Some lettings agents ignoring No DSS ruling, claims Shelter chief

The chief executive of campaigning charity Shelter claims some lettings agencies are ignoring the recent ruling that private landlords cannot discriminate against benefit claimants.

Last month a court in York ruled that blanket bans on claimants are strictly forbidden, on the grounds of discrimination. It found a single mother of two had experienced indirect discrimination when a letting agent refused to let a property to her.

That legal ruling was welcomed by landlord and lettings agency bodies at the time but now the chief executive of Shelter, Polly Neate, has told The Guardian newspaper: “Hundreds of people have since contacted our services with similar stories [of no DSS] and we are still hearing of letting agents and private landlords ignoring the judgment.”

She continues: “The recent court judgment was an incredibly important step forward but Shelter has been fighting ‘No DSS’ for nearly two years and will continue to do so until these discriminatory practices are stamped out for good. All landlords and letting agents should know that if they keep acting unlawfully, they could face legal action and hefty fines.”

However, Neate gives no indication of the agencies allegedly breaching the rule, nor how many of them she knows of, nor of any action being taken to notify the authorities.

Just over two weeks ago Shelter claimed it was “doubling up” its efforts to make sure letting agents comply with anti-discrimination legislation when it comes to tenants.

It said at the time: “We’ll be doubling up our efforts to end housing benefit discrimination for good – and make sure letting agents are complying with the ruling.“

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