The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has warned letting agencies that properties can only be advertised using restrictions such as ‘No DSS’ if there is a specific requirement within a landlords mortgage.
The warning comes as part of a clarification to its ‘Guidance for lettings professionals on consumer protection law’ report initially released earlier this year in June.
The guidance confirms that if a landlord’s mortgage, lease or other contract includes a clause preventing the landlord from letting to people claiming benefits, then this is material information that should be included in the property advert.
However, it stressed that claiming a restriction, where none exists would be “misleading”,and an offence. It also advised that agents and portals should not apply blanket ‘No DSS’ bans.
The CMA said in the clarification: “The CMA included this example to account for circumstances where a property can not be let by a landlord to those on housing benefit, i. e. when a term of a contract specifies this, as this would constitute material information for would be tenants.
“Where such restrictions do not exist they need to be brought to the attention of prospective tenants. The inclusion of housing benefit claimants as an example does not justify or excuse letting agents or property portals having blanket bans against those on housing benefit.”