Many of the leading landlords in England actively discriminate tenants for rent subsidy, according to a new report from Shelter and the National Housing Federation (NHF).
In an undercover investigation 149 regional rental offices of six national brands – Bridgfords, Dexters, Fox & Sons, Haart, Hunters and Your Move – were named by researchers who pretended to be potential tenants.
They discovered that one in 10 (10 percent) branches had a policy of not granting rent subsidy to anyone, regardless of whether they could pay the rent.
The worst perpetrator was Haart, with an absolute ban on rent subsidy for tenants in one third of the offices (eight out of 25).
The only agent who had no prohibitions was Hunters.
& # 39; There is huge discrimination & # 39;
Lauren, a 47-year-old single mother, tells her story.
Lauren has been living in the same privately rented house in Lewes, East Sussex for fourteen years, and has always paid her rent on time.
Because of the recent increases in her rent, Lauren is looking for a cheaper house, but she has stumbled upon because of receiving housing benefit.
Lauren said: "I was looking for a private rented place that might be more affordable, but everywhere DSS does not say [a colloquial term for housing benefit].
"The rental brokers I called were all so dismissive and rude, there was no room, the experience was awful and very uncomfortable and disconcerting.
"There is a lot of discrimination, everyone is asphalted with the same brush and it is unfair."
Shelter added that separate research has shown that another metropolitan rental broker, Ludlow Thompson – a London-based brand – also bans people on rent subsidy in all 10 of its branches.
A separate YouGov survey of 1,137 private landlords, commissioned by Shelter in 2017, found that six in ten (61 percent) bar or rather not rented to rent surfer drivers.
A survey of almost 4,000 private tenants revealed that almost a third of people who received a rent subsidy said they could not have rented a house because of a & # 39; no & # 39;
benefit policy in the past five years.
Except that it's crude unfair & # 39; is, the charity claims that this policy may be unlawful.
This is because it indirectly discriminates against women and the disabled who are most likely eligible for a rent subsidy.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: "Rejecting rent subsidy tenants is morally bankrupt, and because these practices have an overwhelming impact on women and people with disabilities, they can be unlawful.
"That's why we urge all landlords and rental agents to refrain from housing benefits and to treat people fairly on a case-by-case basis."
David Orr, chief executive of the NHF, representing social landlords, added: "Many housing corporations were established in the 1950s and 1960s to house people who could not live anywhere else because of shameless racism from private landlords and rental agents who told them." No Irish, no blacks, no dogs ".
"Letting agents have to be ashamed that there is still discrimination in the form of an absolute ban on people, simply because they depend on rent subsidy We know that this is purely based on prejudice."
The groups now appeal to the government, and let agents, landlords, mortgage providers and insurance companies ensure that all tenants are treated equally.
In addition, Shelter will be launching a series of test cases in court over the next few months, challenging those who refuse to consider offering benefits to people.
You can join the campaign on Twitter by using the hashtag #EndDSSdiscrimination.
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Yesterday we reported how campaigners demand fairer conditions for tenants after tenants have seized social media to complain about problems such as moldy bedrooms and broken windows.
Earlier this month we reported that a shake-up of rent subsidy had been prevented in a win for The Sun Give Me Shelter campaign.
The latest in our "My First Home" series saw a young buyer with money buoys "sick from renting" to buy a boat instead to live on.
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