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.”