Why Landlords SHOULD Consider DSS Tenants

Why Landlords SHOULD Consider DSS Tenants

I know I’ve been a pretentious little shitbag about DSS tenants on occasion (even though I’ve made it clear I judge each tenant on their own individual merits, and my gripe is with the system, and not DSS tenants themselves), but I swear, I’m also very well aware of the blooming fruit DSS tenants can bring to the yard.

Yeah, sure, DSS tenants notoriously have a bad rap for carrying bad credit and being lousy and reckless tenants. But I assure you, there’s a bad bunch in every group, so let me take a little time out to explain why taking on DSS tenants can make life a little bit sweeter for landlords…

1) DSS tenants are free

Letting agents will freshly create you a second anal-passage by charging you up to 12% of your annual rent to find you a tenant (excluding full-management service).

12 per cent accounts for a huge chunk of change. Hell, many times they’ll just offer you a DSS tenant anyways. And let’s be honest, if you’re going to pay 12% to a letting agent, you should expect more than a DSS tenant.

It doesn’t even make sense for letting agents to charge a landlord for a DSS tenant because ANY private landlord can put a BTL ad on Gumtree advertising they allow DSS tenants and they’ll get bombarded with enquiries. Additionally, it might be worth getting in touch with your local Social housing office and inform them you’re a landlord willing to home DSS tenants. Some local authorities will give your details out to DSS tenants looking for accommodation and they will then contact you. I’m told the process works differently for each council, however.

Back in the day, when I didn’t know the difference between a Landlord and a tenant, I actually paid a letting agent 1k to find me a tenant. They ended up finding a DSS tenant. I didn’t even know what a DSS tenant was, all I knew was that I was going to get my rent, and that seemed to rest well with me. The tenant turned out to be decent, but in retrospect, I’m annoyed that they charged me 1k for a tenant that I could have got for free had I known how the system works.

2) Supply and demand

A lot of Landlords and Letting Agents refuse to deal with DSS tenants, but that means a higher rent is achievable as demand is greater than supply.

3) Reliable income

In the current economic crisis, people are losing their jobs left, right and centre. Even professional city-workers are finding P45’s in their letterbox and having to downgrade to Burton suits. Consequently, Landlords are suddenly finding that their working-professional tenants who have been reliable for years are suddenly falling into arrears.

The good thing about DSS tenants is that their income source is generally reliable because it comes directly from the government. That seems to be more reliable than a salary at the moment.

4) Payment goes straight to the landlord

Providing your local council does make direct payments to the tenant (some don’t), it’s pretty reassuring knowing that they’re responsible and in control of ensuring rent goes into your account each month.

I currently have a long-term DSS tenant, and everything ticks along nicely. Every 30 days I get a receipt through the mail, and money goes directly into my account- that makes life extremely easy.

My point being, payment is just a little more assuring with DSS tenants because the council can’t exactly leg it.

5) Landlords With DSS Tenants Could Receive a Grant Of £3,500 To Make Their Property More Energy Efficient

“Warm Front�” is a government-funded scheme which provides grants to make a home warmer, healthier and more energy-efficient.

The grant provides energy-efficiency advice and a package of insulation and heating improvements tailored to each property up to the value of £3,500. Some homes that need oil central heating may receive a grant of up to £6,000.

Warm Front Grants are for people who own their home or rent it from a private landlord AND are on certain benefits. One of the benefits listed is “Housing Benefit”, which is why this is particularly useful for landlords with DSS tenants.

Go here for more details, Landlords With DSS Tenants Could Receive a Grant Of £3,500 To Make Their Property More Energy Efficient


Just for the record, by no means am I encouraging anyone to take on DSS tenants, nor am I saying that DSS tenants are peaches and cream, because in some cases, that can be far from the truth. I’m simply saying that there are advantages to having DSS tenants, you get me?

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Showing 2 - 52 comments (out of 52)
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 16th September, 2008 @ 17:28

Hey Jess,

Unfortunately I'm not familiar with how things work in Scotland.

England & Wales work in a completely different way in terms of Government law (since they have a different Government to Scotland).

The process was pretty simple to setup actually. A few weeks before my DSS tenants were due to move in, they required me to fill in a form, to confirm that I was giving them tenancy. At the back of the form, there was a payment section, where you can choose whether the Landlord or tenant gets direct payment. I just filled in the form appropriately; ticking the boxes which indicated that the landlord should receive payment.

It was only recently that they introduced electronic payments. I used to get cheques directly, but now they've changed it to BACS, which is cool.

I'm not sure if Councils all over Wales and England have adapted to this procedure, but they certainly have in Essex, England.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 16th September, 2008 @ 18:23

Actually...I think it very much depends on your local council.

I also forgot to mention that there is a difference between tenants on Housing Benefits (HB) and those on Local Housing Allowance (LHA).

Those receiving HB have a choice where the money should go. It's very straight forward, as it was for me.

Those tenants on LHA will receive payment directly. However, under certain circumstances, if the tenant is worried about managing their money, then they can ask their local council if they can help. In some cases they may be able to pay benefits direct to the landlord. So ultimately, I think the LHA tenant needs to be a special case, before it can go directly to the landlord.

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Jess Nisbett 16th September, 2008 @ 19:33


Thanks for your prompt reply. What you say in regard to DSS tenancies did apply in Scotland up till April this year and was an effective and potentially lucrative area for our many landlords.

I have no idea if they intend to extend this to England and Wales, but would advise your members to pray it is NOT!! Here in Scotland it's causing mayhem, with many agencies and like minded landlords trying to band together to create a no go area for DSS renters which is hoped will force the Councils into reconsidering how they apply this new 'human rights' legislation. If no one will rent to DSS the councils will be forced to house them wherever they can at the great expense that will incur, which should be substantial as they have to use Hotels, Bed and Breakfast and similar residences which do not come cheap.

What is happening makes horrific reading for a landlord.... as each new tenancy is created, the first rent payment is made direct by cheque to the Tenant with the onus on them to pay their landlord . As you know it can take anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months to create a benefits underpinned rent payment and the first payment is often the largest. Prior to the introduction of the new ruling, Landlords forums had met and discussed this issue at many heated meetings with the various councils, where the councils statement in regard to what happens if the tenant does NOT pay the landlord, bordered on the absurd..i.e.. if the tenant does not pay the landlord the first payment and becomes 8 weeks in arrears, the council can then consider paying the landlord direct, so their theory was private landlords stood to lose only the first months rent which would NOT be reimbursed to them by the council, they would have to chase their tenant themselves for redress.

Few landlords can afford to lose even 1 months rent, but bad as this prospect was, the actuality is much much more frightening... we ourselves have had a few incidents lately where a council has not reached final decision on rent for several months and then paid DIRECT TO THE TENANT not just the lst months rent (which was what we had been led to believe would be the biggest loss a landlord might suffer in this new regime) but ALL MONEY DUE TO THAT DATE ... consequence being two landlords lost thousands of pounds when their tenants were handed a cheque for sizeable amounts of money and simply disappeared into the system with same and there is not a single thing we or the landlord can do about it to get this money back - like Pontius Pilate, councils simply wash their hands of everything after they pay out the 'benefit' as they do not consider it to be the landlord's rent - they consider it their applicants 'benefit'.

To a great extent one cannot totally blame tenants, who, if they have little or nothing to look forward to financially speaking, are suddenly handed a sizeable amount of money, it has to be a huge temptation no matter how right minded they are...then there are those who are 'experienced' transient DSS who know exactly how to work the system and we have had several experiences of DSS tenants notifying their benefits office of a change in circumstance simply to get their claim renewed as this will immediately place them on the new system of direct payment and unfortunately we foresee that many more will make a career out of this monumental testimony to someone's idiocy. Whoever came up with this 'idea' has obviously never worked at the 'sharp end' nor been a landlord.

There are some exceptions to the rule but few and hard to comply with as councils are attempting to rigidly apply this new legislation in case they are found wanting in the 'human rights' department, but even they are now seeing the fruits of same due to the many many complaints and problems which are being incurred by them daily now.

I have no idea how this will pan out over the next few months, but, as a company we have withdrawn "DSS welcome" from all our marketing literature and where possible will not consider a DSS applicant unless we are 100% satisfied that they will meet their lease obligations in a specified manner. Whilst not an exact science, more rigorous vetting has paid some dividends in this area and we will continue to explore all and any other loopholes to the system in order to try and get back to where we were before. I am of the belief that councils really need the services of the private landlord sector and as a result of their own 'experiences' in regard to withdrawal of properties available and the costs they will have to bear as a result they will either be more receptive to or will themselves come up with something more appropriate that will still meet the bones of the legislation but provide a more stable payment environment that will allow landlords to again provide the housing they need.

It's a pity that 'human rights' only extends to tenants in this new situation .. the landlord apparently has none!!.. I would think being robbed of his income and often suffering damage to property when the tenant 'disappears' with the proceeds of said robbery would be a serious breach of anyone's 'human rights'!!...

Watch out for and be afraid, be very afraid of this legislation as it could spell doom and disaster for many landlords who have a portfolio of DSS tenanted properties.

Jess Nisbet
HSA Lets

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 16th September, 2008 @ 21:12

Hey Jess,

After reading your great response I went and did some research on the whole matter.

I've updated this article and created another one explaining the issue over here.

It seems as though the Government has decided to make it mandatory for tenants to receive the rent directly (which I wasn’t aware of). The old housing benefit scheme is getting eradicated quickly; consequently the “direct payment to landlords” setup is becoming less common.

DSS tenants have always had a bad reputation and will continue to do so; as a result landlords require incentives to give DSS tenants an opportunity. One of the major incentives was that they get rent sent directly, but with that abolished, what exactly are our incentives?

Unfortunately, I've had first hand experience of how brutal the council is. I had a DSS tenant commit benefit fraud and fall into 2 months of arrears; when I reported it to the council they didn't seem to care. It seemed as though they were just relieved that the tenant was housed. With that kind of service, what’s the point of housing DSS?

I think a lot of private landlords and companies are starting to remove their “DSS Welcome” signs, and I don’t blame them at all. That example you provided was a prime example of how bad the system really is. It’s really awful.

It's a ridiculous system, and it's extremely frustrating.

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andrea 26th October, 2008 @ 13:08

Iwould just like to add that sometimes it cannot be helped if people are on dss, as in my case iam due to have a back operation and had to give up work and go onto incapacity and income support as i have 2 children and my husband cares for me as i have limited mobility, We have always paid our rent, and at the moment are looking for alternate accommadation so to be nearer my childrens schools, but because of the stigma of being on benefits we cannot get a property for love nor money, so spare a thought for people like us

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darren 12th November, 2008 @ 10:52

just read your article on dss tenants and hb tenants, i am a tenant in "temporary" council property with my family of four, we have been looking at private rent houses with no luck because of the HB thing. now i am partially disabled and am trying to start my own business but as i am on a low income HB take up the slack on the rent and i know loads of people who have the rent topped up or paid outright by HB.
i have to say i understand why landlords would refuse dss, but i also think they need to start looking at the individual applicant in each case, which from my experience they don't! as soon as you say those dreaded words thats it no chance.

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Jenni 26th March, 2009 @ 13:52

You are being so stereotypical towards dss tenants. we are not all the same. i agree that there is probably lazy chavvy people out there who will wreck a house but not all of us. Ive got a 7month old disabled son, who needs regular treatment at hospital. Council have put me on a list put that could take years. Currently looking for a property nearer to the hospital as i dont drive that will take hb but can i find one no! because of small minded shallow people like yourself who just wants to discriminate. Im 18, i guarentee you're older but i really do think you should grow up. & before i get a sarcastic comment back. i am educated i have 5 alevels& a foundation degree im not a typical teenage mum who doesnt want anything from her life.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 26th March, 2009 @ 15:35


With all those beautiful qualifications you'd think basic comprehension would be in your skillset.

This article was initially highlighting the POSITIVES of taking on a DSS tenant. I've not been "shallow" or stereotyped anyone in this blog post.

I never said all DSS tenants are the same. I've dealt with both good and bad DSS tenants.

Listing me all your qualities as an individual person is irrelevant.

Kind regards

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anisa 5th June, 2009 @ 18:45

i have a very negative view of dss tenants, i recently had a tenant who claimed she was not on housing benefit,but she was and now she has done a runner with alot of my money. as far as im concerned there is a reason why so many ads now adays read no dss and this is what il be doing from now on as the majority are scum, i work very hard and for me to lose hundreds of pounds in a short space of time is very bad for me. I have now found out where her mother lives and I will wait there everyday until i can follow her home, once i have her address i will start a court injunction against her as i know she has the money. Her last salary slip stated she was paid 3000 pounds, 3 times what i earn in one month.

scum is the only word i have for these people!

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zahid parvaze 17th September, 2009 @ 02:49

hi there can any one help me please av just lost my job and i need house on rent i am gona claim dss but all the housesi seem to like dont take dss does anyone know if i can get the dss money strait in to my account so i can pay by cash pleae help thank you all

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Jools 17th September, 2009 @ 09:52

F**k me! The gene pool does not get any better does it!

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Sara 7th October, 2009 @ 18:21

I am deaf, had been employments more than 6 years, and currently on DSS, short term as I have been only out of employment for a month and half, still looking for jobs as I much prefer working rather than being on Benefit! Being deaf is no easy to follow believe you me. I am not entitled to get full benefits as I have got some savings in my account.

Some landlord/ landlady accept DSS depending its tenant character and behaviours. For example, a good tenant tells you honest, trustworth and professional person who always pays the bills on time (like me). Always looking after the place nice and clean. Previous landlord/landlady can vouch they had no problems with me. They gave a good references on my behalf.

Well, this is my point of view and am being honest thats all I can say.

Sara Ann Thomas

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Twattybollocks 8th October, 2009 @ 10:16

Good on you Sara!

Hope you get something sorted very soon. Wish all DSS were like you but unfortunately they are not!

Best wishes


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Sara 8th October, 2009 @ 15:02

awww...thank you TB that was nice of you saying that.



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Twattybollocks 8th October, 2009 @ 15:16

Awww - don't go telling people that - they will start thinking that I have a heart instead of being a cold blooded landlord!!

You have had my one act of kindness for this year - everyone else can sod off!! LOL


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stacey windermere 18th October, 2009 @ 16:48

to whom this concerns I am a tenant waiting to find the right property I have a disabled child and the council refused to put me on the waiting list so I cannot bid for place in my local paper as I need a house with garden and a largde area in which to lock up my sons electric wheelchair and store the bike that has been made for him to ride by the disability company they wont deliver iot till i can prove we have a secure home in which to lock it up so my son is stuck using his chair whilst i try to push that and pull two shoppng trolleys why cant I get a 4 bed house for me and my kids we also have 2 small dogs my situation is stupid as where i live is ready for demo by the orders of my town hall over planning issues not met can any one help me please contact me by email if you can i live in london

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Jennie 14th January, 2010 @ 14:27


I am annoyed how most of the landlords in Scotland are not taking Dss anymore, I have just became a single mother to 2 children and living in my mothers house which is over crowded, My children are sleeping on the floor along side me in a small cold spare room. Our council are the bloody pits! Maybe if i was a Junkie i would be housed soooo much quicker!! I think landlords should think about taking on Dss tenants as we are not all bad, Why not ask for refs, its your property you don't rent it out to someone that you feel you can't trust!! I just want the best from my children and a private let part or fully furnished helps me out alot with money.


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Sara 14th January, 2010 @ 17:01


DSS tenant should be acceptable even you are single mother with 2 kids as long you pay the rent. However, you need to tell Council to hurry up with processing of HB and CTB as this is clearly unfair on you and children. You want the best and liveable environment for yourself and children's wellbeing as well - tell that to council.

Some estate agents (lettings) are accepting DSS. What you can do is find somewhere to live asap and thus will be backdated on Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit. Also, make sure you got a gurantoor (hence the spelling), for instance perhaps your parents? It does not mean your parents will pay the rent but the council does.

As for Landlord, you need to tell them discreet that you are on DSS and you are human being after all. Also tell them - monthly rental will be paid on time onto his account as accordingly and that you had no problem in paying on time previously.

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Debs 20th January, 2010 @ 09:21

Hello all,

I have read both threads concerning Housing Benefit claimants.

I thoroughly understand why landlords refuse to deal with DSS claimants. There are a few that give claimants such a bad reputation that, there is no wonder that some view them so badly. At the end off the day business is business and not a charity.

I have recently moved to be with my long term partner, he has two small children. Our circumstances have changed and the children are with us in a one bedroom flat (rented through housing association). We are overcrowded, on the fourth floor with a balcony. To cut a long story short the property is not fit for children. We put our name on the council list to be re-homed but this is not looking to be positive.

We both decided to try and elevate this problem and go private. This is very difficult. We have spent hours searching only to be told *sorry no DSS*.

We have been realistic with our search and chosen properties knowing what will be paid by HB. I will be insisting before I take on any property that the rent be paid direct to the future landlord. That's my right to do so surely?

My partner and I are in our 40's, I am returning to fall time education to improve my career prospects.

I have recently applied for 35 jobs. Been for 8 interviews. I got shortlisted on 4 and still have no job apart from, the voluntary work that I do *just to keep myself sane*.

It is hard times at the moment for everybody.

After going through both these threads, I sit here in the surroundings we are in and feel hopeless.

Hopelessly Debs.

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dammad 2nd March, 2010 @ 10:57

i can understand why most people dont take on dss but i have just lost my job due to cutbacks i have a wife and 2 kids (5 & 15) and are looking for a move to dundee area so i can look for another job but i cant get a move as now on dss what can i do now but stay where we are till i get a job of which i cant get a job in dundee till i get a house not all people can help being on dss spare a thought were not all bad

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jools 2nd March, 2010 @ 14:34

Hey Debs,

I'm pretty sure that to be sharing with children is not allowed and that they have to have their own bedroom - stand to be corrected on that but have a chat with local citizens advice office. Let us know how you get on. Again - different countries different laws - may be different in Scotland.

Dammad - good luck with the job hunting.

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Debs 2nd March, 2010 @ 20:06

Hi jools,

I had no luck with any housing association or council so we decided to go private. I have to say we are now in a spacious house with a good landlord.

We took on the property as we first found and because it needed some work doing the landlord and ourselves have come to an arrangement. Which is really good.

No luck on the job front although I am signed up for college in September.

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Hells 15th June, 2010 @ 19:10

I had DSS tenant - NIGHTMARE to get out when i sold flat. She turned nasty & council advised her to "stay in the property till you get a court eviction order".
I bribed the council & they re-housed!

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gaz wp 19th September, 2010 @ 16:54

i have found your comments very helpfull, thankyou.
i am a landlord of 2 two bed propertys,
both of which are have dss tenants, 1 of them have two children, and has always paid on time infact most of the time days early, the other is a single lady with a degree in medicen, i am haveing most of my probs with the single lady, she has always paid in the cheque that is paid by dss, but when it comes to the shortfall she is 3 months behind, so in conclusion, i have found that if they have dependants they are more likly to pay on time,

hope this may be of some use to you all,

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Jane 27th September, 2010 @ 17:01

Hi Jools,

You were right about children having the right to their own bedroom. I have a 16 yr old girl and 17 yr old boy. When I first left my partner (my children were then 8 & 9) the only 'flat' -if you can call it that, we were offered, was in one of the most notorious esates in my area, and had one bedroom. I contested this as it was not acceptable to expect developing boys and girls share the same room, let alone throw me into the mix with it! I went to my local citizens advice office and they did their best to help me be prioritised with no such luck. Unfortunately I had to spend a year living with my parents (whilst working 8-6 and doing nightschool to retrain in catering management) sharing a 2 bedroom house between 5 of us. It was safe to say we were under each others feet. It wasn't until me and my children were generously offered the vicars old house from our local church to rent, that we each had our own space. this lasted 3 years in total then we had to move again. Council once again offered us a 1 bedroom flat, almost adjacent to the one we visited 4 yrs previous! we obviously declined and I went on to spend a further 3 years renting 3 different houses from friends who were doing gap years. This is not only physically but emotionall tiring and my children were adjusting to the new family dynamics and the transition into high school. It wasn't untol last year that I fuinally found anywhere that would accept me being dss but this is not permanent either. Wewill have to move again in april and the council still dont see us a 'urgent' I dont know what else I can do and although I have all my qualifications to better myself no job oppurtunities have arisen. This isn't how I wanted mmyself or my childrens life to be so I definately think that dss tennants should be given a chance. I have never been in areers, borrowed money and I have a perfect credit history. I hope one day we can settle down.

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Jess Nisbet 17th February, 2011 @ 12:07

I read Gabriella's remarks with considerable interest. As a Letting Agent I act for a great many Landlords and can assure you that the generalisation she so deplores works both ways - in the same way not all DSS tenants are shifty non payers, most Landlords do not have 'greed' as their motivation it's more like 'need' as they need to protect the fabric of their property and pay the mortgage(s) which allow them to be able to provide a property for a tenant to choose to rent!

In the same way there are 'different' types of DSS tenants, there are 'different' landlords e.g. we have some who only have have one property which they have had to rent out for various reasons, job move, family crisis or whatever, and they have to 'rent' somewhere else themselves which they have to pay for and if their DSS 'tenant' decides not to pay or pocket the benefit which is intended to pay the due rent, the landlord can and often do, get into very serious financial difficulty - and why should they - they are helping a tenant by providing the ability to rent a home and certainly should not expect to get 'ripped off' for doing so.

On the other hand we have landlords with portfolios ranging from a few to many properties, but this is their 'job' and like anyone who works for a living, they should be paid - again, that's not greed it's need - no one works for free unless they are a volunteer and landlord's cannot afford to be volunteers, all of them have mortgages to pay and often repair and renewal bills that would frighten the average householder to death as a result of the extraordinary usage of their property by a continuous procession of tenancies. They have professional fees to pay to become Landlords, they have compliance procedures to follow in regard to Health and Safety before they can let any property which is ongoing on an annual if not more often basis and require insurance for all occasions.... so why on earth should they be expected to quite literally put up and shut up in regard to their experiences of DSS or indeed other tenants.

Some tenants who 'pay' their rent themselves are sometimes the worst as they consider that if they pay for it then they can abuse it and often do.. but DSS tenants, because it's the only home they have, more often than not take good care of it as a result... but sadly this is not always the case and there is an element of experienced serial benefit claimants who do give the HB system a very bad name indeed and this has expanded exponentially by the 'Human Rights' commission ruling on paying the claimant direct as the temptation now for erstwhile decent claimants is often too great and we are all only human, if it came to a choice of paying your landlord or providing something necesary for your kids who among us would not be tempted to do what often happens, they spend the rent cheque and the landlord is left to pick up the cost NOT the ratepayer OR the Council.

We do and will continue to take DSS tenants but ONLY on strict criteria which, to be honest, none have objected to and are often grateful for as it removes temptation from them and makes it clear cut, they get the house they want and the landlord gets paid direct, that's the ONLY way they can have a tenancy, and every tenant has the right to advocate that their rent is paid direct to their landlord, they do not need to be suffering from any mental illness etc, they simply need to say that they feel neither comfortable nor confident about dealing with the rent and prefer it be paid direct to the landlord, and no Council has yet refused to do so.

In defence of Letting Agents, I would say that we work very hard for our percentage to provide our clients with not only tenants and timeous payment, but the security and knowledge required these days in the letting industry, legislation changes on a very regular basis and unless you keep up to date, you can fall foul of same very easily, particularly if you have the misfortune to tenant an experienced benefit abuser as they can and will run rings around a novice landlord, and who wants to learn the hardway as this can be much more costly than paying an Agent to take the work and concern off your shoulders. There is a lot more to an Agent than just providing tenants, too much to list here, but suffice to say that unless you are a hands on person who wants to 'work' at being 'the' landlord with all that it entails, you should seriously consider using an Agent, for although you may have to pay them for their services, I know that our remit is to ensure the rent takes account of this to lessen any effect it may have on the landlord's budget and am sure this is the case with every other Agent too and if not it should be!...

It also makes sense for any tenant to use an Agent, as they will only be offered a safe and secure home that it is up to legislative standards as no Agent can proffer a sub standard property to a tenant under any circumstances as they are the one who could be prosecuted should anything untoward occur - this should be a feel good factor for a prospective tenant as it eliminates the other side of the bad tenant/bad landlord scenario, as the tenant knows he is not about to be forced into accepting a poorly repaired inadequate property at an extortionate rent which is the type of let which gives 'Landlords' a bad name!

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Jess Nisbet 17th February, 2011 @ 16:36

In regard to your comment about Letting Agencies and their refusal to deal with DSS tenants, I suggest that if you were being absolutely fair and unbiased about things, you would understand that the Agencies have good reason to take this stance and this has been created SOLELY BY BENEFIT CLAIMANTS ABUSING THE SYSTEM, not you personally or others like you, but people in the same situation who have used it to their advantage and unfortunately the back lash does not and cannot discriminate who is who, as it is never obvious who will be a rent dodger and who will not - rent dodgers's don't wear signs, they are generally very plausible people who present well and make all the right noises about their honesty, integrity etc...

It is quite definitely not something the Agencies invented to annoy or infuriate prospective tenants. as Agencies can only earn if they let properties so they are not turning away earning potential out of some misguided form of discrimination, it's a self preservation mechanism to prevent repeat of the many thousands of pounds lost by Agents all over the country as a result of the abuse rate engendered by the new payment system.

The new system is presented as 'Human Rights' for the tenant but does not take into account the 'Human Rights' of the landlord - he should be entitled to them just as much - but if he gets 'ripped off' for non payment of rent he has nowhere to go and no one to complain to as the Council's state categorically that Housing Benefit is not classed as 'rent' but an applicants benefit and it's up to them what they do with it - however, the irony is applicants can only claim this 'benefit' if they have a 'tenancy' in place...

Sadly until the system of housing benefit has some radical levelling adjustments made to it which looks at and takes into account the 'realities' of the situation of both tenant AND landlord in relation to the contract they both sign, then this situation will go on ad nauseum.


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Sue 16th March, 2011 @ 13:38

As a Letting Agency I was interested to read your comments on giving Landlords DSS tenants and then charging lots of money for the pleasure.
As a Lettingt Agent we are asked, by a landlord, to provide a tenant, and unless specified, that may include people on DSS. Whatever their source or income they still have to be sought - we Letting Agents dont have built in radar seeking out people looking for property, so we have to advertise your property, which costs us money. We then take up reference, guarantors, prepare legal documentation, inventories, if requested etc, which again costs money. We do this because the Landlord has asked us to, presumably because they don't want the hassle. THAT is what we charge a percentage of your rental for. If it is a tenant only basis that is a one off payment. If we are asked to manage your property THEN we charge a 10-15% monthly fee and have the hassle of collecting rent, managing repairs, quarterly inspection,resigns and all the calls, paperwork and petrol that it takes to do these things.
We only act on Landlords requests and as a service we make our charges, like any other business.DSS tenants are treated no differently, infact they take up more time that other tenants,free of charge they may be, but they do not come free of hassle!

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mel 9th January, 2012 @ 10:34

Interesting reading. I happened upon this article as I am currently looking for somewhere to rent. I'm a single mother of one, studying at uni. I am therefore on benefits now, whereas before that I worked from the age of 16. I understand why LL are sometimes wary of renting to DSS, but what I don't understand is why when someone has one bad experience with a DSS tenant, they refuse to take others....that therefore follows if you had a bad experience with someone who was paying for their rent through salaried work and messed you around you would then never rent to other people who pay for their rent through work because "they're more hassle than they're worth??" Thought not!!!! Anyways, I have grants and loans, a well worked out budget plus plans in place for if anything fell through (my guarantor I guess!). I am quiet, polite, trustworthy, never miss a payment or pay late. I live next door to the most horrendously noisy chavs (who own their house, imagine that, they're not dole dossers yet they're still awful), they keep myself and my daughter awake nightly with screaming arguments and loud music, yet I am finding it virtually impossible to move because I am a benefit claiming dreg of society unfortunately....or at least I claim DSS, so i must be right!?
And yes, I am bitter!!! They LL should base on merit not a blanket thing. I am only claiming benefits now because i want to get a degree and a job that means I don't have to rely on benefits, yet houses in the nicer areas of town all say the same thing, sorry no DSS!!! Bah, I am sure I'll find somewhere at some point, until then I guess sleepless nights and abuse will have to carry on!

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Jeremy 10th January, 2012 @ 01:35

Hello Mel,

Best wishes with your degree. Please don't take too much personally. From the comments of many landlord's posting here, there are three significant disadvantages to accepting DSS referals:

1 = The move from Housing Benefit to Local Housing Allowance allowed political dogma to triumph over operational expediency. I.e. the rent money is paid to the tenant who theoretically transmits it wholly and promptly to the landlord. Not always! So when things go wrong, the landlord suffers personal loss and the indignity of knowing it's their tax paying for this folly way of doing things.

2 = Moving out. If rents don't get paid and a tenancy is terminated, councils (funded partly by the landlord's tax) will often advise a tenant to sit tight even after a court order to vacate. The landlord then has to specifically evict the tenant, with no hope of recovering overdue rent or additional eviction costs.

3 = Payment is in arrears.

This situation simply does not exist with private tenants. Rent in advance; paid by wages which have been assesed to be enough to cover the rent and a "simplified" eviction process should things go badly wrong.

So although you may not hear landlords say this very analytically, it's not really the tenant: It's the processes which surround DSS tenants which make DSS tenants a higher risk.

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Benji 10th January, 2012 @ 11:27

Spot on Jeremy.
To expand on point 2, if a landlord has to evict a 'DSS' tenant, they then take on the councils housing department. These are often staffed with the most experienced experts in the country with regard to housing law. They do the job every day and know more about their specific area than most lawyers. And they are taxpayer funded. They know how to use the system to keep a tenant in a property for as long as possible -even when the tenant is a scumbag.

A private working tenant doesnt have these free resources.

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Jeremy 10th January, 2012 @ 23:33

Thanks again, Benji! I do hope we don't fall out over a difference of opinion around electrical inspections :-)

Benji clearly has better experience than I (thank heavens!).

For me the annoying aspect of this is that the erosion of social housing sector since the 1980s has forced many tenants with problems into the private sector which is not really set up to deal with them.

Private sector renting is fundementally about profit. Social sector renting is also about supporting people with problems. Political fascination that the private sector holds all answers has led to a transfer of many tenants who need social housing into the private sector.

The recent LHA rules mean a DHH tenant has a private sector "front end": They pay their own rent which the council supply behind the scenes.

But when things go wrong, they actually have a social sector "back end". I.e. the council decides there are very good social reasons the tenant can't be evicted.

So the private landlord becomes the un-paid arm of government social policy, covering up the long term failure to invest in social housing. Which has ended up in a lot of complaining about "DSS Tenants", whihc I think misses the point.

BTW: I don't want to start a Tory / Labour debate. I think administrations of both colours have made wrong decisions.

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mel 11th January, 2012 @ 09:31

Thank you!
I see, that makes things a little clearer. I have no idea what happens when someone is evicted, never having been evicted myself!!! I do understand a little more now, although it sure does suck for the (what I suspect in reality is the majority!) ones who do pay their rent on time, don't wreck the house and behave very much like a working tenant!
As it happens, I have been talking to some estate agents and many of them do seem to take tenants on based on circumstances rather than a blanket "No DSS" and so fingers crossed I will find somewhere to move to soon!

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Louise 16th January, 2012 @ 18:56

I think its a real shame people are calling DSS tenants SCUM! I am on HB and just want to make it clear that it is quite insulting so many people feel this was about DSS tenants! My house is ALWAYS clean and tidy and ive never had rent arrears, if only more landlords/estate agents could see we are not all 'chavvy scum' it would make things a lot easier, ive recently found out i have to move as my landlord is selling this house and found it extremely hard to find a nice house that is appropriate for me and my son, luckily i now have found somewhere. Also the landlord can be paid direct but the tenant has to tell the coucil they are either a drug/alcohal addict or they are on the run from domestic violence, i agree they should never have stopped paying the landlord direct!

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Nowl 19th February, 2012 @ 17:31

I will a agree there are certain people on DSS, that are a complete
waste of time an there are other like myself that is on DSS that had it
all. The house the car the business and a family, since the recession
I have lost it all and the only thing I have is the cloth on my back. Trying to
survive and get back on my feet.

I lost my job last year in June as a Senoir Manager for a transport firm
And have really struggled to if work since two months later I was evicted
As the place I was living in was sold I had 24 hrs to her out, no work very little money
and almost 200 applications for jobs and still nothing. We not all that bad
So please give some of us a break. I know I could do with it now, I'm still
Homeless sleeping on boxes with no immediate family to help,

Regards Noel

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Nowl 19th February, 2012 @ 17:34

Apologise for the mistakes people only have my iPod to work from.

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Noel 4th April, 2012 @ 03:22

I was made homeless not through choice but through job lost divorce an a very greedy ex wife. When I approached a letting agent they were only to happy to help me, till I mentioned that my rent would be paid via DSS, after saying that you could have cut the tension with a blow touch.

Lincoln letting agents will not, assist you if you are on DSS it's a standard policy in Lincoln, however I have now been given a flat by the council, and hoping to move in shortly, having said that my HB will be paid direct to the council Housing Department of which if it goes wrong it will be out of my control. This is the issue that worries me. Why can't anything in this country just be straight forward and simple.


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sue 16th May, 2012 @ 18:23

I am currently living in a block of flats and the woman above me is a dss tenant who rents privately.
She is vulgar, disrespectful, inconsiderate and one of the worst mothers i have ever come across. She wakes myself and 22mo th old son at all hours of the night partying and having sex with various men ( which i have heard her own daughter repeatedly walk in and start crying). Even after numerous requests she still continues to be a the most inconsiderate human being i have ever come across. Every form of authority has been involved and after 6months the process of eviction has apparently begun. But after reading all these comments i am terrified the council will advise her to stay and i will continue to be the target of her threats and intimidated by her male friends, even when with my child.
She is the reason why so many dss tenants are stereotyped and its disgusting that we pay taxes to support SCUM like her who can clearly work but choose to leech off the tax payers hard earnt wages. Especially when there are people out there who could genuinely use the help and accomodation but its wasted on people like her which ruins other peoples chances of recieving help.
Dss tenants like her should all be housed together and left to rot.

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David 30th July, 2012 @ 20:34

Personally whether I need housing benefit or not if I saw that an agent or landlord was saying no dss then I wouldn't use them, simple as, its down right arrogant to assume that all people on dss are bad apples. Just look a couple of posts above and that story from Noel is happening all over, people losing their jobs and needing help....I can see a situation where those who accept dss tenants have all their properties filled and those who don't have a vast but empty property portfolio just draining their money. So maybe instead of tarring everyone with the same brush think about showing some respect and maybe you might get it in return as well as earnings :)

PS there is also a new law being mooted that will make it illegal to say/refuse dss and restrictions on all these rather dubious credit checks and admin fees.

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Jess 31st July, 2012 @ 14:22

From your comment David I would assume you are NOT a landlord and therefore never been on the wrong end of the legislative spectrum where a housing benefit applicant (DSS) is provided with money by taxpayers through the public purse on the main basis that they have a 'lease' for a landlord's property and require to pay rent to 'reside' in it .... and then they don't! ..
they use the money for anything other than the 'rent' they are contractually obligated to pay which means they flagrantly abuse and defraud the system which is in place to help them. The providers of the benefit i.e. local Council, deny all culpability as they say it is NOT rent they pay it's applicant's benefit and it's down to the individual applicant to meet his rental obligation not them - so who does ensure the benefit claimed is used for it's rightful purpose - no one apparently as no matter how often tenants are found to have spent their benefit on something other than rent, they are still permitted to continue on to receive benefit and do it all again ... so I would ask you, who's the hard done to individual we should we sympathise with in this circumstance .. the tenant or the landlord?

This can have a massive affect on a landlord who may well, like the DSS applicant, have had to move from his house for many financial reasons and may well be renting himself or have another mortgage to meet and like most landlords has a mortgage on the property he is leasing which has to be met, and if it isn't, then he can lose not only this house but under the domino principle, his other house too! ... and this has happened to landlords all because DSS benefit applicants can and often do misappropriate claimed benefits as it is oh so easy to do so.

However, it is indeed arrogant to suggest that ALL benefit applicants are guilty of this kind of behavior and most Agents and landlords will take a 'view' on DSS applicants on an individual basis, we certainly do, but equally it is just as arrogant to suggest ALL landlords should accept and can afford to take the chance of being 'ripped' off in this manner without putting some kind of defence mechanisms in place to try and protect their interests as the 'human rights' ruling only seems to apply to tenants apparently and Landlords have none!

I don't think you need to be anything other than unbiased to know that this is neither fair nor right but this debate will go on and on and will only gather impetutus with the new batch of legislation set to swing into operation this year where not only are benefits being cut to unrealistic levels but the 'universal' benefit payment is coming into force and this is an absolute doozie!!

There is no question that the housing benefit system itself is the real problem, it has been designed in theory by people who have no idea what it's actually like at 'the sharp end' of either side and the consequence is this eternal revision to try and make it work when in reality all that happens is they dig it into an even deeper black hole till it will either implode or disappear altogether!

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Jeremy 31st July, 2012 @ 22:45

Hello Jess,

A really valuable and well thought through contribution. Thank you.

If I can echo your thoughts from a slightly different view. The UK government continues to enjoy its highly prized AAA credit rating. Any regular government payments (as in payment to its suppliers for good and services offered) are highly prized by private sector suppliers because payment is guaranteeed.

Housing benefit is one such payment. It eminates from UK Treasury and once set up is absolutely guaranteed as long as the claimant's circumstances remain unchanged.

So, in theory, private sector landlords should be fighting each other tooth and nail to get "DSS" tenants into their houses, maybe even offering discounts.

But instead the world has turned on its head. Many landlords say outright "no" and those who entertain the idea of DSS put extra checks in.

So how does "AAA" rated money become "Junk Bond" money? As you point out, it's the cumulative effect of various initiatives in the housing benefit and legal arena which de-couple benefit entitlement from payment and make it difficult to gain posession from a troublesome tenant.

Incredibly frustrating for those good people who are down on their luck right now and just need people to give them trust and a hand.

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Jane 18th August, 2012 @ 23:51

Not all DSS tenants are lazy, stinky scumbags who spend their rent money on fags, booze and gold jewellery!
I'm a respectable, grown woman with a small child. I don't smoke or drink alcohol. Myself and my little one are always clean and well turned out, well behaved and polite. I'm looking to move closer to my college as it's costing me a fortune in fuel. My conversations with the letting agents always start out promising.......until they ask me if I'm working. I'm actually a student attempting to better myself (my abusive ex decided he didn't want me to go back to work) but I am basically a 'single mother on benefits'. I can see the respect drain from their faces when I tell them and it's soul destroying. Of course after hearing that devastating news, my offer of 6 months rent in advance and a 15 year immaculate tenant record means nothing.
I plan to be in a well paid job by this time next year, meaning I can then pay my way once again. I'm NOT long-term unemployed, neither am I lazy. I'm a woman who has found that with work being thin on the ground, it's better to be learning than applying for the handful of jobs available every day then doing nothing.

Please, judge each person on their individual merits and not by the label that's been unwittingly stapled to our foreheads!

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Jess 8th September, 2012 @ 12:39

It's absolutely awful trying to find a landlord that will accept housing benefits, everyone seems to be under the impression that i wear a ridiculous amount of burberry and "bling" and mug people for fun. Far from the case, I'm actually a single mother of two (straight away I know I'm being judged on that statement) the fact is, my husband left me when i was 5months pregnant with our second child, i'm in the middle of a divorce and having to live with my Grandmother whilst all our finances are being thown about in a courtroom. So for the time being I need housing that accepts DSS, but absolutely every house I find won't accept me. I don't wear sports gear unless I'm actually doing sports, I've never done drugs and I've only stolen from someone once, and that was £2 out of my Mum's purse when i was in school so I could buy some sweets. (I felt so bad that I snuck £5 back in a few weeks later!)
:( It's rubbish being dependant on DSS

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To the scumbags 21st March, 2013 @ 12:31

I hope you are all getting very poor and all in negative equity - the reason there is a housing crisis is because people like you exisit kindly die and free up some space.

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Helena Frazier 26th November, 2013 @ 01:04

I am Mrs Helena Frazier,a commercial Agriculturist...Earlier this year,I was facing financial crisis,I applied for a loan and I was scammed by some Godforsaken internet-fraudsters who called themselves loan lenders.My business was almost down until a friend of mine told me about GREENEFIELD LOAN COMPANY,United States..I never believed it.But today,i am happy to testify that I got my loan from this company without delays.All thanks to Mr Greene.if you need financial help,dont hesitate to contact this company via email:[email protected]

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Helena Frazier 26th November, 2013 @ 01:12

My name is Mrs Helena Frazier,a commercial Agriculturist...Earlier this year,I was facing financial crisis,I applied for a loan and I was scammed by some Godforsaken internet-fraudsters who called themselves loan lenders.My business was almost down until a friend of mine told me about GREENEFIELD LOAN COMPANY,United States..I never believed it.But today,i am happy to testify that I got my loan from this company without delays.All thanks to Mr Greene.if you need financial help,dont hesitate to contact this company via email:[email protected]

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Helena Frazier 26th November, 2013 @ 01:13

My names are Mrs Helena Frazier,a commercial Agriculturist...Earlier this year,I was facing financial crisis,I applied for a loan and I was scammed by some Godforsaken internet-fraudsters who called themselves loan lenders.My business was almost down until a friend of mine told me about GREENEFIELD LOAN COMPANY,United States..I never believed it.But today,i am happy to testify that I got my loan from this company without delays.All thanks to Mr Greene.if you need financial help,dont hesitate to contact this company via email:[email protected]

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rita nagy 11th January, 2014 @ 22:10


could somebody explain about DSS How can I receive it what is it exactly I am 37 years women with my son he is 6 years old. I don't receive any child support. we live in London. right now I pay 300 or 310 pound month rent, we came 6 month before. Are Dss and Housing benefits same or what is the different between Dss and Housing benefits.
Thank you very much

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Allen & Harris guy 16th January, 2014 @ 12:47

"The council can't exactly leg it"


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Dawn Harris 13th February, 2014 @ 11:31

My son was an electrician, hardworking and trustworthy. His girlfriend developed mental health issues and the relationship broke down. social services gave him custody of the two children aged 2 and 10 months. he is now living in my spare room with the two children and hopes to go back to work when they are in nursery. He is having a great deal of trouble getting anyone to rent to him because he is on DSS. He is stable and has a guarantor and deposit and month up front. Income support is looked on by him as a short term safety net whilst he sorts out a property and childcare....it is a great shame that others cannot see this. Not everyone on benefits is a scrounger...sometimes it is just circumstances dictating the need.

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Greedy Landlord 8th December, 2014 @ 13:57


I am an estate agent and I would not touch you with a barge pole - no wonder you do not get intoxicated and have no kids/pets. Locate the heavily cobwebbed cave between your legs and inject some joy you miserable old walrus.....

















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