Caritas Anchor House

Working at the heart of homelessness

Court ruling declares housing benefit discrimination unlawful

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Court ruling declares housing benefit discrimination unlawful

23rd July 2020
Hundreds of thousands of renters have faced discrimination when looking for a home - blocked from properties they could otherwise afford simply because they receive housing benefit. 

But last week, a landmark court ruling declared housing benefit discrimination unlawful, putting an end to 'no DSS, 'no benefits' or 'no Universal Credit' policies.

The court case featured a single mother who was refused a tenancy because of her housing benefit, despite having a professional guarantor and excellent references.

For many residents who are ready to move on from Caritas Anchor House, this ruling will provide a huge confidence boost as they seek new accommodation in the private rental sector. It will ensure that they have fair access to the market and can have their offers considered on their own merits, not their benefit status.

One of these residents is Lesley, who is hoping to move on this summer after two years at Caritas Anchor House. She hopes that the new ruling will widen the net of properties available to her, particularly as Newham does not have enough council housing to meet the demand. “I think it needed to be changed because without the private landlords, what have we got?” she said. “If we can pay the rent, we should have the opportunity to get a home in the private sector. We need somewhere to live!”

The ruling has also been welcomed by staff at Caritas Anchor House. Megan Stewart, Assessment Hub Team Manager, says “This is an excellent ruling and a long time coming. Now the Government must act to ensure that Housing Benefit covers rent payments to continue the great work that has been done during the COVID-19 crisis.”

Amanda Dubarry, CEO, also praised the ruling. “This is a breakthrough moment for the sector which we hope will mark an end to policies that unfairly discriminate against people experiencing homelessness. We welcome the decision and look forward to seeing many in our community finally gain an equal chance to access housing."

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