Q. I have a ‘No DSS’ policy mainly because my mortgage company has a clause forbidding me to rent to tenants on benefit. However, a young lady who wanted to rent my flat and who is in receipt of Universal Credit is now threatening to sue me unless I pay her £2,000 compensation for discrimination. Can she do this?
A. There has been a recent case where a tenant who as a single mother brought a claim against a letting agent as they refused to consider her application as she was on benefit. The basis of the claim was that a blanket ‘No DSS’ prohibition was discriminatory as it would impact disproportionately against single parent women as statistics show that they are more likely to be on benefit. So, such a prohibition (she claimed) is effectively discrimination against women which is unlawful.
However, being on benefit itself is not a ‘protected characteristic’ under discrimination law. Also, this case was settled (for £2,000 which is where your claimant gets her figure from). So as there is no legal decision it cannot be a legal precedent.