Zoopla bars ‘no housing benefit’ rental ads

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Property website Zoopla has barred adverts that refuse to take renters on housing benefits.

The National Housing Federation found one in ten adverts on Zoopla specified “no DSS” or “no housing benefit”.

The National Landlords Association (NLA) and Residential Landlord’s Association (RLA) have said the blanket restrictions should not be used.

Zoopla will now specifically prohibit “No DSS” restrictions and remove the “No DSS” fields on its software.

Charlie Bryant, managing director of Zoopla, said: “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.”

The move follows increasing pressure on mortgage lenders, insurers, property agents and property ad sites not to discriminate against people on benefits.

This month NatWest Bank said it would change its restrictions on buy-to-let mortgages – which in one case led to a landlord receiving a demand for the revocation of an existing mortgage while being refused a re-mortgage after she rented the property to a tenant on housing benefits.

Parliamentary inquiry

Parliament’s Work and Pensions Committee has launched an inquiry into discrimination against benefits claimants.

It is quizzing lenders, landlords, agents and benefit recipients and running an online survey of claimants who have had problems finding a place to rent or problems with their landlords.

The National Housing Federation and Shelter said that women and those with disabilities are most at risk from being discriminated against, which could violate the 2012 Equality Act.

A legal case last year saw a single mother win compensation for discrimination from a lettings agency that refused to consider her as a tenant because she was on benefits.

She argued that the restriction indirectly discriminated against women, especially single women, because they are proportionately more likely to be claiming housing benefit than single men, according to official figures.

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