Richmond Council is joining forces with Citizens Advice Richmond to help stop discrimination against renters who receive benefits.
Every year large numbers of residents are unfairly locked out of the private rental market for homes simply because they receive some benefits to pay towards their housing costs.
Research by Citizens Advice Richmond shows that many landlords and letting agents refuse to consider tenants as soon as they discover that they receive benefits. Residents are often confronted with a blanket ‘No DSS’ (Department for Social Security), ‘No Universal Credit’ or ‘No Benefits’ policy even when they can demonstrate they can afford the monthly rent. This is unlawful.
The joint campaign to End Benefit Prejudice against renters launches today, Thursday 10 February 2022, and aims to raise awareness that any policy that automatically outlaws benefit claimants discriminates and is unlawful. The campaign will run until the end of March 2022.
More than four in ten Richmond residents who receive benefits are working.
‘No Benefits’ discrimination forces many residents to remain in unsuitable and unsafe accommodation and can lead to homelessness in the borough.
Lorna Reid, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Richmond said:
“We know that long-standing myths about tenants receiving benefits are standing in the way of Richmond residents accessing the homes they need and can afford. We are calling on landlords and their letting agents to keep an open mind and treat all prospective renters fairly,”.
“Too many local people come to us unaware that the barriers they face finding a safe and suitable home are discriminatory and unlawful. This campaign will share stories of good tenants, with regular, reliable income who can afford the rent being asked and will pay on time and show landlords there is no reason to discriminate.”
Cllr Jim Millard, Richmond Council’s Spokesperson for Housing, said:
“All residents need fair and equal opportunities to rent local homes. Most people receiving benefits are good tenants. We are calling on landlords to assess tenants’ ability to pay as fairly as possible and to avoid discriminating against them.”