No DSS' letting bans 'ruled unlawful' by court

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    #31
    Even housing associations carry out an affordability test. One I am familiar with will not let to those for whom the rent constitutes more than 40 per cent of their total income. Unfortunately the result of this was that excluded nearly all non working single men.

    Anyway I shall continue not to let my properties to benefit claimants, many who cannot afford to heat a property properly in the winter and fail to properly maintain the interior to a decent standard because benefit levels are so low, not because they aren't perfectly decent people.

    Comment


      #32
      Originally posted by royw View Post
      So can we change 'no dss' to 'working person only'?
      It is easy enough to read between the lines, i would want to know what job they do and to see their last 3 wage slips....... a negative to both says all you need to know.

      Comment


        #33
        Originally posted by Jon66 View Post
        Anyway I shall continue not to let my properties to benefit claimants
        I think that many landlord's will do the same, but not advertise the fact. However, it will be interesting to see whether any prospective "benefits tenant" after viewing a property tries to bring a claim against a landlord under consumer rights legislation for failing to disclose material information at the outset.

        Comment


          #34
          The detailed ruling is now available (on Nearly Legal's blog).
          https://nearlylegal.co.uk/2020/07/di...on-and-no-dss/

          What was ruled illegal was a policy of not considering tenants on benefits (i.e. at all - there was no possibility of an individual review overcoming the policy).
          In this case the applicant was in receipt of benefits, was disabled and was employed.

          The reasons given are quite interesting (and are news to me - but, on reflection, probably should have been obvious).

          Sexual discrimination - "[A] No DSS policy puts or would put women at a particular disadvantage. 53.1% of female single-adult households renting privately claim Housing Benefit compared to 34% of male single- adult households. When households with couples are included, 18.8% of women renting privately claim Housing Benefit compared to 12.4% of men. This means that, in the private rented sector, using whichever of the two analyses set out above, women are more than 1.5 times as likely to rely on Housing Benefit, and thus be excluded by a No DSS policy, than men."

          Disability discrimination - "[A] no DSS policy puts or would put persons who are disabled at a particular disadvantage. 44.6% of households who claim DLA or SDA claim Housing Benefit compared to 15.1% of households who do not claim DLA or SDA. This means that, in the private rented sector, disabled households are almost three times as likely to rely on Housing Benefit, and thus be excluded by a No DSS policy, than non- disabled households."

          When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
          Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

          Comment


            #35
            Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
            The detailed ruling is now available (on Nearly Legal's blog).
            https://nearlylegal.co.uk/2020/07/di...on-and-no-dss/

            What was ruled illegal was a policy of not considering tenants on benefits (i.e. at all - there was no possibility of an individual review overcoming the policy).
            In this case the applicant was in receipt of benefits, was disabled and was employed.

            The reasons given are quite interesting (and are news to me - but, on reflection, probably should have been obvious).

            Sexual discrimination - "[A] No DSS policy puts or would put women at a particular disadvantage. 53.1% of female single-adult households renting privately claim Housing Benefit compared to 34% of male single- adult households. When households with couples are included, 18.8% of women renting privately claim Housing Benefit compared to 12.4% of men. This means that, in the private rented sector, using whichever of the two analyses set out above, women are more than 1.5 times as likely to rely on Housing Benefit, and thus be excluded by a No DSS policy, than men."

            Disability discrimination - "[A] no DSS policy puts or would put persons who are disabled at a particular disadvantage. 44.6% of households who claim DLA or SDA claim Housing Benefit compared to 15.1% of households who do not claim DLA or SDA. This means that, in the private rented sector, disabled households are almost three times as likely to rely on Housing Benefit, and thus be excluded by a No DSS policy, than non- disabled households."
            But how is that fundamentally different to "Able to pay the rent" - where people who fall into these categories are also 13775% more likely to be excluded by the policy.

            Comment


              #36
              Not being able to afford something isn't a protected characteristic.

              The agents were just bloody stupid (or decided to do something very odd) - they hadn't got a chance of winning.
              When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
              Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

              Comment


                #37
                Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                Not being able to afford something isn't a protected characteristic.

                The agents were just bloody stupid (or decided to do something very odd) - they hadn't got a chance of winning.
                No but neither is "DSS status" directly. This is just as indirect.

                Comment


                  #38
                  Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post

                  But how is that fundamentally different to "Able to pay the rent" - where people who fall into these categories are also 13775% more likely to be excluded by the policy.
                  Yes, that's basically what I was getting at in Post #7. Many things are correlated to protected characteristics, and therefore indirect discrimination.

                  Discriminating against people who cannot pay the rent would seem to be indirectly discriminating against e.g. people with disabilities. Hence I don't see how the logic used in this case can be workable.
                  There is a fine line between irony and stupidity. If I say something absurd please assume that I am being facetious.

                  Comment


                    #39
                    Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post
                    No but neither is "DSS status" directly. This is just as indirect.
                    That's the point, it's indirect discrimination, which isn't legal.

                    Originally posted by doobrey View Post
                    Discriminating against people who cannot pay the rent would seem to be indirectly discriminating against e.g. people with disabilities. Hence I don't see how the logic used in this case can be workable.
                    You can discriminate indirectly if it's "a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim".

                    Not renting to someone who can't afford it would be a legitimate aim.
                    Not even considering someone because they were on benefits isn't a legitimate aim, because you're not considering affordability, you're pre-judging that they can't as a policy.
                    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                    Comment


                      #40
                      I think there is a cross purposes conversation here.
                      But I cannot see any difference at all between

                      a) "DSS person" - goodbye - impacts a protected class of people more often > thus illegal

                      and

                      a) "Can't pay the rent" - goodbye - impacts a protected class of people more often > thus illegal

                      The logic is identical

                      You could even reverse your last sentence : Not even considering someone because have a low salary because that might mean they are on benefits isn't a legitimate aim, because you're pre-judging that they might be on benefits.

                      As @doobrey says -- they are just two things which happen to be correlated with a protected class status of which there are many ("Is not a lawyer", "Eats fish", "Drives a car", "smokes", "Has 5 children")

                      Comment


                        #41
                        Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post
                        But I cannot see any difference at all between

                        a) "DSS person" - goodbye - impacts a protected class of people more often > thus illegal
                        and
                        a) "Can't pay the rent" - goodbye - impacts a protected class of people more often > thus illegal
                        The logic is identical
                        I haven't quoted the complete legislation because it's quite long.

                        A is the person who discrimates against B.

                        a provision, criterion or practice is discriminatory in relation to a relevant protected characteristic of B's if—
                        (a)A applies, or would apply, it to persons with whom B does not share the characteristic,
                        (b)it puts, or would put, persons with whom B shares the characteristic at a particular disadvantage when compared with persons with whom B does not share it,
                        (c)it puts, or would put, B at that disadvantage, and
                        (d)A cannot show it to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
                        So the logic is not identical.

                        A complete bar on applications from people receiving benefits:
                        Hopeful tenant (B)'s characteristic is both sex and disability.
                        The agency (A) apply an identical process to everyone - all benefits recipients are excluded.
                        Person B is at a particular disadvantage because the two characteristics make her more likely to be excluded than those who don't share those characteristics.
                        B is put at a disadvantage and A can't show it's a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

                        Not even considering someone individually because of their membership of the class can't be proportionate.

                        Applying a different test, not letting to people who can't afford to pay the rent?
                        Hopeful tenant (B)'s characteristic is both sex and disability.
                        The agency (A) apply an identical process to everyone - all people who can't afford to pay the rent are excluded.
                        Person B is at a particular disadvantage because (I think it's reasonable to accept that) the two characteristics make her more likely to be excluded than those who don't share those characteristics.
                        B is put at a disadvantage, but A can show it's a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

                        Being paid for a service is a legitimate aim and all prospective customers being tested to see if they can pay, so it's a proportionate act.
                        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                        Comment


                          #42
                          Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                          The detailed ruling is now available ...
                          Thanks for posting JPK.

                          It seems that a small letting agent effectively just put their hands up and pleaded guilty for a lenient sentence when faced with a massive opposition after they had put themselves in a daft position.

                          The edited judgement decides very little.

                          It certainly does nothing to improve things for DSS tenants.

                          Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                          The agents were just bloody stupid (or decided to do something very odd) - they hadn't got a chance of winning.


                          All seems very odd to me too.

                          Comment


                            #43
                            Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post
                            I cannot see any difference at all between

                            a) "DSS person" - goodbye - impacts a protected class of people more often > thus illegal

                            and

                            a) "Can't pay the rent" - goodbye - impacts a protected class of people more often > thus illegal

                            The logic is identical
                            Based on the "proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim" this now makes sense to me. The difference is that "can't pay the rent" clearly puts the LL at risk whereas "in receipt of benefit" doesn't necessarily.
                            There is a fine line between irony and stupidity. If I say something absurd please assume that I am being facetious.

                            Comment


                              #44
                              As the ruling was made on the case of sex and disability discrimination it should still be ok to ban able bodied men in receipt of benefits.

                              Comment


                                #45
                                Originally posted by doobrey View Post

                                Based on the "proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim" this now makes sense to me. The difference is that "can't pay the rent" clearly puts the LL at risk whereas "in receipt of benefit" doesn't necessarily.
                                But this presupposes a lot. The only way the logic makes any sense is if it is assumed that the "legitimate aim" is to select tenants who cannot afford to pay. Since receipt of benefits does not always amply the latter - ergo it is discriminatory.

                                But I am afraid that logic is a nonsense. Who says the legitimate goal is affordability. The person who advertised ""DSS only"" did not actually say that (or might not say that). The legitimate goal might be to not want "DSS" in and of itself (for all sorts of reasons or for no reason at all apart from that in itself). "DSS" is not a protected class -- so that fails. "DSS" selecting for a "protected class" also fails -- because so does bank-balance select for that class.

                                Still makes no sense.

                                Comment

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