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Zoopla bans property rental ads unless they take people on benefits

Patrick Christys
Mar 15, 2019


 

Property website Zoopla is taking a stand - it's banning sellers from listing rental properties if they refuse to take people on benefits.

One in 10 rental properties on Zoopla are listed as 'No DSS' - which stands for Department of Social Security.

Basically, this means that anyone who is on benefits struggles to find accommodation, even if they have the money to pay for it.

Around 889,000 households receive housing benefit to help pay their rent, out of about 4.5 million households living in private rental accommodation.

So a massive chunk of tenants simply aren't able to find a home on many popular property sites, as things stand.

But Zoopla will ban listers from advertising on their site if they ban people on DSS from potentially buying the property from April. 

Charlie Bryant, managing director of Zoopla, said: "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.

"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."

Polly Neate, chief executive at charity Shelter, welcomed the move. She said: "For far too long, perfectly good tenants have been barred from renting a home simply because they receive housing benefit - but changes like these show the tide is turning and DSS discrimination will not be tolerated.

"If a leading name like Zoopla can play its part in treating customers fairly, on a case-by-case basis, then others can too."

And Chris Town, vice chair of the Residential Landlords Association, said: "Landlords should not refuse someone solely because they are on benefits, and should consider prospective tenants on a case by case basis.

"But with growing numbers of benefit claimants now reliant on the private rented sector we need to do more to give tenants and landlords greater confidence in the benefits system."

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