As ARLA Propertymark members we take our role as a Letting Agent seriously. There have been press reports about the battle against the discriminatory practice of landlords not renting to benefit claimants and there have so far been legal victories by two single mothers.
Amanda Staples and Emma Loffler both won out-of-court settlements against “No DSS” letting agents, on the grounds of indirect discrimination.
In a 2018 case backed by charity Shelter, it was successfully argued blanket bans on claimants indirectly discriminated against women and disabled people who are more likely to be on benefits. The case came about because different letting agents had refused point blank to show them properties. Shelter took on their legal cases when the agents refused to budge.
The person had offered to pay six months’ rent up-front, and then 12 months’ after an offer of a loan from her father, but the letting agent kept saying the landlord’s insurance did not cover tenants on benefits.
With Shelter backing their legal action, the letting agent ultimately agreed to write a public letter of apology and to pay £3,000 compensation and the £10,000 legal costs.
The agent in Ms Loffler’s case, meanwhile, also issued a public letter of apology and paid £3,500 compensation and £2,500 towards legal costs.
Agents and landlords could now face fines of about £5,000 per advert based on the three payouts made in cases so far so we take this seriously. Anyone wishing to view or apply for one of the properties we market will be looked at on a case by case basis and we will automatically seek the Landlords instruction on if they wish to proceed with the application.
We work very closely with FLS tenant referencing, who are also based here in Canterbury and have a straightforward approach to customer care, service and support – essentially we treat our customers as we would like to be treated ourselves. Anybody who applies for a property with Sally Hatcher Estates will be looked at based upon their individual circumstances.
It should be noted that the law currently only applies to the advertising of properties and Landlords are under no obligation to accept applications from people in recent of benefits. We do however, recommend that Landlords take a close look at any mortgage or insurance policy they have to ensure there are no restrictions in us renting to people in receipt of benefits by a Third Party.