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Struggling to rent a property

chell78 Community member Posts: 1 Listener
i am struggling to rent a property from a private landlord. I do not work as both myself and my 16 year old son are disabled. Every time I find a nice place I'm hit with "we don't take DSS" is this discrimination. I'm sure I have read under the equality act 2010 that it is. 
I don't want to move but my landlord has decided to sell, he needs money to pay off an ex. He does have another empty house which he could sell instead. Does anyone know if I have any legal standing with that? I'm on a rolling contract. 


  • Liam_Alumni
    Liam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 1,100 Pioneering
    Hi @chell78,

    Welcome to Scope's online community! It's great to have you on board.

    I'm sorry to hear about the difficulties you're having with housing. I've moved your post into our Housing and Independent Living category, where other members of the community may be able to advise.

    @Debbie_Scope, can you help?
  • Debbie_Alumni
    Debbie_Alumni Community member Posts: 932 Pioneering
    Hi @chell78 ,

    Welcome to the community and thanks for your question.

    Sorry to see that your landlord wants to sell the property.
    He's required by law to serve the correct notice. Please see the information about Eviction Notices from private landlords on the Shelter website. This will help you identify which type of tenancy you have. It's likely that you have an Assured Shorthold tenancy. This is the most common type of tenancy in the private sector. If you've been given a notice you can take it to your local council's housing department, CAB or Shelter (if you have a service nearby) and they will be able to check if the notice is legally valid. If your landlord hasn't served the correct notice, he can't get a court order to evict you. He'll have to start possession proceedings from scratch including serving you with the correct notice. You would be surprised how many landlords serve inadequate notices and just the slightest technicality can deem a whole possession claim invalid. 

    If you need to approach your local council for housing assistance, they will need to be satisfied that the landlord has served the correct notice before they will assist you and even then, they may not intervene until the day that the bailiffs come to evict you. The possession process can take several weeks, sometimes longer, to go through the courts.

    Looking ahead to finding a new property. Is it discrimination that landlords refuse to rent to people in receipt of benefits? Yes, but Income and employment status are not protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.  It could be argued that by refusing to accept tenants in receipt of benefits, it's indirect discrimination.
    • indirect discrimination - putting rules or arrangements in place that apply to everyone, but that put someone with a protected characteristic at an unfair disadvantage
    However with rents at an all time high, benefits not fully covering rents, the slow benefit processing times, welfare reform changes and restrictions placed on landlords by mortgage lenders and insurers; It's difficult to know where to place blame and who is responsible.

    Years ago when Local Housing Allowance LHA first came into effect, the rates then were in the most case, higher than market rents. Landlords queued up to take tenants on benefits (for a brief period) because they could charge a higher than market value rent and it would be paid directly to them.
    Today you'll find that LHA barely covers rent in most areas and the majority of tenants will need to meet the shortfall in the rent themselves. Landlords feel it's too risky. Universal Credit, the new means-tested benefit is rolling out and under this new benefit payments will switch to monthly payments and it's pretty difficult to get your housing costs paid directly to the landlord. I don't anticipate that things will get better any time soon. In fact we could be building up to quite a big homelessness problem in the next couple of years, the evidence is already there that homelessness is on the increase. Lots of families are already hanging on to their homes by the skin of their teeth.

    Try the website Open Rent for privately rented properties, you can filter the search to include landlords who accept DSS.

    I hope that this has been helpful and I wish you all the best.

    Best wishes
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