The Government has revealed plans to investigate letting adverts that potentially discriminate against would-be tenants on Housing Benefit.
Rental property advertisements which discriminate against people who rely on housing benefit could be outlawed(Image: Getty)
Landlords could finally be banned from rejecting benefit claimants, the Government has announced.
In a statement today, the ministry for housing said it will investigate agents and homeowners that automatically block those who qualify for Universal Credit and Housing benefit.
It comes after a report in November found one in 10 landlords and letting agents actively block people who receive financial support - of which there are 889,000 in the UK.
The National Housing Federation (NHF) and charity Shelter found of 86,000 letting agent adverts at the time, at least 8,710 adverts contained disclaimers such as 'no DSS' or 'no housing benefit'.
'No DSS' stands for 'no Department for Social Security' and refers to those to rely on the welfare state.
Announcing the investigation, MPs said around half of landlords are currently not willing to let a property to tenants on housing benefit.
This may also include vulnerable people with disabilities which could be against the law(Image: Getty)
On Friday, housing minister Heather Wheeler announced plans to look at "no DSS" or "no housing benefit" adverts as part of an effort to create a fairer housing market.
She warned that if the sector was unwilling to take action then the Government would "explore all options to remove this practice".
Wheeler, who also confirmed that £19.5 million would be provided to local authorities to help people access a home in the private rented sector, said: "I will be meeting key stakeholders to tackle 'no DSS' advertisements. If the sector is unwilling to take action, the Government will then explore all options to remove this practice."
Department for Work and Pensions Minister Justin Tomlinson added: "Everyone should have the same opportunity when looking for a home, regardless of whether they are in receipt of benefits.
Universal Credit to be taken from claimants and handed to landlords directly
"With Universal Credit , payments can be paid directly to the landlord, and we continue to listen to feedback and work with landlords to improve the system."
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: "It's good the Government has recognised the burning injustice of 'No DSS' and the wall of prejudice that stops hundreds of thousands of renters from even getting a foot in the door.
"We hear from families - who've always paid their rent - at their wits' end after being repeatedly shut out just because they need some housing benefit.
"I hope this announcement will send a powerful message to those letting agents, lenders and landlords who still think discriminatory bans are acceptable - that these outdated practices must end.
"We look forward to working with the Government to make sure that from now on people are treated fairly on a case-by-case basis."