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Lettings news: ‘No DSS’ policy equals discrimination!

A York District Judge has concluded that ‘No DSS’ rental bans are against equality laws. ‘No DSS’ means Department of Social Services tenants cannot rent a specific property.

The York County Court has recently made a ruling in what is being hailed as the first ‘No DSS’ discrimination case. The practice (and in some cases policy) of refusing to rent homes to those in receipt of housing benefit has now been ruled unlawful by District Judge Mark.

1 July 2020 marks a momentous step for those who have campaigned against these policies which can often prevent tenants from securing rental accommodation.

The District Judge ruled that “Rejecting tenancy applications because the applicant is in receipt of housing benefit was unlawfully discriminating on the grounds of sex and disability.” These practices will therefore be deemed contrary to the Equality Act 2010.

Whilst some would argue more work needs to be done to abolish the ‘No DSS’ policies, this is certainly a breakthrough and a warning to Letting agencies and Landlords to think carefully before rejecting applications on ‘No DSS’ grounds.

The message is clear and strong - prospective tenants must be treated fairly and housing benefits can no longer be seen as a reason to refuse an application for rental accommodation. Those who choose to ignore this ruling and the new guidance could face legal action with significant costs consequences – be warned and obtain advice if you are unsure.

For more information and advice, please contact our Lettings team on 0113 264 2642 or email

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Helen Jolly

Written by

Helen Jolly

Director (Lettings)

With a BSc in Estate Management, Helen has over 20 years’ experience in residential lettings and property management, from individual houses to property portfolios.

She set up Emsleys Estate Agents’ Lettings Service in 2007 and is responsible for assisting aspiring landlords or those with single or multiple properties to rent.