The voice at the end of the phone was blunt and unapologetic. ‘Those are the rules Ms Collier,’ the letting agent told me. ‘We don’t rent property to people claiming benefits.’ It was February 2020 and the third time I’d been rejected by a letting agent in as many weeks, simply because I was claiming a small amount of housing benefit and receiving child tax credits.
Never mind that I’d never been in rent arrears in my life, and worked hard as a part-time accounts assistant. The minute I mentioned I claimed benefits, it was like someone had pulled the shutters down. My emails would go unanswered and if I phoned letting agents up, I’d be told the landlord’s insurance policy wouldn’t let them rent to me. […]