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UK Judge Rules 'No DSS' as Discrimination

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SD_Film Artists
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UK Judge Rules 'No DSS' as Discrimination

Postby SD_Film Artists » Tue Jul 14, 2020 2:40 pm

A court has ruled the blanket rejection of DSS (government benefits) tenants by landlords to be discriminatory and thus unlawful.

In her ruling, Judge Victoria Elizabeth Mark said that “rejecting tenancy applications because the applicant is in receipt of housing benefit was unlawfully indirectly discriminatory on the grounds of sex and disability, contrary to […] the Equality Act 2010”.

The ruling was welcomed by the housing charity Shelter as a “nail in the coffin” of the No DSS rule – an archaic reference to the former Department for Social Security – used by some landlords to describe the vetting of a class of tenants they regard as unsuitable.

Rose Arnall, the Shelter solicitor who fought the case, said: “It finally clarifies that discriminating against people in need of housing benefits is not just morally wrong, it is against the law.”


https://www.theguardian.com/society/202 ... ngs-agency

Overall I support this ruling as I remember being an unemployed prospective tenant being looked down upon due to my circumstances despite not technically being 'DSS'. I was given the option of paying several months' worth of rent in advance, which I was easily capable of paying with a combination of savings and a teaching grant yet I still walked out of the letting agent as I refused to deal with their snobbery.

On the other hand, I have heard that some landlords aren't judging the person but instead judging the system; as landlords they need the rent to be on time and the government benefits system is notoriously fickle and bureaucratic. Accepting a DSS tenant means accepting the unreliability of the benefits system.

While this is a good ruling by the court, I think it would be better for both parties if benefit payments are given on time so that the core problem isn't there in the first place.

Do you think that the court ruling is justified?
Last edited by SD_Film Artists on Tue Jul 14, 2020 2:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Rojava Free State » Tue Jul 14, 2020 2:47 pm

Class discrimination is wrong and I welcome any ruling that puts a stop to it.
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Postby Punished UMN » Tue Jul 14, 2020 3:05 pm

While it's good in principle, anti-discrimination laws don't really work (as in, they don't function as their enforcement mechanisms are very unreliable), unfortunately.
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Postby SD_Film Artists » Wed Jul 15, 2020 2:35 am

Punished UMN wrote:While it's good in principle, anti-discrimination laws don't really work (as in, they don't function as their enforcement mechanisms are very unreliable), unfortunately.


As it's 'case law' rather than a dedicated act of parlement, it would be interesting to see if this puts an immediate stop to all 'no DSS' adverts or if it merely makes it easier for cases to be taken to court.
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When anybody preaches disunity, tries to pit one of us against each other through class warfare, race hatred, or religious intolerance, you know that person seeks to rob us of our freedom and destroy our very lives.


Charlie Brooker wrote:It's spider season. Every year, right about now, thousands of the godless eight-legged bastards emerge from the bowels of hell (or the garden, whichever's nearest) with the sole intention of tormenting humankind. Spider season is like a live-action version of the videogame Doom.

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Postby An Alan Smithee Nation » Wed Jul 15, 2020 2:38 am

About time too.
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Postby -SARS- » Wed Jul 15, 2020 3:00 am

I can see how that rule would be a big problem for disabled people. So the court's decision makes sense.
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Postby Ethel mermania » Wed Jul 15, 2020 8:41 am

The uk is very different than the states in this regard. So I cant claim a good understanding of the issue.

Does this mean landlord cant use ability to pay in deciding whether to rent an apt?
Last edited by Ethel mermania on Wed Jul 15, 2020 8:42 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby SD_Film Artists » Wed Jul 15, 2020 10:42 am

Ethel mermania wrote:The uk is very different than the states in this regard. So I cant claim a good understanding of the issue.

Does this mean landlord cant use ability to pay in deciding whether to rent an apt?


I'm not an expert either but I think the ability to pay is still legitimate grounds to reject a tenancy contract but it cannot be explicitly advertised as 'no DSS' and it also cannot be rejected simply on the landlord's prejudice against state benefits. Or in other words they can still reject the tenant but it has to be for a bigger reason than 'but they're on benefits'.
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When anybody preaches disunity, tries to pit one of us against each other through class warfare, race hatred, or religious intolerance, you know that person seeks to rob us of our freedom and destroy our very lives.


Charlie Brooker wrote:It's spider season. Every year, right about now, thousands of the godless eight-legged bastards emerge from the bowels of hell (or the garden, whichever's nearest) with the sole intention of tormenting humankind. Spider season is like a live-action version of the videogame Doom.

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Postby Ethel mermania » Wed Jul 15, 2020 10:47 am

SD_Film Artists wrote:
Ethel mermania wrote:The uk is very different than the states in this regard. So I cant claim a good understanding of the issue.

Does this mean landlord cant use ability to pay in deciding whether to rent an apt?


I'm not an expert either but I think the ability to pay is still legitimate grounds to reject a tenancy contract but it cannot be explicitly advertised as 'no DSS' and it also cannot be rejected simply on the landlord's prejudice against state benefits. Or in other words they can still reject the tenant but it has to be for a bigger reason than 'but they're on benefits'.

That sounds reasonable, thanks.
The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion … but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact; non-Westerners never do.

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Postby LimaUniformNovemberAlpha » Wed Jul 15, 2020 4:21 pm

Personally, I'm all for helping the unemployed get housing. How the hell are they supposed to "go where the jobs are" if they can't find anywhere to live "where the jobs are" first?

That said, it does strike me as somewhat dicey to call this "discrimination," seeing as how accepting government help isn't something you're born with like race or sex but a decision you made. If that's "discrimination," then how isn't it "discrimination" for a private company to fire employees who decide to express unpopular views?
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3. Xi Jinping and his cronies are not Communists, as they have shown absolutely zero interest in achieving Communism.

How do we know this? Because the first step toward Communism is Socialism, and none of the aforementioned are even remotely Socialist in any way, shape, or form.

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Postby Salandriagado » Wed Jul 15, 2020 4:32 pm

Ethel mermania wrote:The uk is very different than the states in this regard. So I cant claim a good understanding of the issue.

Does this mean landlord cant use ability to pay in deciding whether to rent an apt?


Not at all. It just means that they can't operate blanket policies of rejecting everybody who is receiving benefits. Said policies never had any justification other than ridiculous "they will trash the flat" bullshit (case in point: I was once rejected for a flat when willing and able to pay the full year's rent up front by such a policy).
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Salandriagado wrote:
Notice that the link is to the notes from a university course on probability. You clearly have nothing beyond the most absurdly simplistic understanding of the subject.
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Postby Salandriagado » Wed Jul 15, 2020 4:35 pm

LimaUniformNovemberAlpha wrote:Personally, I'm all for helping the unemployed get housing. How the hell are they supposed to "go where the jobs are" if they can't find anywhere to live "where the jobs are" first?

That said, it does strike me as somewhat dicey to call this "discrimination," seeing as how accepting government help isn't something you're born with like race or sex but a decision you made. If that's "discrimination," then how isn't it "discrimination" for a private company to fire employees who decide to express unpopular views?


What matters is the effect, rather than just the surface-level text. The fact is that, for example, disabled people are vastly more likely to be in receipt of such benefits (in particular, there are specific benefits for disabled people. Thus, such a policy discriminates against the disabled, despite not having the word "disabled" anywhere in the text.
Cosara wrote:
Anachronous Rex wrote:Good thing most a majority of people aren't so small-minded, and frightened of other's sexuality.

Over 40% (including me), are, so I fixed the post for accuracy.

Vilatania wrote:
Salandriagado wrote:
Notice that the link is to the notes from a university course on probability. You clearly have nothing beyond the most absurdly simplistic understanding of the subject.
By choosing 1, you no longer have 0 probability of choosing 1. End of subject.

(read up the quote stack)

Deal. £3000 do?[/quote]

Of course.[/quote]

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LimaUniformNovemberAlpha
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Postby LimaUniformNovemberAlpha » Wed Jul 15, 2020 9:50 pm

Salandriagado wrote:What matters is the effect, rather than just the surface-level text.

By that logic, attempted murder wouldn't be a crime because the effect wasn't getting someone killed.


Salandriagado wrote:The fact is that, for example, disabled people are vastly more likely to be in receipt of such benefits

Does that make food and drink restrictions discrimination, given the various medical emergencies that can become life-threatening unless specific food and drink are used to treat them? Or is private property not obligated to accommodate such medical conditions, so long as they have the rule specifically outlined in plain text on the front door of such property, and the implicit but unstated assumption that people with such conditions enter at their own risk? Because I've certainly dealt with such private properties in my life.

(Then again, I've seen ones that do so without such a warning on the front door and get away with it, even though it by rights should constitute reckless endangerment, so I'm not sure how much of that has to do with property-rights philosophy and how much of it has to do with people who don't care whether disabled people live or die.)


Salandriagado wrote:Thus, such a policy discriminates against the disabled, despite not having the word "disabled" anywhere in the text.

But regardless of the circumstances that led to someone accepting welfare payments, is it not, at the end of the day, still a decision someone makes under those circumstances?

. . .

Come to think of it, does this notion warrant its own thread, or is it best dealt with here?
Last edited by LimaUniformNovemberAlpha on Wed Jul 15, 2020 9:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Trollzyn the Infinite wrote:1. The PRC is not a Communist State, as it has shown absolutely zero interest in achieving Communism.
2. The CCP is not a Communist Party, as it has shown absolutely zero interest in achieving Communism.
3. Xi Jinping and his cronies are not Communists, as they have shown absolutely zero interest in achieving Communism.

How do we know this? Because the first step toward Communism is Socialism, and none of the aforementioned are even remotely Socialist in any way, shape, or form.

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Postby An Alan Smithee Nation » Thu Jul 16, 2020 12:50 am

Ethel mermania wrote:The uk is very different than the states in this regard. So I cant claim a good understanding of the issue.

Does this mean landlord cant use ability to pay in deciding whether to rent an apt?


They used to do this even when people's rent would have been covered by housing benefit.
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Salandriagado
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Postby Salandriagado » Thu Jul 16, 2020 1:19 am

LimaUniformNovemberAlpha wrote:
Salandriagado wrote:What matters is the effect, rather than just the surface-level text.

By that logic, attempted murder wouldn't be a crime because the effect wasn't getting someone killed.


Only if you completely fail to understand the word "just".

Salandriagado wrote:The fact is that, for example, disabled people are vastly more likely to be in receipt of such benefits

Does that make food and drink restrictions discrimination, given the various medical emergencies that can become life-threatening unless specific food and drink are used to treat them? Or is private property not obligated to accommodate such medical conditions, so long as they have the rule specifically outlined in plain text on the front door of such property, and the implicit but unstated assumption that people with such conditions enter at their own risk? Because I've certainly dealt with such private properties in my life.


You are required to make reasonable adjustments. Exemptions from such a policy are very probably reasonable, unless there are other safety issues that can't easily be worked around.

(Then again, I've seen ones that do so without such a warning on the front door and get away with it, even though it by rights should constitute reckless endangerment, so I'm not sure how much of that has to do with property-rights philosophy and how much of it has to do with people who don't care whether disabled people live or die.)


The US being a disfunctional shithole does not have any bearing on what reasonable countries should do.

Salandriagado wrote:Thus, such a policy discriminates against the disabled, despite not having the word "disabled" anywhere in the text.

But regardless of the circumstances that led to someone accepting welfare payments, is it not, at the end of the day, still a decision someone makes under those circumstances?


Irrelevant. Asking someone to choose between two different types of discrimination does not make it not discrimination.

Come to think of it, does this notion warrant its own thread, or is it best dealt with here?


Seems fine here.
Cosara wrote:
Anachronous Rex wrote:Good thing most a majority of people aren't so small-minded, and frightened of other's sexuality.

Over 40% (including me), are, so I fixed the post for accuracy.

Vilatania wrote:
Salandriagado wrote:
Notice that the link is to the notes from a university course on probability. You clearly have nothing beyond the most absurdly simplistic understanding of the subject.
By choosing 1, you no longer have 0 probability of choosing 1. End of subject.

(read up the quote stack)

Deal. £3000 do?[/quote]

Of course.[/quote]

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LimaUniformNovemberAlpha
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Postby LimaUniformNovemberAlpha » Thu Jul 16, 2020 1:54 am

Salandriagado wrote:The US being a disfunctional shithole does not have any bearing on what reasonable countries should do.

I'm actually referring to Canada, which ideologically is more similar; at least in its rhetoric; to the UK than the US. It preaches "anti-discrimination" rhetoric but if what you are referring to constitutes discrimination then it doesn't practice what it preaches.

That said, even when I was in Hong Kong the subways didn't have posters warning us of the "no food or drink" rule until after we were already on the premises. Said posters didn't even specify whether or not there were life and death exceptions. So it's not just a Canada thing either.

To reiterate the attempted murder point, the question remains whether the crime (or civil offense, in this case) should be defined primarily by its actions, or primarily by its consequences; when they are at odds, one of those two has to at the very least be the tiebreaker. If there is the least little shred of doubt that it constitutes discrimination in the original sense of the word, then the word needs to be used more sparingly. Something doesn't need to be discrimination to be wrong, and there are a variety of other reasons why it could be condemned. But such a questionable charge as discrimination just gives condemnation of it a bad name.
Trollzyn the Infinite wrote:1. The PRC is not a Communist State, as it has shown absolutely zero interest in achieving Communism.
2. The CCP is not a Communist Party, as it has shown absolutely zero interest in achieving Communism.
3. Xi Jinping and his cronies are not Communists, as they have shown absolutely zero interest in achieving Communism.

How do we know this? Because the first step toward Communism is Socialism, and none of the aforementioned are even remotely Socialist in any way, shape, or form.

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SD_Film Artists
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Postby SD_Film Artists » Thu Jul 16, 2020 2:00 am

LimaUniformNovemberAlpha wrote:
Salandriagado wrote:What matters is the effect, rather than just the surface-level text.

By that logic, attempted murder wouldn't be a crime because the effect wasn't getting someone killed.


Attempted murder has the psychological effect on the potential victim, and even if the victim wasn't aware of the crime or if the police stopped caring about attempted murder, that still doesn't remove the fact that denying someone accommodation for no better reason than their welfare-based income is a shitty thing to do.

As for the (il)legality, the judge ruled on the indirect effect that the discrimination had on women and the disabled, both of which are legally protected characteristics.
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When anybody preaches disunity, tries to pit one of us against each other through class warfare, race hatred, or religious intolerance, you know that person seeks to rob us of our freedom and destroy our very lives.


Charlie Brooker wrote:It's spider season. Every year, right about now, thousands of the godless eight-legged bastards emerge from the bowels of hell (or the garden, whichever's nearest) with the sole intention of tormenting humankind. Spider season is like a live-action version of the videogame Doom.

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LimaUniformNovemberAlpha
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Postby LimaUniformNovemberAlpha » Thu Jul 16, 2020 2:17 am

SD_Film Artists wrote:denying someone accommodation for no better reason than their welfare-based income is a shitty thing to do.

A case I myself made, earlier in the thread.

But being a shitty thing to do doesn't make it discrimination. On the contrary, the shittier a thing is to do, the more important it is that only the most meaningful criticisms of it will do. Anything else, and you've contaminated the case against it.
Trollzyn the Infinite wrote:1. The PRC is not a Communist State, as it has shown absolutely zero interest in achieving Communism.
2. The CCP is not a Communist Party, as it has shown absolutely zero interest in achieving Communism.
3. Xi Jinping and his cronies are not Communists, as they have shown absolutely zero interest in achieving Communism.

How do we know this? Because the first step toward Communism is Socialism, and none of the aforementioned are even remotely Socialist in any way, shape, or form.

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SD_Film Artists
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Postby SD_Film Artists » Thu Jul 16, 2020 4:38 am

LimaUniformNovemberAlpha wrote:
SD_Film Artists wrote:denying someone accommodation for no better reason than their welfare-based income is a shitty thing to do.


But being a shitty thing to do doesn't make it discrimination.


Which is why I mentioned the legal aspect (as well as the moral aspect) of the discrimination case both in the OP and in my previous post.
Last edited by SD_Film Artists on Thu Jul 16, 2020 4:47 am, edited 2 times in total.
Lurking NSG since 2005
Economic Left/Right: -2.62, Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 0.67
Science Under Attack
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When anybody preaches disunity, tries to pit one of us against each other through class warfare, race hatred, or religious intolerance, you know that person seeks to rob us of our freedom and destroy our very lives.


Charlie Brooker wrote:It's spider season. Every year, right about now, thousands of the godless eight-legged bastards emerge from the bowels of hell (or the garden, whichever's nearest) with the sole intention of tormenting humankind. Spider season is like a live-action version of the videogame Doom.

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Ethel mermania
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Postby Ethel mermania » Thu Jul 16, 2020 5:45 am

An Alan Smithee Nation wrote:
Ethel mermania wrote:The uk is very different than the states in this regard. So I cant claim a good understanding of the issue.

Does this mean landlord cant use ability to pay in deciding whether to rent an apt?


They used to do this even when people's rent would have been covered by housing benefit.


In the states, the "poor" peoples housing benefit is called "section 8" housing (welfare). The benefit is paid for via vouchers to the landlord. Disabled folks benefits comes under supplemental security income which is usually a direct check to the disabled person or to their legal guardians. SSI folks generally dont get nailed by landlords and cant be discriminated against.

Landlords generally ( and I would have to check it's been a long time since I looked at it) can say "no section 8". There are restrictions placed on landlords who accept section 8 in terms of evictions and state of repair ( which is ignored more often than not) but still required.

There also is subsidized public housing which usually has income limits associated with it along with accepting section 8 housing vouchers.

It is as confusing as it sounds.


But as far as what is going on in the UK, I agree that discrimination based on whether receiving welfare or not should not be allowed. However I am ok with folks being evicted if the landlord is not paid, or having that payment guaranteed by the governmental authority.
Last edited by Ethel mermania on Thu Jul 16, 2020 5:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Gormwood » Thu Jul 16, 2020 9:03 am

Ethel mermania wrote:
SD_Film Artists wrote:
I'm not an expert either but I think the ability to pay is still legitimate grounds to reject a tenancy contract but it cannot be explicitly advertised as 'no DSS' and it also cannot be rejected simply on the landlord's prejudice against state benefits. Or in other words they can still reject the tenant but it has to be for a bigger reason than 'but they're on benefits'.

That sounds reasonable, thanks.

Sounds like denying Section 8 beneficiaries space.
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Postby CoraSpia » Thu Jul 16, 2020 9:04 am

Good. Landlords who pull that stunt are the sort of people who give landlords a bad name, and it leads to more hardship than is necessary.
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Ethel mermania
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Postby Ethel mermania » Thu Jul 16, 2020 10:06 am

Gormwood wrote:
Ethel mermania wrote:That sounds reasonable, thanks.

Sounds like denying Section 8 beneficiaries space.

Que?
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Postby Gormwood » Thu Jul 16, 2020 10:08 am

Ethel mermania wrote:
Gormwood wrote:Sounds like denying Section 8 beneficiaries space.

Que?

What is Section 8?
Bloodthirsty savages who call for violence against the Right while simultaneously being unarmed defenseless sissies who will get slaughtered by the gun-toting Right in a civil war.
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Ethel mermania
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Postby Ethel mermania » Thu Jul 16, 2020 10:10 am

Gormwood wrote:
Ethel mermania wrote:Que?

What is Section 8?

I know what section 8 is, and how it works. I did not understand your comment
The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion … but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact; non-Westerners never do.

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