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We're removing the "no benefits" filter on SpareRoom

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Back in July, we shared news of a new court ruling making it illegal for landlords to place blanket bans on renting to tenants on Housing Benefit.

We supported this by changing our filters, so advertisers could only select “No” to “Housing Benefit welcome?” if their mortgage or insurance terms specifically stopped them letting to Housing Benefit tenants. We also banned the terms “no DSS/housing benefit” from ad copy and titles.

But now we’re taking this further and removing the filter completely.

Why we’re making the change

We’ve always allowed advertisers to say whether their room is available to benefit claimants or not. This filter was introduced specifically to help tenants rather than landlords, and make it easier for them to find a suitable room or property.

After two court rulings in the summer concluded that housing benefit discrimination is unlawful and in breach of the Equalities Act, we changed our filters. We’ve unfortunately still seen a high number of advertisers excluding tenants who receive benefits (when the vast majority of mortgages and insurance policies now accommodate them), and so decided to remove this filter completely.

Ultimately it’s still down to a landlord to choose who they rent their rooms to, on a case by case basis. This ruling doesn’t stop that, but it does mean that landlords are now banned from advertising in that way – including on SpareRoom.

If you’ve got any questions about the changes, new ruling and what we’re doing to support this on SpareRoom, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Image credit: @gingersnapbeth.

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