End DSS discrimination

You’re helping us stamp out benefit discrimination for good.

End DSS discrimination

You’re helping us stamp out benefit discrimination for good.

We’re campaigning against discrimination faced by renters who receive housing benefit when looking for a home – and we’re winning. So-called 'No DSS’ policies put in place by letting agents and landlords unfairly lock hundreds of thousands of people out of homes they could otherwise afford – simply because they receive housing benefit. This is discrimination, and it’s unlawful.

It has a direct and devastating impact on the lives of tenants who receive housing benefit. It causes huge stress and anxiety, leads to people staying in unsuitable and unsafe accommodation because they can’t move – and ultimately, it can make people homeless.

Since we started campaigning to end housing benefit discrimination, we’ve won important changes. But we know there’s still more to do. Will you join the campaign and help us end housing benefit discrimination for good?

Yes I'll join the campaign

Have you experienced DSS discrimination in your search for a home?
We’ve created a guide to help you challenge this.

Key moments

  • Winning the landmark court rulings that declared housing benefit discrimination is unlawful
    At two historic hearings involving Shelter clients at York and Birmingham County Courts, ‘No DSS’ discrimination was declared unlawful.

    These wins prove without a doubt that agents operating ‘No DSS’ policies are not only acting unjustly but also unlawfully. This is a huge breakthrough for our End DSS Discrimination campaign!

  • Securing big wins as Zoopla, SpareRoom and Rightmove remove ‘No DSS’ restrictions from their sites
    These should no longer appear on the property portals’ adverts

  • Stamping out DSS discrimination in the buy-to-let mortgage industry
    Many landlords used to have terms in their mortgages which prevented them from letting to tenants receiving housing benefit. But in 2020 it’s nothing more than a myth. Industry leader Mortgages for Business tell us that they think over 99% of the buy-to-let mortgage market is now ‘No DSS’ free.

    Thanks to our campaigning, all the major players have removed their ‘No DSS’ clauses, including in historic contracts, and confirmed that they would never enforce them in any case.

  • Demonstrating that insurance policies that don’t discriminate are available
    Some thought landlord insurance policies prohibited landlords from letting to tenants who receive housing benefit. But through our work with the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (IBBA), we’ve shown that most insurance brokers can find insurance policies that cover this situation at little or no extra cost.

  • Getting confirmation that there is no excuse for blanket bans
    Organisations like the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) and The Property Ombudsman (TPO) confirmed that there is no excuse or justification for letting agents and landlords having blanket bans against tenants who receive housing benefit.

Read more about the DSS campaign progress and wins on our live blog

Supporting the campaign

For those of us with mental health problems, finding a safe, suitable and stable place to call home can be so important. But discriminatory No DSS policies can make that aim so much harder for anyone who needs support from the benefits system when they’re unwell. That’s why Mind support Shelter’s campaign to end DSS discrimination.

Mind: for better mental health (logo)

We all want to live in a society where proper support is in place when help is most needed – our benefits system was created to do exactly this. Yet for the majority of people referred to food banks, benefits are their main source of income and they are still struggling to stay afloat. To then be told you’re not allowed to rent a home is simply not right. It can and must change. That’s why the Trussell Trust supports Shelter’s End DSS Discrimination campaign.

The Trussell Trust: Stop UK Hunger (logo)

By the time Universal Credit rolls out, nearly all of the 2 million single parents in the UK will be eligible to receive it. Many of these single parents live in rented accommodation, but can struggle to find a suitable home for themselves and their children because of unfair restrictions placed on benefit recipients by landlords and letting agents. This needs to change. That’s why Gingerbread, the charity for single parent families, supports Shelter’s call to end DSS discrimination.

Gingerbread: single parents equal families (logo)

Turn2us supports Shelter’s campaign to end DSS discrimination because any and all forms of prejudice are unacceptable.

Turn2 Us: Fighting UK poverty (logo)

St Mungo’s provides housing and support to thousands of homeless and vulnerable people, many of whom have experienced rough sleeping. Lots of people who have slept rough claim housing benefit to help pay their rent when they move off the streets, and it is a crucial form of support to help people rebuild their lives. Blanket bans on tenants who claim housing benefit make it more difficult for people to move on from homelessness, leaving them trapped in unsafe situations. That’s why we’re supporting Shelter’s campaign to end DSS discrimination.

St Mungos: Ending homelessness, rebuilding lives (logo)