Landlord Insurance for DSS Tenants

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What is DSS?

DSS stands for the "Department of Social Services" and was previously a government department responsible for benefit payments. In 2001, this department was shut down as part of reforms to the benefits system and today no longer exists. Today it is known as the "Department for Work and Pensions" but many people still use its old name.

The term DSS has remained and is often used in adverts for rented properties to show whether a landlord was willing to let a property to tenants that receive benefits - although it is unlawful discrimination for landlords to have a "no DSS tenants" policy. A DSS tenant is someone who pays the majority of their rent with benefits.

Should I rent to DSS tenants?

DSS tenants don't have the best reputation, as receiving payments is more complex. They are more likely to struggle to meet the monthly rent and a minority of DSS tenants can be considered to be "difficult".

Most housing benefits claimants in the UK live in privately rented accommodation, so no landlord should neglect this demographic of the rental market. The reality is that any tenant can potentially default on rent payments - particularly during turbulent economic times.

What is DSS Landlord Insurance?

DSS landlord insurance is designed for landlords who rent their properties to tenants who receive housing benefits from the local council. DSS tenants insurance allows you to be more flexible with who you rent your property to – ideal in an increasingly competitive and saturated lettings market.

DSS landlord insurance financially protects landlords in the event of damage to their property. Having comprehensive cover can help landlords attract and retain tenants, as many tenants are now looking for landlords who have DSS landlord insurance in place.

What does landlord insurance for DSS tenants cover?

Landlord insurance generally includes landlord buildings insurance to cover structural repairs, landlord contents insurance to cover the contents you provide as well as:

  • Property Owners Liability
  • Unoccupancy period
  • Standard Accidental Damage
  • Loss of Rent or Temporary Accommodation

You can choose to add on

  • Full Accidental Damage
  • Malicious Damage by tenants (maximum £5,000)
  • Theft by Tenants (maximum £5,000)
  • Legal Protection

What isn't covered

  • Wear and tear
  • Pet damage
  • General maintenance issues
  • Illegal activities

Compare DSS Landlord Insurance

Some insurers restrict the type of tenant who can rent out your property which may result in you needing this specialist form of cover. The good news is that renting to DSS tenants is lower risk than it used to be. Measures are in place to ensure landlords receive rent payments from the council if a tenant defaults.

As an independent insurance broker, CIA can find you specialist cover at the best price. We compare quotes from 9 leading insurers and make sure you only pay for what you need.

Do I need landlord insurance for DSS tenants?

Some standard landlord insurance policies may not include DSS tenants, whereas others will raise their premiums for this tenant type. If you take out specialist landlord insurance for DSS tenants, you can benefit from the right level of protection, at the right price.

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Get cheap landlord insurance for DSS tenants with CIA

As well as comparing the whole market for a cheaper quote, there are a few things you can do to get your premium down.

  • Pay annually to avoid monthly interest charges.
  • Increase your excess but make sure you can still afford it.
  • Opt for multi-property landlord insurance if you rent out more than one property. You can get discounted rates compared to taking out individual policies.
  • Get buildings and contents insurance combined instead of taking out separate cover.

The cost of landlord insurance will depend on the features of the property and its location, so purchase your buy-to-let in an area with low crime rates if possible. Check out our area guides to find the best places to be a landlord in your region.

Frequently Asked Questions

Advice Centre for Landlords

Is Renting to DSS Tenants a Good Idea? 22-07-2023

Department of Social Services tenants, otherwise known as DSS tenants, are those who claim housing benefits due to financial difficulties relating to unemployment, disabilities and/or being a single parent. Many landlords are understandably reluctant to rent to this group of people. The uncertainty of rent payments, combined with the complications of the benefits system and the […]

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Landlord and tenant sit down and talk together How to deal with tenants who pay rent with benefits 16-03-2023

There’s a grey area over how to deal with tenants who pay rent with benefits.  While you’re looking to make the right choice with your tenants through a thorough screening process and right-to-rent checks, you will also want to understand what DSS really means to your rental property income.  What is a DSS tenant?  A […]

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Tenants on Universal Credit 04-03-2021

Universal Credit was introduced back in 2013 in an attempt to simplify the welfare system. It has not been without its challenges, and as of January 2021, there were 6 million people on Universal Credit in England, Scotland and Wales. This is a 98% increase since March 2020, largely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether […]

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