1 in 10 property ads illegally discriminate

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At least 10% of adverts for rental properties in England are likely to discriminate unlawfully against people on housing benefit, a study has revealed.

Analysis of around 86,000 letting ads on Zoopla by homelessness charity Shelter and the National Housing Federation (NHF) found 8,710 that stated ‘no DSS’ or ‘no housing benefit’.

And the picture is actually worse than it appears. Some ads don’t explicitly discriminate against benefit claimants but imply so with sly phrases like ‘professionals only’.

The researchers have said that the illegal practice is not unique to Zoopla, with previous analysis revealing discriminatory ads on the likes of RightMove, SpareRoom.com and OpenRent.

Polly Neate, Shelter’s CEO, said: ‘It’s staggering to see this discrimination laid out in black and white – and brazenly enforced by letting agents, landlords and online property websites. ‘No DSS’ is outdated, offensive and causing misery for thousands.

‘Not only is ‘No DSS’ grossly unfair, it is likely to be unlawful because it overwhelming affects women and disabled people. That’s why we need the lettings industry to stop blaming each other, accept its role in this shocking practice and clean up its act.’

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