The Government will be pressing landlords, agents and online portals to stop publishing rental adverts that exclude tenants who claim benefits.
The crackdown comes as a result of housing charity Shelter’s Stop DSS Discrimination Campaign aimed at ensuring that all prospective tenants are treated equally and fairly when looking for rented accommodation. Actions include naming and shaming agents who insist on placing a blanket ban on all their ads. Clearly, careful management of rental accommodation is essential, as is the property inventory software needed to facilitate the job.
Online property portal Zoopla has already announced that it is removing the ‘No DSS’ wording on rental advertisements. This means that landlords no longer have the option to bar potential tenants who receive benefits from applying. Right move has also been supporting the changes, by joining Zoopla in sending notices to agents to discourage them from placing adverts that ban tenants on benefits.
Moving for change
David Cox, the chief executive of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) explained that the reluctance shown by landlords in accepting tenants on benefits largely stems from the failure of the Universal Credit system. He says that the whole system needed reviewing.
Delays in Universal Credit payments mean delays in rent payments, especially as Universal Credit is paid in arrears, whereas rent is payable in advance. Delays in the receipt of benefits can, in turn, result in delayed rental payments, Online property portal Zoopla has already announced that it is removing the ‘No DSS’ wording on rental advertisements. which can impact the landlords’ ability to perform essential maintenance on their properties during and between tenancies.
Clearly, careful management of rental accommodation is essential, as is the property inventory software needed to facilitate the job. So, how much can property inventory software cost ? For the management of up to five properties, a basic app can be for as little as £10 per month, but the cost depends on the size of the portfolio and the software package chosen.
Ultimately, all tenants deserve efficiently managed properties, whether they’re on benefits or not, and property inventory software is just one of the many technologies that benefit both tenant and landlord.
Residential Landlords Association policy manager John Stewart also believes other, more fundamental changes are needed, such as giving all tenants the right to have the housing part of their benefit paid directly to their landlords, as well as working with lenders to lift restrictions on mortgages preventing landlords from letting to tenants on benefits.