DSS tenant – everything you need to know
DSS tenant – it stands for the Department for Social Security, a government department that no longer exists in 2022. However, it’s a term that isn’t easily shaken off and is still used to describe tenants on benefits today. The odds are that if a landlord has ever looked for tenants, they would have received an application from a DSS tenant. Sadly, there’s a lot of controversy around DSS tenants, mainly because of the perceived added risk of benefits. And, although it’s discriminatory to refuse them, many still do. Here, we look at why DSS has been used as a weapon against tenants for so many years.
Landlords have used the term ‘no DSS’ as code for ‘unlikely to pay rent’ and openly display this on adverts. Also, research suggests that half of letting agents said they had no homes or landlords to take on a DSS tenant. On top of this, one in ten letting agents prohibits anyone claiming Housing Benefit from renting one of their properties.
What is a DSS tenant?
A DSS tenant is someone that receives ‘housing benefits’ from the council due to financial difficulties, typically due to unemployment, disability, and/or single-parent status. Essentially, the Government provides a monthly allowance for living expenses to those in need. The DSS has had a name change is now officially known as DWP (Department for Work and Pensions). From a landlord’s perspective, it’s essentially the same thing, it’s referring to tenant claimants receiving benefits due to financial difficulties.
Can anything be done to help?
The housing charity Shelter has a long-standing campaign against the DSS policy. They are campaigning against discrimination faced by renters who receive housing benefits when looking for a home. You can sign Shelter’s Stop DSS Discrimination petition.
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