A case heard at York County Court on 1st July 2020 has ruled under the Equality Act 2010 with regard to tenant applications on benefits. This being the first case ever heard by a UK court overseeing the discrimination of tenants receiving housing benefit and landlords rejecting tenancy applications because the applicant is in receipt of housing benefit was said to be discriminative on the grounds of sex and disability.
Letting agents and landlords are no longer to deny tenants that are in receipt of state benefits. Even though some landlords have kept their ban in place.
The case going back to November 2018, is the first case overseeing the discrimination of tenants receiving housing benefit.
The single mother was denied a viewing on a property as she received housing benefits which made the women homeless and was forced to move into a hostel with her children.
The judge awarded the letting agent to pay the claimant £3,500 in damages and pay the legal costs.
Shelter has warned letting agents and landlords they will be at legal risk of action if they continue to stop prospective housing benefit tenants from renting.
Also backing the ruling is the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), Chris Norris NRLA policy director said “No landlord should discriminate against tenants that are on benefits, every tenants’ circumstances are different and should be treated case by case on their suitability”.
Landlords and tenants are both wide open on this but what if the tenant does not pay rent after they have received their benefits. The government could also support this work by ensuring benefits cover rents entirely and convert the loans to cover the 5 weeks wait for the first payment of Universal Credit into grants or deposit directly with landlords which they used to.