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'No DSS' policy equals discrimination – Landlords be aware

The York County Court recently ruled that ‘No DSS’ discrimination is against equality laws.

In the first case of its kind, District Judge Mark concluded the practice of refusing to rent homes to individuals receiving housing benefits (Department for Social Security tenants – ‘DSS’) is unlawful.

For those campaigning against policies preventing tenants from securing rental accommodation, 1st July 2020 is a huge step.

The District Judge ruled that “rejecting tenancy applications because the applicant is in receipt of housing benefit was unlawfully discriminating on the grounds of sex and disability”. The legal action and decision has received support which renders blanket 'No DSS' applications and the practices associated with it as contrary to the Equality Act 2010.

Whilst there is no doubt more to follow on this subject, the Court has made it clear that 'No DSS' rules which are often adopted by many private landlords has breached equality laws. The message is clear, the policy of automatically rejecting tenancy applications from applicants in receipt of housing benefits amounts to unlawful discriminations.

Although some would argue more work needs to be done to abolish 'No DSS' policies, this is certainly a breakthrough.. The message is clear – landlords and lettings agencies must treat prospective tenants fairly and must think carefully before refusing an application for rental accommodation based on the grounds of housing benefits. Ignoring the new ruling could mean legal action with significant cost consequences.

For further information and advice, please contact our Housing Law team by calling 0113 232 1030 or emailing dispute.resolution@emsleys.co.uk.

Gurpreet Birdi

Written by

Gurpreet Birdi

Associate Director

Gurpreet is an Associate Director. She is a solicitor in our Dispute Resolution team with significant expertise in civil and commercial disputes. She specialises in contested wills and probate, financial service litigation and professional negligence.

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