Rightmove asks for ‘conversation’ with housing minister over ‘No DSS’ listings

Rightmove has asked for a “conversation” with the Ministry of Housing about ‘No DSS’ lettings listings.

The portal is concerned that while the ministry has called for an end to all ‘No DSS’ advertisements, the Competition and Markets Authority guidance is that all ‘material information’ should be communicated in listings.

‘Material information’ includes having to disclose any restrictions on the type of tenant, such as housing benefit claimants.

Zoopla has said it will be banning ‘No DSS’ adverts, and amending its property software so that the option cannot be selected.

Rightmove has now written to its letting agent members saying that they can still explain that there are restrictions on certain tenants, but asking them to review their listings.

In an email sent out yesterday to its agents, Rightmove says: “’No DSS’ is an old term which many tenants don’t understand as the DSS was replaced in 2001, and so should not be used.” It adds:

  • Agents should not impose blanket bans on tenants on housing benefit. If a landlord has a restriction that prevents them from letting to a person receiving benefits, the reason for the restriction should be included in the description of the listing. This could be by using a phrase such as ‘Unfortunately no housing benefit claimants can be considered due to a restriction in the landlord’s mortgage term’.
  • You can let your landlords know that in recent months some mortgage lenders, including NatWest, Nationwide and the Cooperative Bank, have announced changes to their policies and no longer restrict landlords in their mortgage terms.

The letter asks agents to review their Rightmove listings by the end of this month, saying: “We realise this is additional work for you, but we want you to avoid any possibility of breaching the regulations.

“To help, from May we will be introducing technology that will automatically strip out terms such as ‘No DSS’ from listings.”

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6 Comments

  1. Will2

    Exactly what are the “regulations” They are referring to? Perhaps Right move can clarify?

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  2. TheLettingsGuy

    The point is to stop agents having blanket bans on Housing Benefit tenants. However, if a landlord is unable to let to Housing Benefit claimants because of insurance / mortgage terms etc then that is acceptable and the property should be advertised as such. IE it should be on a case by case basis.

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  3. TeamAdvance

    This whole situation is ludicrous, many of our landlords would be happy to accept  tenants claiming benefits, but the problem is the Local Housing Allowance or Universal Credit is not enough to cover the rents, therefore the applicant will fail references unless they have a working guarantor and not all tenants are able to find suitable guarantors.  Why would a landlord accept a tenant who cannot afford the rent!!

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  4. 1TB

    Wow, for once I completely agree with Rightmove.  Banning the mention of, basically no people on benefits is just completely unrealistic to much of the letting market.

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  5. Property Poke In The Eye

    The bottom line is 99.9% of people on benefits will not pass the referencing procedure and 99.9% of people don’t want to by their guarantor either, if they were their guarantor then 99.9% of Guarantors will not pass the referencing procedure either as they will have a mortgage and their own expenses.

    All that agents need to do is make it clear on their description that any tenant(s) needs to be earning at least 2.5 times the annual rental as a full time employee.  That alone will cut away 99.9% of the waste of time (WOT) applicants.

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  6. HIT MAN

    Conspiracy theory! Is it because the government don’t want to accept that the laws like tenant fee ban and abolishing section 21 will have an effect on the housing market. By banning NO DSS ads they may say that the measures they have taken has had no effect on tenants in fact they may say it has improved the situation, Manipulating data!

     

     

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