Tell OpenRent to stop discriminating

You might have seen the OpenRent advertisements asking for ‘good’ tenants and ‘good’ landlords to join its letting community. But some good tenants can’t access two-thirds of the properties on OpenRent. They can’t even apply for them. Why? Because they receive benefits.

Even though they have always paid their rent on time, and taken care of their homes, these tenants are being locked out of properties across the UK. This is unlawful discrimination and could lead to people becoming homeless.

Tell OpenRent to stop this discrimination

We must change this, together

As a group of tenants and landlords, we have written an open letter to OpenRent, challenging its policies and asking for a face-to-face meeting. If enough people sign this, we could put an end to OpenRent’s discrimination for good.

Will you join us in telling OpenRent that we all deserve access to safe, affordable homes? Just add your name below, and we’ll do the rest.

Our letter to OpenRent

Dear OpenRent,

We’re writing to you as a group of good landlords and good tenants, and potential customers of OpenRent.

We’ve seen your ad campaign on tubes and buses all over London these last few weeks, inviting us to join your two million-strong community of good landlords and good tenants. And we’d like to – really, we would – but there’s just one thing standing in our way…

As tenants, we have always paid our rent on time and in full. We’ve got excellent landlord references, we’ve got guarantors, and sometimes we’ve got savings. We’ve even got photos of the immaculate condition in which we’ve left previous properties at the end of our tenancies.

We are good tenants. Yet we’re locked out of renting two-thirds of the properties available on your site, simply because we receive housing benefit.

This is discrimination, and it’s unlawful. It also has a direct and devastating impact on our lives. It causes us huge stress and anxiety; it leads to us staying in unsuitable and unsafe accommodation because we can’t move – and we are worried it will make us homeless.

The scale of the problem is huge. When we looked on your website on 27 January 2020, we saw that in London, you’ve got 2,413 properties available to rent. But when we tick the DSS accepted box, this shrinks to 271. Only 11% of your properties in London are open to tenants receiving housing benefit. And the picture is similar across the country. In Manchester the numbers shrink from 90 to 13, and in Newcastle, from 86 to 12.

As landlords, we have a responsibility to follow the law, provide a safe and secure home for our tenants, and consider the individual circumstances of everyone who applies to rent our properties. We can’t advertise with a letting agent who perpetuates discrimination.

You say your platform is the place that good landlords go, so why are two-thirds of the landlords on your site discriminating against people who receive housing benefit?

And you say it’s where they meet good tenants, so does that mean people receiving housing benefit are not good tenants?

As those of us who are landlords, and those who are tenants, we’re asking you to put an end to these discriminatory practices on your site. Stop allowing landlords to advertise their properties as ‘DSS not accepted’ and inform landlords of their legal requirement not to discriminate.

We’re also asking, as a group of good landlords and good tenants, to meet with you in person and discuss our experiences of ‘DSS not accepted’ adverts on your site – and what we think can be done to improve the situation for everyone using OpenRent.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Tyler, Emma Loffler, Lynne Mapp, Rosie Keough, Chantelle Welsh, Hilary Brittain, Kelly Mulligan, Carla Hinch-Worman, Paul Hinch, Kimberley Aldridge, Mark Aldridge, Sophie Watts, Alexandra Macintyre, and Leigh Martine

Add your name – tell OpenRent to stop discriminating