Our Research and Campaigns volunteers have been looking into the subject of renting while receiving benefits.
Last year court rulings decided it was unlawful to deny someone rental accommodation because they were receiving benefits. See this blog post from Shelter: No DSS: Landmark Court ruling declares housing benefit discrimination is unlawful
However, our clients still report difficulties finding rental properties in Eastbourne and we are researching why this continues. During the lockdown, many people have had to claim Universal Credit for the first time when their job stopped unexpectedly or their working hours were reduced. This will mean that many more people are likely to have the same difficulties finding a place to live. .
The stigma attached to benefit claimants may be based on anecdotal reports from other landlords and can often be unfair. In terms of reliability of rent being paid, benefit claimants are at least guaranteed to receive regular income, whilst income from jobs has been subject to change.
This is a complex area and we want to understand this better in order to make recommendations of how things can change. We have recently contacted all letting agents in Eastbourne to gather their views. We'd also like to hear from anyone who's experienced difficulties finding accommodation or been refused because they receive benefits. Please send us your story with a phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org
As well as advising individuals, we campaign to improve the practices and policies which affect people's lives.