Court brands ‘no benefits’ rule by landlords illegal in disabled dad’s landmark case

A disabled dad suffered unfair discrimination when he was made homeless because a landlord did not accept people who receive state benefits.

The ‘no benefits’ rule meant Stephen Tyler was banned from viewing properties advertised by a Birmingham estate agent, purely on the grounds of receiving housing benefit.

Mr Tyler, 29, had been involved in a road accident in 2016. He was made homeless because of the estate agent’s “no benefits” rule.

Birmingham County Court ruled that the estate agent had breached the Equality Act because the rule disproportionally affects disabled people, who are more likely to need some support with paying their rent.

Judge Mary Stacey ruled that: “There is no doubt that there was a blanket policy that no one in receipt of housing benefit would be considered for the three properties. It put the claimant and other disabled people at a particular disadvantage when compared to others.

“To be told simply, because of his benefit status, that he could not apply for three properties which were perfectly located for his children’s school, his GP and health needs, and extended family support, […] would be distressing.

But “no benefits” discrimination is still going on (sometimes it is called “no DSS”, in reference to the former government department responsible for benefits.

This case was brought with help from homelessness charity Shelter, which has vowed to keep campaigning until the discrimination is completely stamped out.

Source: Disabled dad wins high court battle after estate agent banned him for claiming benefits – Mirror Online

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  1. kateuk September 10, 2020 at 6:16 pm - Reply

    It doesn’t matter what the law says, people on benefits will always be discriminated against. The law made discrimination on the grounds of gender illegal years ago, and women STILL get paid less than men and passed over for promotion. Many companies would rather promote a tea boy than a woman. So what makes anyone think this law will work?

  2. Loony September 10, 2020 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    The excuse used round here is “it’s against the terms of the landlord’s mortgage to accept housing benefits”
    This ruling is great, although should never have been needed in the first place.
    How will it help, when letting agents and landlords who manage their properties themselves, lay the blame at the door of the mortgage lenders as the blanket policy for not accepting benefits?
    Maybe this needs to go further and prevent lenders stipulating no benefit claimants in the T&Cs of buy to let mortgages? Or even Shelter look into it and see if it is actually a clause OR a way of discriminating without being as brazen as “no DSS”?

  3. Dan September 12, 2020 at 12:23 am - Reply

    Of course, if Housing Benefit had been left in the care of local councils and paid directly to landlords instead of being rolled up into Universal Cruelty – thus becoming at risk of arbitrary sanctions – and paid to tenants once in a blue moon after an open ended delay, there would be less of an incentive for such discrimination.

    I’m no fan of landlords but really you’d be mad to let to someone who could so easily spend the rent money on some other necessity or never receive the money at all on the whim of some DWP bureaucrat.

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