced to sell up because they were on shaky ground to begin with.

Yes there are a few bad tenants, but probably no more than there are bad landlords.

A lot of Landlords at that low end are renting out dumps, but the law is changing, this new legislation is going to give some teeth to existing law:

https://services.parliament.uk/bills/2017-19/homesfitnessforhumanhabitationandliabilityforhousingstandards.html

Summary of the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill 2017-19

To amend the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to require that residential rented accommodation is provided and maintained in a state of fitness for human habitation; to amend the Building Act 1984 to make provision about the liability for works on residential accommodation that do not comply with Building Regulations; and for connected purposes

PDF

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2017-2019/0010/18010.pdf

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Paul Barrett 29th January, 2018 @ 04:33

I believe it is a dawning realisation amongst DASH tenants that they are no longer wanted or needed.
This is obviously a most important state of affairs as if things weren't difficult enough for what should really now be called UC tenants.
Due the the OBC and HB freeze UC tenants are for many LL no longer worth taking on.
Tenants won't like it but all they are to me is a commodity.
There are more than enough of them for the supply of rental accommodation though this is a situation which really just pertains in the SE.
There are empty rental properties up North.
These are very cheap to rent.
So for example £750 will rent a 4 bed house!!!!
The fact is that UC tenants are no longer profitable and the PRS exists to make profit.
LL cannot be expected to be social housing providers.
That isn't why they exist.
There are now more than enough tenants not on UC who are prepared to pay more rent than a UC tenant.
So this is not to denigrate a UC tenant but they are no longer worth letting to when a LL I know is able to charge £150pcm more than a UC can afford.
Of course UC tenants suffer from all the disadvantages of being one which is why so many LL make a business decision not to let to UC tenants.
It isn't anything personal it is just business.
The vast majority of UC tenants pay their rent but a significant proportion don't for a cause variety of reasons mentioned here.
UC tenants just have to accept that unless they can match the new higher rents that LL are now requiring then they will not be able to rent where they wish.
SoUC tenants need to consider relocating to areas that are affordable.
There are many such areas where the market rent is only just slightly more than the HB rate and in some cases the HB achievable is more than the market rents!!!
For those now reliant on c they will have to accept moving their total domestic circumstances to cheaper areas.

This is what tenants not reliable on UC have to do all the time.
Effectively tenants have to economically cleanse themselves from areas they can no longer afford to those they can.
This will remain the case for decades until it if ever there are sufficient social homes being built.
As Niami has identified there is a massive shortfall of social homes in the UK as a whole.
It will take decades for this situation to change and that is only if they start building at least 300000 social homes per year.
Of course as has been suggested the more social homes the less demand on the PRS.
But we are decades from that situation.
Of course as more LL leave the sector because of things like S24 then there will be even fewer rental properties and this will continue to put upward pressure on rents.

So those who can't afford to rent on UC will have to move.
There is going to be no magic wand waved by councils to contour up social housing.
As an immediate easing measure Govt needs to abolish S24 and the SDLT surcharge for second properties.

This may slow down the rate of LL selling up which is what accounts for many homeless tenants.
But irrespective of all the well known difficulties of UC tenants the fact is LL can now achieve significantly higher rents from other tenants
So you can't really blame LL wishing to get rid of lower paying UC tenants to be replaced by those who seem willing and able to pay the higher rents.
Of course the OBC could be avoided if tenants bothered to work just 16 hrs per but they can't be bothered and therefore their HB is insufficient to pay required rents.

Tenants on UC have to accept they will need to move from the expensive SE to cheaper areas of the UK.
London UC tenants in particular must realise that they have effectively been priced out of the London market.

Many homeless London tenants insist on remaining in TA due to their refusal to accept that they aren't wanted by private LL anymore and they won't stand a chance of social housing.
They should just accept this is the new paradigm and make efforts to move to more affordable accommodation outside the SE.
London really isn't the be all and end all.
There is a better lifestyle to be had out of London.
Of course it is a major domestic upheaval but UC tenants have to accept that they are now subject market forces and London is no longer affordable for them.
As a result they must leave.
But for some bizarre reason UC tenants have a mistaken belief of entitlement that they should be housed in a social home or private rental where they have always lived.
This is simply not the case.
The only reason they have been able to stay was because welfare and available properties were there.
This is no longer the case.
Unless there are major changes in govt policy then this situation is only going to get worse for LL and tenants alike.
Govt will not accept that people want to rent; they don't want to buy and even if they do they can never hope to afford SE prices.
These people need rental accommodation.
Forcing private LL out of business is exactly the wrong thing to do.
It will NOT generate more FTB out of those tenants.

Many of the rental properties being sold up by S24 LL are being so not to FTB but to downsizers etc.
So there is no levelling of the playing field occurring.
All that is happening is tenants are being displaced by buyers leaving the inevitably poorer tenant homeless.
Whenever Govt's attempt to interfere in markets it usually goes horribly wrong.
The PRS is shrinking even though there is no lack of demand.
It is simply unviable for many LL to remain or even enter the PRS.
Yes rents were expensive as that is what the market generated but invariably there was sufficient rental property available.
Well that isn't now the case!!

Even expensive rental property is no longer available.
LL will refuse to take on UC tenants unless they can or choose to afford the rent and can qualify for RGI or their possible guarantor can.
Such circumstances are as has been suggested all but impossible for UC tenants to achieve.
This is just TOUGH!!
LL are after good paying paying tenants who qualify for RGI.
It is no surprise therefore that UC tenants are no longer wanted by LL
Tenants just have to face up to and accept this new economic reality.
So start looking at moving to more affordable areas.

You will be surprised what quality f life and property you can achieve on UC outside London.

Time to widen those horizons.
Birmingham seems a popular place for London UC tenants to move to.
More canals than Venice!!

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David 29th January, 2018 @ 11:47

@Paul

I will not respond to the comments you seem to have put in to annoy people, they say more about you than anything.

Despite your derisory attitude to tenants there are a lot of truthful aspects in your post, but your suggestion that they should all bugger off up North is not really practical.

Sadly, there is already social cleansing going on for social tenants.

However, the capital needs people to do low paid jobs, they can't commute because rail prices are extreme to say the least and no Paul we can't have then 10 to a room on mattresses.

The London economy has depended on and abused economic migrants for years, but even they have had enough, soon you will have nobody available to serve you your Tall Triple Venti Decaf Half Sweet Non-Fat No Foam Soy Caramel Macchiato Latte mix with an extra shot of Cream with Vanilla Essence!

As for move up North, well the places where there are jobs are just as unaffordable and the last thing the UK needs is to make the North a ghetto.

I will remember to use the words THIS IS JUST TOUGH next time I hear you complaining about your tax or your obligations as a Landlord.

Much as I despise Corbyn it is worth having 10 years of his mob just to see what it does to you.

Meanwhile we have two new laws which will at least mess with you; the one I quoted above and the other is Tenant Fees Bill.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/draft-tenants-fees-bill

This will put to an end the fake fees generated by Agents and Landlords alike, no more passing on your "costs of doing business", yes you may increase your rents but those will be subject to competition. You will also be banned from requiring the tenants pay a third party.

I think this will help Landlords, one of the reasons tenants are loathe to move on is the huge cost of fees. It will also put an end to the double charging that goes on with some agents. I think it will cause a big shake out of crappy agents. Now all we need is to force agents to put their deposits in a custodial scheme to avoid them using it as cash flow for their business.

What surprised me was the limit on the amount of deposit, I would have expected it to max out at 8 weeks but if the amount of the tenancy deposit exceeds the amount of 6 weeks, the amount of the excess is a prohibited payment.

Some pretty heavy fines here which I think are necessary as we have seen with deposit protection, Landlords will either abuse the system or are just plain lazy unless there is a financial penalty.

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Paul Barrett 29th January, 2018 @ 16:24

Not sure how you think I did regard tenants.
Far from it.
I regard good tenants highly.
I just don't wish to risk my business on the less well off tenants.
Such tenants would ordinarily be housed in social housing but of course the stupid Tories sold a lot of that off.
As for low wage workers being needed in London's well yes they did used to commute to work.
I'll give you an example
Used to be a lot of East End ladies who worked for a cleaning company who had a contract to clean the Waldorf Hotel on the Aldwych in London.
They were replaced by cheaper Romanians who relied on Working Tax credits for viability and who rented illegally in overcrowded properties in London to avoid commutes.
We really don't need cheaper workers costing a fortune in WTC
If that means the coffee shops in London aren't viable when cheap workers are no longer viable then good sit them down and send the migrants home.
We don't want or need them.
It costs the economy billions just to provide these expensive coffees.
We don't need or want all these coffee shops which are only viable because of cheap East European migrants.
As for referencing fees.
You have obviously never heard of the LRS tenant Referencing Passport.
Yes it is a third party but this is how it is .
going to work with no LL requiring a tenant to have one.
So any advert I place will state that for any tenant to be considered they will have to provide their own TRP
Now this won't be a requirement of mine as of course the tenant would be perfectly entitled not to have a TRP.
Which is fine just that they won't even be considered by me.
Tenants will realise that without a TRP they won't be able to rent.
No LL is obliged to reference anyone if they don't want to.
But they may well look upon those tenants who do have their TRP as good prospects.
A TRP only costs about £60 and is valid for 3 months.
This can be routed round to as many LL or LA as the prospective tenant wants.
No more referencing would be required.
As for fees I don't charge any apart from the fee for mydeposits which is the insurance scheme.
No way would I put deposit monies in a custodial scheme as there are too many problems with that variant of protection.
However with all these circumstances you seem to believe that I have some sort of responsibility towards UC tenants which of course I don't.
It is not social cleansing as you are using emotive language it is economic cleansing.
Nobody had the right to live in expensive areas on govt welfare.
I have myself had to economically cleanse myself from various areas to cheaper areas.
At no point did I consider I was being socially cleansed from those areas.
It was just basic economics that forced me to move.
Just because you on welfare shouldn't be an excuse to ignore economic realities.

It would be no bad thing to get rid of of the scroungers up North.
Far cheaper for govt and that would leave more rental property available in London for those prepared to work.
It is just a fact that govt should not be paying vast domestic to keep welfare claimants housed in London.
K won't take them on because the rent they are prepared to pay doesn't meet my requirements.
Plus there are all the associated business risks.
In short I don't want Govt money to pay my rents and it is not enough and insufficient for my requirements
Nobody can force a private LL to take on a UC tenant.
It really does not concern me that I won't let to UC tensnts.
Mostly govt policy causes this as if things were different I would consider UC tenants.
It is perfectly possible for uC tenants to avoid the Other bC if they bothered to work just 16 hours per week.
But they can't even be bothered to do that.
Meanwhile millions of migrants flood in to do those jobs the lazy IC tenants refuse to do.

On principle I refuse to let to the UC scroungers.

Unless you are GENUINELY sick or sufficiently disabled enough not to be able to work then there is no excuse not to work.

Millions of migrants seemed to have found jobs easily.
It would be no loss
if all the welfare scroungers were shipped out of London.
Indeed many have been offered placements in Cardiff but refuse to go.
Why scroungers seem to think they should be immune from everyday economic realities that those not on welfare have to face beats me.
If you are on a welfare wage then that must mean you should not be allowed to live in expensive areas.
It will definitely facto happen anyway as LL increasingly refuse to let to UC tenants.
There are of course many LL up North that are prepared to let to uC tenants.
That is where these tenants should move to irrespective of any domestic upheaval.

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David 29th January, 2018 @ 21:54

@Paul

It is not really worth my wasting my time on you or your disgusting views so I will keep it brief.

Once again you use this blog as an advertising platform, you also seem to espouse the same vile comments as Paul Routledge (in videos of him online) the founder of the company you are promoting, maybe you are Paul Routledge?

The good news is that the thing you refer to will be illegal under the Tenant Fees Bill, so PLEASE go ahead. I can't wait to see you fined.

Just to counter a few statements you made with actual facts.

Over 68% of the welfare costs in this country are on the elderly and that is set to increase to nearer 80% with the costs of social care for the baby boomers. Whilst the majority of the 32% is claimed by low paid workers and even that has been reduced substantially.

So no matter how much you cut the 32% until you cut the 68% you are not going to make a dent in the welfare costs in this country.

Now if you look at Mrs May's election, she made a mild attempt to get the elderly to pay for their own care and it damn near cost her the election. Now she is running a limp wrist Government and she has to cow tow to both sides of her disloyal cabinet.

As for the rest of what you say, thank you for demonstrating that your views ARE in fact social cleansing and for your racist views on Eastern Europeans and others who you consider "a commodity". The views you have stated say everything about you.

Through the ages we have always seen these sort of small minded ignorant views from bigots; usually they say "send them back" when they were born here, sometimes they want to put them in camps, kill them before they are born, etc.

You just want to send people you do not like up North, hilarious if not so pathetic.

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Paul Barrett 29th January, 2018 @ 22:25

Oh dear you are a sad little man.
You are one of the many naive idiots that LL have to deal with. We avoid people like you who are so full of their entitlement rights.
You will find that my views are realistic and shared by the cast majority of workers.
The welfare classes won't like it but they have no say in the matter as they contribute nothing.
They will do as they are told and if that means moving their lives to cheaper areas then that is what must occur.
Private LL will not let to the welfare classes as there isn't enough money in it anymore plus dealing with HB types is a right hassle and simply not worth the effort.
That is why LL don't want hB tenants anymore.
Tough if you don't like it that is just business.

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Paul Barrett 29th January, 2018 @ 22:41

You are sadly mistaken to believe that I would be fined under the new Tenant fees act.
As I have stated I will not be letting to anyone who doesn't have their own TRP.
I will not be requiring anyone to pay for referencing but if they don't I won't be letting to them.
That is completely different to be requiring them to have referencing.
If they don't however I won't be considering them.
There is no way I will be fined for anything as I do not require a tenant to have their own TRP but if they don't I won't be considering them
Simples!!!!
As for LRS I totally support the founder and the whole LRS service as it prevents LL taking on duff tenants.
Everything PR states is correct.
Just because you can't handle the truth is your problem.
We LL need to prevent wrongun tenants from exploiting good LL like me.
This mostly means excluding HB tenants.
We don't want them or need them.
They are simply too much hassle

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Jim 1st May, 2019 @ 10:27

I love you guys honest.
Its bellends like you cunts that made me homeless after a work injury meant I was on benefits.
The fact I was 2 months ahead on rent, paid for a new bathroom and for the gardens to be done in the absolute shite hole you fuckers think is acceptable to chare 700 a month for had little bearing.
Bring in the fact I'm a single dad with 3 kids and that doesn't matter.

Should I ever have the misfortune to rent from any of you pricks that don't accept DSS I'll take great pleasure in trashing your place then trashing the house you live in too.

I get its a business but that's no excuse for being a sorry pile of shite of a human being, there was no reason to get me and my kids out and the DSS actually covered my rent.

What's the problem there??

Its the attitudes of you pricks tha think you're a step above.
I'm quite happy to trash all that for you and more if you want.

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Jim 1st May, 2019 @ 10:36

Paul Bartlett.
Your the type of dick that put me and my kids out.

Like I said above I get that it's a business but your view of people on benefits it's a amide archaic.

I truly hope 1 day you get to live in the mire you and your holier than thou kind are making.

Ive never been on benefits till my injury but never once have I looked down on benefit claimants.

Oh, you reference the "scroungers up north"
Guess you big city ass holes are what I should aspire to be instead of a decent human being.

Mark my words dick heads, should any of our paths ever cross I'll be quite happy to take you to my level with a big bang, see how you like your lives being turned upside down through no fault of your own..

Pricks 🖕

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The Landlord 1st May, 2019 @ 10:55

Jim, point(s) well made. You sound like a very "decent human being"

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David 1st May, 2019 @ 11:56

@Jim & @Landlord

It may interest you to know that there are a number of legal cases going through at the moment, where attempts to evict or refuse to take on a DSS claimant are discrimination.

Several have already won, for example single mothers, a protected class and disabled tenants, another protected class.

In fact almost any DSS can fit into a protected class, and now with the number of cases there is pressure to outlaw it anyway.

I do get the whole business argument and I think Universal Credit is terrible, ironically the worst affected are those people on Universal Credit who do some work, get paid for it but then have their payments frozen for 7 months all for doing two weeks work.

So much for the promised benefit of making work pay.

I would like to see job centre plus underwrite the rent payments and pay them directly the way Councils underwrite payments when they come from homeless temp housing.

Jim, I would not worry about Paul, he seems to just say stuff to piss people off, I just ignore him now, rest assured he will get what is coming if he breaks the law.

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EMMA 1st May, 2019 @ 14:31

What a positive picture of a single parent

"Should I ever have the misfortune to rent from any of you pricks that don't accept DSS I'll take great pleasure in trashing your place then trashing the house you live in too!

Exactly why DSS tenants are not favorable @Jim. People like you give them a bad name

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Paul Barrett 1st May, 2019 @ 14:43

@David
!!!!!!!????
Mate declining DSS tenants based on their inability to afford my rents will NEVER be a criminal act!!!
So I will continue to decline HB tenants even if they can allegedly afford my market rents.
Omong the many reasons I will continue to refuse to let to HB tenants at the outset of a tenancy is this

My council requires a valid AST to be presented to them BEFORE they are prepared to assess the HB claim!!!!
Now worse case scenario what if the HB claim is rejected.
The HB claimant now has a legally binding AST which means no rent is required and it would take me many months to evict at great cost.
I would need my head examining if I took on such a tenant with no proven means to support rent payments.
Ad is the xase in so much to do with HB tenants it is the dysfunctional process which causes LL to devline HB tenants.
HB tenants are mostly good people but very few of them are able to afford market rents especially in the SE.
This is because the rental narket is more expensive than other parts of the UK.
Inevitably it means tenants will beed to mive to where rents are more affordable.
A sort of ECONOMIC cleansing if you will!!

ECONONIC cleansing is something that occurs all the time in the housing market from gomeowners moving to tenants moving to cheaper areas to afford what they want.
ECONOMIC cleansing occurs everyday in society from which supermarket you use to where you buy clothes.
Housing is NO different.
For those who need HB assistance they should ve mostly in the social housing sector.
But it doesn't exist anymore or rather to the extent it used to.
2 milkion firmer social homes have now vern sold off and many of the RTBs have now sold them into the general housing market.
Many of those former RTB homes have now bern purchased on the open market by LL who are now letting such properties at market rates compared to subsidised rents when the property was owned by the Council.
RTB has been an unmitigated disaster as is now being proven to be the case.
These HB tenants should be in social accommidation paying taxpayer subsidised rents.
Social housing should be a safety net for all those for whom the PRS is not fit for purpose for them.
Private LL exist to make a PROFIT.
Something that is simply not compatible with social housing needs where PROFIT is NOT the prime motive for existing.

There is simply no way that any Govt will ever be successful in fircing LL to take on HB tenants.
So forget all these stupid legal cases none of them will EVER result in forcing LL to accept HB tenants.
It would be like for ing Narks & Spencer to sell their foid for the same orices as Aldi!!!!!!!
It will never hapoen as you simply cannot dictate to a private citizen in this xase a LL as to what they should be allowed to charge.
The last lot of idiots to try this was the stupid Labour Govts of the 60's and 70's which resulted in a mass exodus of LL only recovered in the 80's with the introduction of S21 and 8 and the AST.
Going Back to the Future with tenancy regulations is simply bonkers.
The outcome will be the same.....................a mass exodus of private LL.
Expecting LL to take on DSS tenants when rents will be increasing due to substantially reduced supply is for the birds.
Things are going to be far tougher for normal tenants let alone HB ones who quite frankly won't stand a chance unless they move to cheaper and less popular areas of the country.
I feel for the DSS tenant but quite frankly NOT my problem chum.
You pay my market rent or you wont be a tenant of mine.
Nothing personal just business!

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Anonymous 7th November, 2019 @ 01:25

How about we just stop hoarding houses to try and sell them on for profit like trolls and start acting with compassion and try and actually earn money by contributing to society rather than hoarding a crucial aspect that people need and selling it on for material gain.

Just a thought.

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Paul Barrett 7th November, 2019 @ 02:01

@anonymous

A ridiculous thought.
Any resource in a free market society is available to be bought.

This includes residential property.
Anyone may offer to purchase a property if they can afford to do so.
Many cannot afford to do so and therefore rely on other people using their capital to purchase residential property to then let out to tenants!!!!
This is necessary as so little social housing is available due to RTB and the fact that 400000 EU migrants currently occupy social housing.
Very few British Nationals would even qualify for social housing due to the ridiculous needs based allocation policy.
As a matter if fact due to the ridiculous S24 tax policy LL like me are selling up.
But they are NOT selling to existing or former tenants not FTB.
Investing in multiple property assets is not hoarding
Everyone is free to invest in Residential property.
With LL now selling up tenant homelessness will be exponentially increasing.
So while you DON'T know it yet you will miss the LL when they are gone.
Like it or not they provide an invaluable service for those who Can't afford to buy or choose not to.

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David 7th November, 2019 @ 12:18

@Anonymous

I am not sure where the WE is, are you a Landlord?

There is nothing Troll like about selling a house for profit, most Landlords are investing for their pension, by law you need to have a private pension, the people who manage that pension invest in things like stocks, unit trusts and YES property, so that there will be enough money to pay you out when you retire and pay their fees. Most of those companies have exorbitant fees, the Landlord is simply avoiding those fees and the stocks with a DIY policy.

Most Landlords start out with compassion, some get very badly hurt by "expert bad Tenants", I help a lot of Landlord and I come across them every month. There is huge legislation covering Landlords but very little on Tenants so a Landlord has to be totally professional and seek solid professional tenants.

Landlords ARE contributing to society in a big way, George Osborne has created rules that will eventually put Housing Associations out of business, meanwhile he brought in tax rules that mean many Landlords will have to sell up because their investment is no longer viable.

Landlords are not faceless ogres, many Landlords are just couples who each had a property and either decided to rent one out or were forced to by market conditions when they decided to move in together. The profits are not huge, a boiler can cost thousands and many have a shorter life because tenants mess around with them. A landlord can lose 20k from a tenant who does not pay rent, trashes a property and then requires a legal route to evict them. That is 20k of profit not rent (which goes to mortgage, insurance, agents, management, repairs and maintenance).

I do not know where you have been, but selling things on for material gain is how capitalism works. That cup of coffee you buy at Costa or McDonalds has a cost, selling at a profit allows for employment. Do you think that supermarkets are in business for social gain or profit, try visiting one in Cuba and you might see a whole aisle full of mayonnaise and vegetables sold with mould growing on them.

Nobody is hoarding, first of all Landlords cannot evict a tenant without going to Court (even if they do not pay the rent), they are bound by contracts with tenants, they have to pay the mortgage and so the timing has to be just right. Some will be renting a property bought at a bad time or on a bad mortgage that means selling up would cause them a loss. Believe it or not they do not have the cash to make the loss, all their money is tied up in their property.

The real issue is that Tenants do not have access to mortgages that are often between 35% and 50% of what they already pay for Rent. This is actually caused by restrictions put on the banks since the financial crisis of 2008. So now people need to find 20% of the purchase price.

Another issue is that social housing has been replaced by so called "affordable housing" affordable if you went to Eton or have parents who can stump up 100k deposit in London or 50k in the South of England.

The Housing Associations have had a 5 year cap on their rents, have been forced to sell property at a discount under a right to buy scheme and at the same time lost their access to 20% of new developments. This is why you are seeing so many merge, because they have to cut costs dramatically and eventually it will put them out of business. It is also why some are creating non social developments with part ownership, to fund their social housing.

The Government told HA's to move towards so called "affordable housing" rather than social rents, well how dumb was that when it is the public purse that will be paying the rents on those properties!

Now when it comes to DSS, again the core issue is the Government not the Landlords. The Government creates rules that mean:

1. If you rent a 2 bed flat to a divorced dad who sees his kids alternate weekends but he loses his job he will only get the rent for 1 bedroom, therefore he will go into arrears.

2. If you rent a 4 bed house to a family with 3 kids and one of them loses their job, they will not get rent paid because the partner is still working and so go into arrears.

3. If the Couple have 3 boys or 3 girls then they will be expected to share, or if the kids are close in age they will be expected to share, net result is that they may be paid for only 2 or 3 bed house. and so go into arrears.

4. In all of the above scenarios the Couple will only get LHA level rent, this is set at lowest 30% of rents in the area, so a Landlord is expected to make a decision to exclude people that MIGHT become unemployed, when in reality it could happen to anyone.

5. If the tenants fall into arrears it takes 6 weeks before rent is paid direct and only then if the Landlord is aware of the unemployment etc.

6. Tenants on DSS are paid a very low amount, they may have obligations (they entered into in employment) that they are contracted to that charge them penalty fees (a mobile phone, Sky TV etc). They may have energy bills they cannot afford and so they default on their rent, because the Landlord cannot charge them a penalty fee. Perhaps if all Housing Benefit was paid direct to the Landlord from day one Landlords might be more accepting of DSS.

7. Tenants who have an extra bedroom, some even for medical purposes are being charged the bedroom tax, or rather it is being deducted from their benefits, again the net result is they do not have enough income to pay their rent.

8. Disabled people on benefits are continually being re-assessed because the external firms that do the assessments are the ones deciding when to re-assess them, even with life long conditions that will not improve. That is complete madness, these companies also say the person is fit for work but 70% of those decisions are overturned at appeal. MEANWHILE the person has their benefit taken away for what may be a YEAR and of course the Landlord does not get their rent paid.

9. Universal Credit has so many loopholes you could create an entire blog on it, each one stops the payments and prevents ability of tenant to pay rent or stops paying HB element to the Landlord. This often affects people who have got into work or become self employed but then only had seasonal work so fall back into benefit.

10. Misuse of Sanctions, there will always be claimants that get sanctioned but to give DSS staff arbitrary targets on how many claimants they sanction is nuts. It turns the DSS staff member from a helper to an ogre and of course the net result is that the Landlord does not get paid because the benefits have been suspended.

11. When benefits are suspended not only is there the loss of employment element and the housing element but the full Council tax becomes due. So a tenant who is already broke suddenly faces a bill of an extra £1000 enforced by bailiffs within weeks. So of course they pay that before their rent.

If all housing benefit was paid direct from day one I think Landlords would support the DSS tenants. If there was no removal of HB (paid direct) from sanctions and if HB was calculated on the rent that was paid (as long as tenant had been resident and up to date with rent for over a year) then there would be less evictions.

Despite the above I know of many Landlords who accept people on low incomes and on DSS, but as more and more Landlords get their fingers burnt with arrears of £7k (average based on what I see in evictions) and problems evicting along with legal costs, it cannot be a surprise that Landlords are reluctant to take on some DSS tenants.

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Paul Barrett 7th November, 2019 @ 12:47

@david

Excellent response must have taken a while to formulate!

The post should be picked up by the media and widely disseminated.

The anti-LL ideology is truly depressing.

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Dave 7th November, 2019 @ 16:09

You talk about ignorant,self righteous bellends. You should take a look at yourself. To say that landlords refuse DSS in favour of more secure/reliable tenants implies that landlords assume every one claiming a benefit is a trouble making, unreliable scumbag; which in my eyes makes you the biggest bellend there is. My partner and i currently claim benefits as, after both being hard workers our whole lives, my partner was found to have multiple brain tumours and the operation has left her with a number of issues including the loss of her sight which means she is unable to work and struggles with even the most mundane daily activities, such as using the toilet, getting dressed etc. This means that i have had to give up work in order to take care of her, so know we have only the benefits. For you to make such assenine comments just shows that it is you who is the biggest ignorant, self righteous and prejudice bell end on the planet. Get down of your high horse and learn a little compassion you self righteous asshole.

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Paul Barrett 7th November, 2019 @ 16:26

@dave
I think you completely misunderstand the DSS situation.
The cast majority of DSS tenants such as yourself are good people.
LL don't have a problem with DSS tenants per se.
It is the DSS system which poorly served you and the LL.
I have no issue with DSS tenants but refuse to take them on because of the system.
As an example if how crass the system is.
For me as a LL to ascertain what HB award a HB tenant could achieve my Council East Herts District Council require me to give a valid tenancy agreement!!!!!!!!!!!
So if the tenant applicant fails in a HB claim I am stuck with a non-rent paying tenant.
The Council will even advise the tenant not to vacate as they will be considered by the Council to have made themselves intentionally homeless and therefore have no housing duty towards then!!!!!!!
This is just a very small part of the dysfunctional DSS system.
I appreciate that as tenants you know nothing about this as you are not LL and don't have to concern yourselves with LL issues
Unfortunately they directly impact upon you through NO fault of your own.
We're the system to be changed then you find many more LL willing to let to DSS tenants.
So please be assured that it ISN'T you that the LL is discriminating against; it is the dysfunctional HB and eviction process that is cat LL to refuse to let to HB tenants.
There is also the not inconsiderable issue that few DSS tenants can afford private market rents in the SE.
Moving North is the only way you will find LL willing to let on HB only.
Things would be much better for you if the Govt stopped attacking LL.
Personally the attacks are driving me to sell up making 14 tenants homeless.
Things are going to get considerably worse for tenants in the future as the attacks on the PRS continue.

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Ginnny Hennessy 29th April, 2020 @ 21:36

I just want to take a minute to laugh at all the Landlords that agree with this filth. If it REALLY was risk management contracts would be changed to protect you which could also include direct payment to landlords. Funny thing is most councils give you most of your rent if not everything so it's guaranteed money if your smart. Fast forward to 2020 COVID PANDEMIC guess what landlords are getting their rent? LOL the ones that took on dss tenants that already knew how to survive on a budget.

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saty 19th June, 2020 @ 01:24

I too had a serious issue with a dss tenant family. It took over a year to get them out. They were deliberately asking to be evicted and taken to court! It was going to cost me excess of £350. The council were telling them to stay put. The worst part was there was suddenly 6 people staying in a 1 bed flat i initially only letted to 3 of them. The flat was getting excessive wear and tear and condensation mould. Council wouldn't help. The problem also is these people got onto the dss after my tenancy agreement started. So really there is no way around it to be honest its just a hit or miss situation.

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Paul Barrett 19th June, 2020 @ 02:35

@ginny hennessy

Whilst you are correct about this CV19 issue currently I have a vacant nice 2 bed flat.

No way will I be letting it to ANY DSS tenant.

I would rather keep it empty.

Managing DSS tenants is not for the faint hearted.
Quite frankly I simply can't be bothered to deal with them.

Perhaps I am being lazy!?

But certainly for LL prepared to take on the huge risks associated with HB tenants then there is definitely the case that the effective Govt wage gives some sort of guarantee that rent will ve paid irrespective of economic circumstances.

Personally I would rather the risk of voids than take on DSS tenants.

It is my prerogative to choose my tenants.

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David 19th June, 2020 @ 15:03

@Saty

"The problem also is these people got onto the dss after my tenancy agreement started. So really there is no way around it to be honest its just a hit or miss situation."

That is true and right now there are 9 million people on Universal Credit plus a further 2 million who are self employed with grant from Government. So the only thing stopping Landlords being forced to take DSS is that nobody can evict.

I know a Landlord with a Doctor as his tenant, but he just moved to private practice and Government put a stop to the procedures, so now gets nothing and has not paid rent since February.

It usually does not take a year to get someone out, they ask to be evicted because the Council says if you leave a property you are making yourself homeless. So if your circumstances change and you hit some bad luck you cannot leave to reduce potential debt, many tenants would prefer this option.

Thus the tenant does what they can, some will sublet some will go into arrears.

If they go into arrears you can request the rent is paid direct after 6 to 8 weeks, but if you tell the Council they are in Arrears you will be stuck with them longer, it is best to get the tenant to say that they are struggling with managing their finances and opt to pay you directly.

If they sublet you can let the Council know and they will deduct the income from their Housing Benefit or stop paying it completely while they investigate, but then you get no rent at all.

If you issue the S21 most councils will take the expiry of that as a date on which they have an obligation to house IF the tenants have kids or are vulnerable. It is only London and big cities that tell tenants to wait until bailiffs.

Almost all Housing Associations I know have the rent paid direct for DSS tenants from day 1.

If you get the right kind of DSS tenant, which is one that can live within their means you will be fine, but universal credit has cut benefits dramatically, it makes applicants apply on a completely different basis to DLA and is designed to pay less, a lot less. The applicant then go through an appeal process that may take a year and even worse since pandemic started.

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Sienna 5th August, 2020 @ 08:01

My husband and I rent and we are both employed so have little issue renting. But boy it's still far too expensive to rent in my opinion unless you are happy to live next door to a chavvy drug dealer.

In any case I can see both sides of the issue. I agree that the system is a complete failure. But the court has only established a principle. Housing isn't like buying a car on finance. It's a basic human need. And I agree that the government has a lot to answer for with their past and present policies as they have essentially and indirectly driven the "No DSS" attitude.

Having said all that, this court decision needs to be taken into account not only when landlords make decisions but also when local and central governments carve out their policies. At the moment everyone is focused only on private LL's but in the long run there will be more court cases pointing out exactly the issues mentioned here and this will affect lenders, insurances and council decisions in the long run. In my view this is only the start of a very long process.

My question is how this can be overcome in the meantime? I agree it's not direct discrimination to refuse someone on DSS but it can amount to indirect discrimination even if that is not your intention (that's the problem with indirect discrimination per se).

The court only says that putting "No DSS" in your adverts or point blank refusing them before they have even applied is discrimination (that's how I understand it).

It's a bit like saying "No Blacks, No Irish" (not saying that this is on par just that a point blank refusal to serve these customers before they have even entered the premise or applied for a property is viewed as discrimination)

That doesn't mean that turning down a DSS applicant AFTER they have all gone through the checks is discrimination if they fail the checks. It's not like everyone receives the same amount of benefits. A disabled person can actually be on a good chunk. What's the harm in just letting them apply and go through the checks other than increased admin costs? So I don't see this as LLs being forced to accept DSS rather than being forced to at least let them go through the application process.

You also have the option of affordability checks. If a DSS claimant chooses to apply for a flat which is 100% more than their HB (to be fair I guess they soon just get one UC payment anyway so it has to be looked at in total) or way more than they get in income plus Tax Credits or other small SS support then they fail the affordability check anyway. After all, being on DSS doesn't necessarily mean unemployed. Also many disabled people are in work and still get in work benefits and might be on more money than your average full-time retail worker.

I hope I make sense but feel free to butt in why this might or might not be possible.

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David 5th August, 2020 @ 11:12

@Sienna

Right now you are employed but in the current crisis that could change in a heartbeat, if you were self employed or had your own business then it could dry up. Not many people can go 18 months without business.

Of course it is way too expensive to rent, but that is supply and demand, I have no problem with immigration, but every other country has methods to slow it to a pace that they can live with. For example France accepts EU citizens but it has a convoluted application system requiring contact with a central authority in Paris and the local council, the latter can say they are full and nudge people from bigger city to a nearby town. It can take 6 months because they are slow and bureaucratic.

In the UK rent is cheap if you do not mind living in the armpits of the UK up north, that is why they shifted all the DSS claimants in London if not up north then to Northampton or Kettering or other places. Actually Northampton has become commuter belt now, so depression central Stoke is new dumping ground for social cleansing.

The Court has established more than a principle, but all it will do is make Landlords more covert about their refusal to accept DSS, it will be hard to prove, hard to punish and no tenancy will be obtained or certainly not one more than 6 months.

I agree that Housing is a basic human need, but so is heat and hot water, yet the energy industry are rolling out a 13bn failed project to turn all meters into pre-payment meters and deny people the energy by cutting them off, these are known as Smart meters. There is no real benefit to the consumer and many many objections, but that is another subject.

You can't say the Government has a lot to answer for when decades of Governments from both sides have failed to build the housing stock that would make the market competitive.

Even more recently Sadiq Khan made a pledge to build 50% affordable (sic) homes. He was given a £4.82 billion government grant in 2016 to build 116,000 new affordable homes by 2022. He blames Covid but he was on track to fail and had only "started" 58,000 odd, but for him started can mean putting up a notice.

lbc.co.uk/news/uk/sadiq-khan-miss-affordable-homes-target-coronavirus/

That does not mean the Tories are innocent, George Osborne started the slow death of Social Housing by killing off Housing Associations. Osborne cut them at both ends, first by removing the free 20% of all developments they got previously and secondly by giving right to buy social housing after 5 years tenancy.

Apparently this is known as a Woolworths failure in economics circles, they used to be able to sell cheap because they obtained their properties in the early part of the 20th Century and this were mostly mortgage free. They were then persuaded to mortgage all their properties and that led to the end of them when they screwed up on acquisitions.

Housing Associations are only available to offer "social" rents if they can get a deal on the land and housing stock. They are now obliged to sell off that stock and have to buy and fund new properties like anyone else but offer so called affordable rents. The numbers do not add up which is why you are seeing merger after merger of HA's but they will all collapse if the Conservatives do not restore what Osborne took away.

At the same time Private Landlords have been kicked in the nuts with Section 24 of the Finance Act 2015, so many are cashing out. This reduces the number of properties in the market because previous rental stock is bought to live in by homeowners. Reducing supply increases rent, but even if the new owner decides to rent they will need to charge a far higher rent because they have a far higher mortgage.

This judgement came because it was able to be linked to a protected characteristic, namely single mothers.

If you drill down to ask Landlords why they decline DSS they will tell you they got burnt for being soft. Tenants are given too low an income on benefits / working tax credits, yes 80% of those on benefits work and tax credits encourage slave labour AKA zero hours contracts.

So without enough money they rob peter (the landlord) to pay Paul (the debt collector backed Council). Benefits were driven down, tax credits reduced, child tax credits reduced, then benefit frozen for 5 years while at the same time they were then asked to contribute to Council Tax. So they dip into the housing benefit, but even if they don't, it may not even be enough to cover the rent.

Consider a couple who rented a 4 bedroom house where they have been living for 10 years and pay £1000 a month. They have three children. The husband loses his £60k job, his wife was not working previously due to child care costing more than she could earn. They spend 6 months depleting their savings, 3 months getting into debt but he fails to find work.

He then reluctantly signs up for Job Seekers Allowance and Housing Benefit, these are not paid immediately, the JSA is about £73 a week. He then finds out that the Housing Benefit only pays for 3 of the 4 bedrooms because the rules say the kids can be moved into 2 rooms, but it gets worse. Despite living there for 10 years and having never had a rent increase, the Council has determined the the LHA rate for a 3 bed house in his postcode is £650, so the Council will only pay £650 of his £1000 rent.

The Landlord was sympathetic, after all he had received £120,000 of rent on a property that cost him £130,750, he lived in the property for 4 years and he could quickly sell for £310,000, £350,000 if he had been patient. Alternatively if he had continued renting until now the Zoopla range is £581k - £642k with Price estimate of £611k.

However, after a year of arrears the Landlord decided he had to turn off the loss tap, he was not a bank and he could sell up to invest abroad.

The tenant was evicted, once LL started legal action rent stopped, it took some time to get them out, the cost including legal fees was around £10k. He spent years chasing the money with Bailiffs but he never got a penny. The couple broke up, the impact to family was huge, husband ended up being sectioned. Yes this is an actual case.

We can certainly blame the Landlord for being too short sighted as he clearly had the ROI on the property and could have been more patient. However, in what is now a very expensive market to finance a BTL Landlords do not have the equity in the property.

If you want Landlords to rent to DSS you have to reduce their risk.

It seems to me that the first thing that needs to change is the LHA and the "we will only pay you for the bedrooms you need" rather than what you have.

Then we need all Housing Benefit paid to Landlord directly, albeit 4 weeks in arrears as they do with Housing Associations when tenant is on benefits. As Social Housing is only available to the vulnerable homeless this normally starts from day one and becomes the norm. Tenants prefer it as they do not have to worry about it. Of course all HA rents are set at below LHA rates and HA tenants never have too many bedrooms unless their kids leave home in which case they trade down or are charged bedroom tax.

If you read the comments above you will definitely find a few would operate the NO DSS sign (and No to others as well), but they just do it covertly. They say tenant referencing did not come through, another tenant seemed more suitable or whatever. Racists do this all the time in places of employment, you will have seen the CV's excluded with a foreign name, but the same CV with an Anglicised name gets an interview.

The disabled person might have BEEN on a good chunk but they are all being moved from DLA to ESA with PIP, the amount paid is fractional and appeals take years. They are then evicted and take all the HA social housing places.

I do not know if a tenant would feel any better having gone through tenant referencing only to be turned down by a Landlord who has no intention of letting to them. The issue with benefits is the amount received changes because the Government is on a mission to kill off the disabled and unemployable. I mean to make them take their own lives, the DWP even counted these and Cameron was caught denying to Parliament that the so called "death stats" existed, only to be caught out because the DWP had admitted to the ICO that they did.

You are right that Landlords will just go through the processes and set their own bar to deny the tenancy. You can expect agents to learn new phrases like

"we are happy to process your application but this is a very competitive area and there are very high quality applicants who may offer over market value"

What I find hilarious is that people talk about tenants on DSS as if they are another species, they are you, me and everybody, in bad circumstances. Right now 9.3m people are on furlough (many soon to be made redundant), 2.3m applied for Universal Credit and got a serious shock at how difficult it was to live on it. Then there is the hidden 3m who got nothing because they were newly self employed in the last 18 months or those that pay themselves dividends in a small business etc.

Welcome to the world of DSS.

A tenant who has been employed on good salary tends to have contractual obligations, a £70 a month mobile phone contract that includes that shiny Iphone 15 Mega X, while the DSS tenant has a cheapo phone they own and a £3 a month sim. Gym's will not let you cancel, Broadband contracts are predominantly 18 month contracts. Good earners tend to be lazy on getting best price on Energy and they may have Sky, Netflix and other commitments they do not need. So it is not easy for them to cut costs. Things WERE affordable but suddenly they are not, I know a Landlord who has a Doctor as a tenant, you would think he was a sound investment, turns out he was privately self employed and has not paid rent since March.

Affordability checks cannot be accurate, because you cannot predict what will happen to someone, what outgoings can be cancelled, how they feed their kids etc. HA's have found the biggest cause of arrears are energy costs and with Energy companies remotely flipping meters into Pre-Payment when a tenancy changes (with huge standing and energy charges) you can see more of this will come.

You may actually be better off with a tenant who has been on DSS with a no frills life.

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Benji 5th August, 2020 @ 19:52

@Sienna,

"My question is how this can be overcome in the meantime?"

Same as for job applications. Ask them to send in their details on enquiring and then get back to any suitable applicants to offer a viewing.

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Benji 5th August, 2020 @ 19:58

@David,

TLDR except the last line;

"You may actually be better off with a tenant who has been on DSS with a no frills life."

LHA rates are below the large majority of rents so it's highly unlikely most landlords would be better off.

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David 6th August, 2020 @ 09:46

@Benji

Take the time you might learn something. It actually responds to the previous post, not really intended for you.

LHA rates were massively increased this year, just as Covid set in, I have been working on a case where rent arrears were building up due to shortfall, the Landlord was charging way over the odds (LHA was £430, rent was £750, new LHA was 600 odd) Zoopla suggests much lower rents, this is an armpit town up north.

LHA is never going to pay all rent everywhere, it is set at 30th percentile, but what makes it worse is when it gives 30th percentile of 3 bed rather than 4 bed in above example.

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Paul Barrett 6th August, 2020 @ 16:38

LHA for my flat is

£700

My market rent is £1450

Mortgage costs

£1200pcm

Other costs are

£250

As you can see not much profit.

So much so that I will be selling up.

Fortunately I am not in any if these silly Council licensing areas.
But the figures no longer work which is why I will be making 16 occupants homeless.
It is Govt that is to blame with bonkers anti-small LL policies.

I intend to sell up and become an unencumbered lodger LL with ideally one 4 bed house.

Roughly the same income but none of the hassle associated with tenants.

Being a BTL is a waste of time.
Unencumbered LL more viable but still subject to the dysfunctional eviction process.

Many LL BTL business models will be based on market rents not LHA rates.

Simple fact is many LL will be unviable on LHA rates.

It actually would be very good business if LL sold up to be far more resilient with fewer possibly unencumbered of lightly leveraged properties.

Obviously that would be very tough on Tenants but then LL owe tenants nothing.

It is Govt forcing LL to sell.

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Scrapie 7th August, 2020 @ 11:55

I've followed your blog post for several years now and seen you go head on with people on many points.

I am really interested to see how things change for yourself and other landlords who have refused tenants based on their receipt of benefits. Thousand more working people are now in receipt of benifits to top up their income. If as you say a lot of mortgange/insurance companies wont deal with you if you rent to a benifits recipient, things should change, no?

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Paul Barrett 7th August, 2020 @ 13:26

@scrapie

I principalky refuse DSS as they can't afford my rents.

Then there are all the other issues which for me make DSS a bas business proposition.

But I do agree with your point about lender discrimination.
I believe Govt should BAN ALL lenders from discriminating against ANY tenant type.
Many lenders have in fact withdrawn such conditions but not ALL.

I also believe Govt should ban insurers from charging different premiums just because the tenants are DSS.

A tenant is a tenant that is all an insurer needs to know.

Perhaps if these 2 matters could be resolved then we can move on to resolve the other matters which prevent LL from taking on DSS.
The most significant of which I contend is 'CLAWBACK'

IT IS outrageous that where a LL receives direct payment of the UC HB element that the DWP could recover all the rent paid for whatever reasons they like to makeup.

Having to risk not being paid rent direct from the tenant is...........too risky!!

The only way I would ever accept DSS rent payment would be via a Credit Union who would send the full contractual rent and not just the HB element.

When I suggested this was my strategy a potential DSS applicant accused me of being a Fascist!!!!!!!!

But of course a DSS tenant could easily cancel the CU arrangement!!
Leaving me with payment from the tenant.

Govt is doing no favours for DSS tenants who I will still refuse to take on as they are a poor business risk.

I take what you state about many LL finding themselves Accidental DSS LL.

If the rent is paid then fair enough.

But not many will dig into any savings to top up the HB element of UC to pay the contractual market rent.
Most will just pay the HB amount which in my case would be half the contractual rent which I would not accept.
So I would seek to evict which would take easily over a year.

If I had a RGI policy I would make a claim though many claims have been declined which I believe is fraudulent!!

But many LL will accept DSS as better than nothing.
Not ideal but better than repossession if LHA pays the mortgage.

For many LL it will be a case of better the devil you know than DON'T know.

Fortunately I have decided to get out of the game such are the anti-LL sentiments along with the constant Govt attacks on small LL.

For me the whole business proposition no longer works

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Sienna 11th August, 2020 @ 18:53

@David When I said the government has a lot to answer for I actually meant the government now and past. Doesn't matter what colour they come in, none of them really made a lot of effort in improving the situation for LL's or tenants.

With regards to profit (@Paul) - I see where LL's are coming from to some degree. I certainly wouldn't want to make a loss. But I would have thought that having a house (largely) paid for a by a tenant plus the value increase over the years is a better profit than many other businesses make. Wanting an extra £ 300 on top of that each month although the property isn't even worth that much is in my view greedy.

But my experience from living in the UK is that few things are ever being done to benefit society unless it makes a lot of money (Eg cycle lanes, subsidised public transport, social housing are all things they don't or no longer do over here much because it makes no money but the overall long-term benefits to society are completely ignored) . And that is being encouraged by the government. Many European countries have a very strong tenant market, very strong tenant laws and comparatively low rents due to competition and yet private LL's still exist. Because it's still worth it. It's very much a cultural attitude and unless you have ever lived in one of these countries it's difficult to understand. Of course not everything there is always sunshine and roses. Reading all of the comments from landlord I see your plight but I think when we are used to a certain standard for so long it's hard to adjust (reminds me a bit of those early day ebay sellers who now complain that they make less profit and it's no longer worth it - of course competition has increased and you no longer get ridiculous amounts of money for old rope but that doesn't mean it's no longer profitable). Doesn't mean of course that the policy issues which prevent many landlords from letting to DSS don't need addressing. But I still feel that many landlords think that they need special treatment because they are so nice for letting properties to people. It is a business and it comes with risk. If more private LL's refused to let then maybe the government would get their act together. But I am pretty certain that it's still profitable because otherwise they would probably not do it.

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Paul Barrett 11th August, 2020 @ 19:32

Absolutely correct about the business risk.
It is the dysfunctional eviction process that is the biggest business risk.

It is causing LL like me to sell up.

As for rent paying for a property.
What about car hire?

The rent paid pays for the car many times over.
It is irrelevant whether the rent paid achieves certain things for the LL.
It is none of the tenants business how rent is used or its effect on asset prices etc.
Rent pays for a perishable service.
That is all the tenant needs to know.

The service of course should be a good one.

A LL will need to charge what he needs and more than that for a profit.
If he can't source tenants at those prices then he won't be a LL very long!!

I know if I had my time again I would have based my business viability on LHA rates.

Yes it would have meant fewer properties but I would have been resilient because ultimately most people qualify for UC.

In fact I contend that LL should as a matter of pragmatic business process leverage up to no more than can be supported by LHA rates.

Yes it means far larger deposits but 75% LTV is simply too high.

LL need to reduce their business size resulting in increased resilience.

But too late for me Ive had enough.
I will become hopefully a lodger LL where I will not be subject to ridiculous Govt policies like S24 or the dysfunctional eviction process.

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David 12th August, 2020 @ 09:19

@Paul Barrett

I reckon you would not be pulling out if Section 24 of the Finance Act 2015, had not come in or if it allowed a way to convert all your properties to a company and that company could offset the cost of finance as well as "other costs" against their profits.

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Paul Barrett 12th August, 2020 @ 11:09

@david

Yep before this CV19 thing I would have said S24 was the major driver for me to leave the AST PRS.

However I now consider that it is the inability to readily evict rent defaulting tenants that concerns me.

If I consider my circumstances there is no way I could support my BTL property mortgages if all my occupants defaulted on rent.

I am suffering financially currently due to absence of some occupants and a vacant property but just about surviving.

But this is simply too risky.
I am so close to disaster it DOESN'T bear thinking about.

FECKLESS rent defaulting tenants who I can't easily evict would bankrupt me.

So I have little choice than to slowly escape my rental properties.
The risk of disaster makes it not worthwhile anymore.

Yep I make good profits but that is based on an extremely risky BTL business model.

If my mortgages could be supported by LHA rates then I would be more than resilient though there would still be S24.

Pointless me converting to a company as I DON'T have the resources to do so.
Plus pulling money out of a company ISN'T necessarily a wise thing to do.

If the eviction process was changed to enable LL to quickly evict rent defaulting tenants then I would take the risk of potential voids.

But I know this will never occur indeed it is scheduled to become even harder to evict when the AST and S21 is abolished.

Personally I have had enough of the stress of potentially being bankrupted by feckless rent defaulting tenants.

So I choose to leave the AST sector.

Even if I was an unencumbered LL I'm not sure I would remain.

So I have determined to buy if possible a residential property where I will take in lodgers and not be subject to all the bonkers tenant regulation.
Being a lodger LL put the LL back in charge.

That is the way it should be.
My intention is to have a lovely 4 bed home and making it as attractive as possible for my lodgers.
They won't want for anything!

Of course the only real stress will be when one vacates and I have to source a replacement.

But just knowing I can get rid of a lodger who defaults on rent very quickly will reassure me as to business viability.

I appreciate that essentially I would be dealing with multiple individuals which I guess could be somewhat fraught.
But I can tolerate that.

But when I sell my properties won't be going to LL.
So a net loss of rental stock.

I conjecture that in about 3 years the PRS will have shrunk to about 10% of the housing market.
That will leave a massive shortfall of rental stock and tenants will struggle to source a LL prepared to take them om.

I will look on with vague interest but by then hopefully I won't be an AST LL anymore.

Of course there is another obvious alternative and that is the FHL particularly in light of the current Staycation trend.

However for me that ISN'T a viable option currently.

It is clear the UK simply DOESN'T have the availability or infrastructure for the whole population to take Staycations.

I believe once a CV19 vaccine has been achieved the world will return to a normality.

But this will take at least 3 years.
By all accounts FHL are making good money.
Certainly something to consider but not right now for me.

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