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News: Zoopla to stop rental listings discriminating against benefits claimants

Fri, 15 Mar 19

Zoopla will no longer allow letting agents and landlords to issue ‘blanket bans against tenants in receipt of housing-related benefits’ after announcing that will end to ‘No DSS’ wording in rental adverts.

The move follows on from the government’s decision to clampdown on buy-to-let landlords and letting agents posting ‘no DSS’ adverts that discriminate against tenants claiming housing benefit.

Around 20% of people living in rented accommodation in the UK receive housing benefit and yet research shows that 20% of landlords listing properties on Zoopla used ‘no DSS’ in their adverts.

Out of 86,000 property ads assessed on property website Zoopla, 8,710 listed “no DSS” in their advert description, reported housing charity Shelter and the National Housing Federation.

Around half of landlords said they will not accept a tenant on housing benefit, according to the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG), which is lobbying for the change.

But in support of recommendations from the National Landlords Association (NLA) and Residential Landlord’s Association (RLA), Zoopla, which owns multiple leading property-related websites, software and databases, will launch additional measures over coming weeks with a view to further minimising blanket restrictions which apply to renters who receive housing benefit.

Charlie Bryant, Managing Director of Zoopla, commented: “We fully support the recommendations of the NLA and the RLA, which oppose blanket bans against tenants in receipt of housing-related benefits, and are pleased to be taking action which clarifies this position.

“All tenants who are looking to rent a property deserve the chance to be fully assessed for their suitability and matched to a home that suits both their and the landlord’s circumstances.

Additional measures to be launched by Zoopla in the coming weeks ready for final implementation next month, includes amending the Zoopla Member Terms and Conditions to specifically prohibit the inclusion of “No DSS” restrictions on the site; implementing a process to remove “No DSS” references from listings uploaded to the Zoopla website; and removing the “No DSS” fields in its cloud-based software products.

Bryant added: “We proactively sought the views of our largest lettings-focused agents to ensure the above measures were undertaken on a collaborative basis and received significant support in respect of our proposed additional measures.”

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