LABOUR councillors are to use a council meeting this afternoon to call for an end to discriminatory housing practices faced by benefit claimants in the private rental sector.

The Labour group on Brighton and Hove City Council wants to crack down on "no DSS" policies practised by some landlords and letting agents and exercise powers to protect private renters from discrimination, including banning orders on rogue landlords.

Although such policies are illegal, research by community union Acorn found that the practice remains rife in the city, with prospective renters who rely on benefits to pay rent often asked to provide a high-earning guarantor or pay several months' rent in advance.

Labour’s housing spokeswoman, councillor Gill Williams, said: “It’s our moral obligation as a council to champion equality and the rights of renters by condemning discrimination in private housing and to take all actions available to us in stamping out these unlawful practices employed by rogue landlords and letting agencies.

“As a city, we rightly stand against discrimination in all its forms – we must show that same resolve on this issue, and stamp out discrimination against benefit claimants in the private rental sector.

“If we don’t act on this, by exercising our, admittedly limited, enforcement powers, and expanding the support we offer to tenants, homelessness will continue to plague our city.”

She also called on the government to intervene and to deliver on their promise to end no-fault evictions.

The motion to ban such practices comes following a campaign by Acorn to crack down on discrimination against benefit claimants in the private rented sector.

A spokesman for Acorn said: “Discrimination against tenants on benefits and low incomes is a major problem in this city and one which is having a severe impact on the well-being of those who have faced it. 

“We need to ensure that the council follows through and take our message directly to landlords and letting agencies - Brighton renters are demanding change.”

Green councillor Martin Osbourne, lead member for the council’s private rented sector, expressed his support for the campaign.

He said: “In the current cost of living crisis it is essential that we destigmatise those on Universal Credit or any other benefit and ensure that they have access to safe, warm and affordable housing.

“The practice of discriminating against those on benefits was outlawed in 2020 but we have seen evidence that this still continues.

“Everyone should have the same opportunity when looking for a home and discriminating against someone simply because they receive benefits is wrong and illegal.”