OpenRent Community

Missleading advertisement on Openrent (DSS)

Hi world,

I wish everyone reading this well on this sunny bank holiday weekend.

So, my ex-partner is looking for two bedroom property in London, she works part-time so she has to relay on housing benefit to top-up her rent.

We’ve been searching for two bedroom properties (for her and my 1 year old) that accept DSS on Openrent.

It’s been frustrating because whenever we come across a property that we think will be suitable and is listed as accepting DSS, we get the following…

“Oh, I’m really sorry, we’re looking for tenants who are not on dss”.

“Oh, I was really hoping to find a tenant who’s in fulltime employment and can afford to pay the rent in full”

“Can I think about it because I want to find someone in fulltime employment and can pay the whole rent, I’m sorry”

I get that these landlords think people who rely on housing benefit are at the bottom of the pile but surely this is not right and they should stop stating that they accept DSS on Openrent or anywhere else.

Landlords if they have a dss tenant are not paid directly. They are paid in arrears. Only paid after 12 weeks or so have passed . Its hassle. On my open rent I am quite clear who I will and will not accept. Thus I totally get where you are coming from

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When viewed from the perspective of the person looking for somewhere to live the whole situation regarding ‘dss’ must be immensely frustrating at best.

To some extent some landlords hands will be tied, by mortgage company requirements and building insurance too. However not all properties are mortgaged and the buildings insurance ‘problem’ can be fixed by increasing the premium (if you can influence the policy such as if you own or share the freehold). So I feel some, but certainly not all, landlords hide behind those excuses.

From a landlords perspective, in a market where there are plenty of other choices, choosing someone where there is an added risk of rental income being disrupted because of the vaguaries of the benefit system, then the easy choice is to say no.

I try to take a more nuanced approach, which I think is consistent with my mortgage company restrictions, in being happy to rent to people who are on low income that is being topped up by the benefit system. I take the view that we unfortunately live in a society of low paid, zero hour contract work where companies have outsouced the risk of ups and downs in their workload to the people who do these jobs, and life in that kind of situation can be very hard. So I believe most people in receipt of benefits are not scroungers or trouble makers, most are hard working decent people trying to make ends meet, and they deserve a secure home to live in.

Renting to people is a process of risk management, trying to filter out those you think you can trust. I’m increasingly erring on the side of tenants on low income who can provide an employer reference to give me some comfort. Plus I’ve had long standing tenants drift between periods of employment and unemployment and there has been some disruption to rental payments at times, but all of that has been managed because I have good relationships with my tenants.

At the end of the day, I just think it is the right thing to do.

Thanks to @Colin3 and @Steve1’s replies which illustrate the kind of considerations landlords have when deciding whether they are able to advertise ‘DSS Accepted’. I think it’s helpful for tenants to gain this perspective via the Community.

@Ali_M was also asking about landlords who have ticked ‘DSS Accepted’ but then turned out not to be looking to let to tenants on benefits. This is a misuse of the search criteria Ali, so thanks for reporting it. Landlords should advertise their properties transparently on OpenRent, and not select any criteria (e.g. DSS, Students, etc.) if they do not mean it.

Tenants who find inaccurately described adverts on OpenRent can report them very quickly by clicking the ‘report listing’ button on the advert. Our team will then get in touch with the landlord.

A final thought on this is that landlords may be willing to let to a group, but also be happy to wait around in the market for a bit longer to get as much interest as possible and then choose the tenants they would prefer. This is frustrating for tenants (it has happened to me), but the landlord is within their rights to do this, just as a tenant is free to wait until the right property comes along instead of having to choose the first suitable one.

Sam

I think it’s unfair that landlords assume that people on benefits are likely to spend the rent money on other stuff. Have they not heard of direct debt? That is how I pay my rent. The rent money goes out of my account straight into my landlords the day after I get my benefits.
Jonathan.

Direct debits can be cancelled by the tenant as easy as pie. I had one tenant years ago who started off employed then went on dss and I was paid direct. One day he said to me " good job you get the rent direct or I would spend it on somthing else" From then on guess what, no dss for me. My property I say who goes in it

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I get housing benefit top up on my rent and have never once missed paying my rent or paid it late. Just because people get help with their rent doesn’t mean they won’t pay it as they should. At the end of the day don’t judge everybody by one idiots silly remark. I as a single mother would never miss my rent as I would never risk loosing mine and my children’s home. Don’t assume that because we get help with our rent that we can’t get our priorities right

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