When I cover the topic of DSS tenants, it’s usually in bad light, unfortunately. But that’s because I’ve mostly had shitty experiences with them. That’s not a scathing attack, it’s just a fact.
However, I know there are many genuinely decent DSS tenants out there, struggling to find landlords and letting agents that will accept them because of the damage the piss-taking DSS tenants have caused, so my intention isn’t to encourage landlords to blanket-ban tenants in receivership of benefits.
Yes, I admit, it would genuinely take a lot for me to consider accepting another DSS tenant (because of what I’ve experienced), but I know what would work in their favour if they were ever to try and convince me.
Sadly, the decent DSS tenants are in a position where they have to convince landlords that they’re one of the “good guys” If you’re in that position, here are a few tips [from a landlord], which may help you…
1] Rental History
Rental history for a DSS tenant is vital. If you have a positive rental history as a DSS tenant, it will show you’re still able to pay rent and respect the property and neighbourhood you live in.
Present your landlord with references and contact details of your previous landlord.
2] Get a Guarantor
Arrange a Guarantor that has stability – a well paid job and a home of their own.
3] Rent Guarantee Insurance
Offer to pay for rental insurance, so your landlord is reassured he/she will never lose out on rent. This option could involve a premium of a few hundred pounds, but it could be the safety net which will convince a landlord.
Fair warning, it might take a little bit of hunting to find an insurance company that covers DSS tenants! But they are out there.
4] Get the council to pay directly to landlords
By default, tenants receive their housing benefit directly from the council, which they are then expected to pass onto their landlords. Of course, that wasn’t always the case- landlords used to receive the rent directly from the council. When that was the case, landlords were a lot more willing to take on DSS tenants. Some local councils will still pay directly to landlords under special circumstances.
See if you can get this arranged with your council, so your landlord receives the rent directly. It will be an extremely compelling arrangement for your prospective landlord.
5] Look in newspapers and websites like Gumtree
More and more letting agents are refusing to let DSS tenants in through the front door, so options are limited.
You’re best bet is to approach landlords directly, and the best way to do that is by looking in your local newspapers and websites like Gumtree, where private landlords market their properties.
6] Offer to put down a bigger security deposit
Typically, landlords will require one month’s rent to cover the security deposit.
The most a landlord can charge for any security deposit is the total of two month’s rent for an unfurnished property, or three month’s rent for a furnished property.
If you have the spare cash, offer to pay 2/3 months worth of a deposit.
7] Yes to DSS
I came across this website recently, DSS Move. It’s a property portal that lists DSS-friendly rental properties. Check it out!
Does anyone else have any other tips for the DSS community caught in the struggle?
Disclaimer: I'm just a landlord blogger; I'm 100% not qualified to give legal or financial advice. I'm a doofus. Any information I share is my unqualified opinion, and should never be construed as professional legal or financial advice. You should definitely get advice from a qualified professional for any legal or financial matters. For more information, please read my full disclaimer.