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End income discrimination

We're campaigning to end the discrimination that families and people who receive benefits face when looking for a home.

Right now, too many landlords and letting agents are discriminating against people who receive benefits or have children. These renters are coming up against blanket bans on renting homes, and are sometimes even rejected from viewing properties.

Will you call on the government to deliver a Renters Reform Bill that truly ends income and family discrimination in renting?

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The Renters Reform Bill would help tackle this injustice

Now the bill is finally being debated in parliament, MPs must make sure that it becomes illegal for landlords and agents to refuse to rent properties to people who receive benefits or have children.

We created a series of videos to highlight this issue

To truly deliver for renters, the bill must also remove the barriers that prevent already marginalised groups from renting homes they can afford. This means no more asking for multiple months’ rent upfront, or guarantors who earn ridiculously high salaries.

This sort of discrimination has a direct and devastating impact on the lives of people who receive benefits. It causes huge levels of stress and anxiety; it leads to people staying in unsuitable and unsafe accommodation because they can’t move – and ultimately, it fuels the housing emergency.

We've won important changes but there's still more to do

Since the start of this campaign, we’ve proven that blanket bans against people who receive benefits are unlawful. Now it’s time to make it directly and specifically illegal and tackle these discriminatory barriers.

Yes, I'll join the campaign

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

Key campaign wins

  • The government promises to outlaw income discrimination in the Renters Reform Bill.

  • Winning the landmark court rulings that declared housing benefit discrimination is unlawful. At four historic hearings involving Shelter clients, ‘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 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 who receive 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 won't enforce them in future cases.

  • 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.

Organisations supporting our 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 income discrimination.

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.

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.

Turn 2 Us supports Shelter’s campaign to end DSS discrimination because any and all forms of prejudice are unacceptable.

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.

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