Tenant Discrimination – Housing Benefit

Occasionally an article will be featured in the press that we have a strong opinion on and In this instance we first saw the article back last week. It would now seem that the article has gained momentum and has been featured in the national tabloids and rightly so.

The article in question was with regard to NatWest Bank and for those of you have not heard, the article explains how Landlady Helena McAleer approached NatWest with regard to additional borrowing on her buy to let mortgage, only to be told that she would only be able to borrow more money if she evicted her tenant who claims housing benefit. (Click here to read the article in full)

Now her tenant has paid her rent on time for two years and has never caused Helena an issue, so how can a large corporate bank be allowed to discriminate in such a way?

Anyone that knows the team here at Welsh Landlords, will know that we have for many years supported the idea that tenants on benefits can AND do make good tenants. We do not believe that individuals should be discriminated against due to the fact that they claim benefits and it is from personal experience that we can say that the tenant we have had on benefits has actually looked after our house better than the tenant that was supposedly a ‘Working Professional’.

We have long spoken about the idea that many letting agents discourage landlords from taking tenants with benefits (which we do not agree with) and we are fed up with constantly seeing ‘NO DSS’ on adverts from letting agents and to hear that NatWest is now discriminating has tipped us over the edge.

When as a society are we going to accept that everyone has the right to call somewhere home? AND when are we going to accept the fact that not all tenants who claim benefits are going to trash your house? We need letting agents and the banks offering buy to let mortgages to offer a more open mind to these tenants and look at the individuals and the bigger picture, rather than labelling every single tenant in receipt of benefits as bad.

Landlords need to be encouraged to look at the bigger picture, but all the while they are given the advice from letting agents to say NO to DSS, then how is this ever going to change?

Landlords please give tenants on benefits the benefit of the doubt… Look at their references in great detail, ask to see where they are living now so that you can get an idea of how they live, ask for an extra bond if that would help you but please do not just say no because they are receiving state assistance. COME ON LANDLORDS… lets be more open-minded and as for the banks… shame on you for discriminating in such a way that prevents the landlords that have said yes to DSS from renting to DSS.


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