Metro Bank has agreed to lift mortgage restrictions preventing landlords from renting their properties to tenants who receive housing benefit after pressure from the government.
The government describes such clauses in mortgage contracts as “potentially discriminatory” and says that thousands of families may be affected by the restrictions.
The announcement followed a roundtable meeting today at Downing Street chaired by minister for housing and homelessness Heather Wheeler, which looked at the use of so-called “no DSS” restrictions.
The Department of Social Security was previously in charge of benefits payments and restrictive clauses in rental and mortgage agreement are still commonly referred to in these terms.
Metro Bank’s agreement follows similar pledges from Rightmove and Zoopla to remove adverts for rental properties that exclude families who receive benefits.
The government says “No DSS” restrictions have no place in a modern housing market and it plans to introduce “a blanket ban” on the practice.
Wheeler says: “Regardless of financial circumstances, everyone should have the same opportunity when looking for a home and I have been determined to end the discrimination those on benefits face.
“Today’s meeting was yet another step forward; marking an important shift in making the private rented sector fairer for all – and I am thrilled that Metro Bank have decided to join us in ending the stigma surrounding tenants on housing benefit.
“I am grateful to those companies for taking the time to discuss this issue, and look forward to us continuing to work together.
Minister for family support, housing and child maintenance Will Quince adds: “We are working to bring the sector together to tackle this issue, ensuring everyone has the same opportunity to access safe and secure housing.
“It’s encouraging that we are already seeing positive changes being made in the industry, and we continue to encourage landlords and agents to consider tenants on an individual basis.”
Metro director of lending products Andy Piggott says: “Over recent months we have been working closely with a number of industry stakeholders including the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, housing charity Shelter and our clients to better understand the challenges facing landlords and their tenants.
“Following an extensive review, we can confirm that we will be changing our buy-to-let lending policy to enable landlords with buy-to-let mortgages to let to people claiming benefits.”