Local MP lends support to housing charity’s campaign calling for an end to ‘No DSS’

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10 May 2019
Wirral West MP Margaret Greenwood has attended an event in Parliament hosted by Shelter, the UK’s largest housing and homelessness charity.

Shelter is campaigning against discrimination faced by renters receiving Housing Benefit and argues that so-called ‘No DSS’ policies are unfairly locking hundreds of thousands of people out of homes they could otherwise live in, pushing them closer to homelessness.

A 2017 YouGov survey of more than 1,000 private landlords showed that 60% of those surveyed prefer not to let to people on Housing Benefit or bar them outright.

A separate YouGov poll of almost 4,000 private renters found that almost a third of people receiving Housing Benefit said they hadn’t been able to rent a home due to a ‘No DSS’ policy in the last five years. This equates to hundreds of thousands of private renters nationally.

Margaret Greenwood MP said:

“I was really pleased to be able to attend this event in Parliament and lend my support to Shelter’s campaign.

“It is a matter of real concern that so many private renters across the UK haven’t been able to rent a home due to a ‘No DSS’ policy, and that many could be pushed closer to homelessness as a result.

“Discrimination has become more likely because of government cuts to Housing Benefit making landlords more wary of tenants in receipt of it.”

A spokesperson for Shelter explained:

“Open discrimination against people on benefits is freely taking place on high streets up and down the country.

“‘No DSS’ practices – where people in receipt of benefits are barred from applying to rent a private property – are common.

“Under the Equality Act 2010, its unlawful to indirectly discriminate based on things like gender, disability or race. ‘No DSS’ adverts and other exclusionary practices can breach the Act via indirect discrimination, as they disproportionately harm women and disabled people who are more likely to receive housing benefit.

“We’re campaigning against this discrimination faced by renters receiving Housing Benefit.”

Shelter also provides information, support and advice to people experiencing bad housing and homelessness.

Margaret Greenwood MP added:

“I would urge any of my constituents who need help with a housing issue to contact Shelter Merseyside on 0344 515 1900 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

“Shelter has a team of advisers and solicitors who can help with a range of housing related problems including homelessness, debt, welfare benefits, rent arrears and bankruptcy.”