A lettings agency which markets private rental properties and units operated by a housing association has apologised for its ‘No DSS’ advertisement.
Equity Housing advertised a private landlord’s property stating that individuals on benefits would not be accepted as tenants. Specifically the wording, contained in the property details, stated: “Full-time applicants only and no DSS considered”.
Portals, redress services and most estate agencies have themselves long stated that such advertising is not only discriminatory but against their own corporate policies.
Just last month another lettings agency was found to have unlawfully discriminated against a tenant receiving benefits.
Worthing County Court declared that Michael Jones & Company unlawfully refused to show Hayley Pearce a potential rental property because she receives benefits.
According to campaigning charity Shelter, which took up the case on the tenant’s behalf, an agency employee told Pearce over the phone that people in receipt of benefits would not be acceptable’ to the landlord, without checking whether she could afford the rent.
In this latest issue, the housing association which runs the agency at the centre of the controversy – Great Places – said the advert was “unacceptable” and “falls short” of the group’s standards.
Guy Cresswell, executive director of customer services at Great Places, has issued a statement saying: “We wholeheartedly apologise for the content of the advert and understand the upset that it has caused. It is unacceptable for this wording to have been used and it does not reflect group policy.
“We believe that the wording was copied from an old advert which we accept falls short of our own high standards. It has been removed and won’t be used in future adverts.”
There’s been a series of high profile legal cases concerning No DSS adverts.
Last year Midlands agency Paul Carr told disabled tenant Stephen Tyler it had a policy of not accepting renters receiving benefits, triggering a case at Birmingham County Court which the agency lost.
And last summer a court in York found a single mother of two had experienced indirect discrimination when a letting agent in the city refused to rent to her.
This post has originally been featured in Letting Agent Today.