Taking ‘no DSS’ landlords to court was a real social service | Rebecca Nicholson

Rosie Keogh’s sex discrimination victory inspires all of us who struggle to find a place to rent

After paying her rent in full and on time in the same place for 11 years, Rosie Keogh found herself unable to rent a new property in Birmingham when a lettings agent discovered she was receiving housing benefit and rejected her application. Keogh, a cleaner, former legal worker and modern-day hero, took the agency to court and won an out-of-court settlement of £2,000, after arguing that the ban on benefits indirectly discriminated against women, who are more likely to be claimants as they are more likely to be caring for children.

I have relatively few responsibilities, a decent enough income, no dependents, and my experience of the private rental market over 15 years has been around 20% fine, 10% good and 70% hellish. I can only imagine the added complication of facing the cruel and now potentially discriminatory “no DSS” rule. According to Shelter, almost half of all private landlords have an outright ban on letting to people on benefits.

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