>housing benefit policy

Do Baillie White Lettings accept DSS?

This is one of the most common questions we are asked by tenants searching for a new home.

Firstly, we should point out that the use of the term "DSS" is anachronistic. The Department for Social Security hasn’t existed since 2001, so instead we refer to our “tenants in receipt of benefits”.

Our policy for all tenancy applications is based on suitability, affordability, and successful completion of referencing.

We expect all tenants to be able to afford the rent for the house or property they apply for.  This applies to working tenants, students, or tenants in receipt of benefits.  We use a standard criteria method for all tenants, which looks at the above three areas.

Suitabilty

Are they suitable for the property?  For example, a family of six isn’t ideal in a two-bed house. A family with a dog will also not work well in a flat without access to a garden.

A long term unemployed tenant will not be a good fit in a house of working professionals – their tenancy expectations may not be a good fit and we wish to avoid possible conflict.

Affordabilty

We use industry standard methods to ascertain if the property is affordable. This is usually a gross annual salary of at least 30 times the monthly rent. In some cases, particularly for those under 21 years of age, we may require a guarantor as standard. In other cases where affordability is marginal, we may require a guarantor as an additional security for the landlord.

Referencing

We always reference all tenants, regardless of whether rent is being paid in advance.  This includes current employer as well as previous landlord references.  In some cases we will require additional referencing such as the landlord previous to your current one.  We will check your credit file to see if you have any unpaid debt, CCJs or IVAs and we need to see supporting evidence of your income and expenditure to build a picture of affordability for the property, this is now usually done via open banking.

In light of the above, we have a very clear policy not to discriminate against any of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act, however tenants in receipt of benefits will be considered – like all tenants – on the basis above.

What about if the landlords mortgage or insurance provider doesn’t allow it?

This does sometimes happen, however there is a trend away from this – more lenders are willing to accept tenants on benefits.  In cases like this we will advise landlords of the options available to them and advise applicants accordingly.

See all of our available properties to rent here.

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