DSS: The new Blacks and Irish?
Virtually every advertisement for property to let ends with the clause: NO DSS. (It should be: NO DWP, as the Department for Social Security has long been called The Department for Work and Pensions, but that is being pedantic.) The point is: If you can’t work, for any reason, you can’t live in my house.
I remember the signs when I was a boy that stated No Blacks, No Irish. And my grandmother telling me that in her days it was: No Jews. Anti racial legislation inadvertently put paid to landlords openly displaying their prejudice against people they saw as dirty, lazy, non paying scum.
Okay, I see that one should be entitled to try and ensure that a potential tenant is clean, trustworthy, and will not abuse ones property, but to automatically exclude all persons on the grounds that they are in receipt of welfare payments is just as wrong as assuming all prospective Black, Irish and Jewish tenants are disreputable.
I delved deeper into the reasons why this could be. The most common excuse given is basically: Fear the landlord will not get his money. That sounds reasonable to me. But also in some experiences, “All dole scroungers are #*@% junkies."
My naive astuteness suggests that no one in the chain is willing to do a little more work.
The departments responsible for making rent payments no longer want to undertake the effort of paying the landlord direct. They use the warped reasoning, “It abuses the claimants’ human dignity and makes them less responsible for their own finances.” No it doesn’t. It means the landlord is no longer guaranteed his rent.
The letting agencies do not want the extra work to justify their fees by ensuring that benefit claimants are indeed ‘responsible for their own finances’.
And the landlord is too lazy to undertake his own vetting and would rather hand over the task to unscrupulous, even lazier agents.
It all looks to be a mess, with property values on the rise, homelessness increasing, and government departments unwilling to do anything about it. That’s a pity because I can’t see as it should be like this at all.
In the meantime, I’m now looking to live somewhere other than England; where the full rent is less than the ‘top up’ I’d be expected to meet in the UK. A two bedroom detached house overlooking the sea on a Greek Island: 300 Euros a month. Vs. Poxy one room flat share in London: 300 pounds a week. No contest!