An ‘exciting proposal’ to reward landlords willing to house benefits tenants and low-income families in Wales has been unveiled by housing minister Rebecca Evans.

She told delegates at the Residential Landlords Association's Future Renting Wales conference in Cardiff: “I want to find ways to eradicate the ‘no DSS’ barrier."

She said: “Poverty should not be allowed to be the basis for discrimination.

“I want to see the Welsh government do more to support landlords who are willing to widen access by providing security of income, protecting against voids and losses and ensuring support for tenants during the duration of their agreement – and helping to improve the standard of the property they are renting.”

In return she said landlords would be expected to offer longer leases to tenants on benefits and low-income families.

“We are currently working on an exciting proposal to make an attractive offer of this type and it is one I want to move forward on at pace,” she said.

She added: “If we are going to transform the public perception of the private rented sector it would clearly be beneficial for the members of this organisation (the RLA) to contribute your knowledge and experience.

“These are exciting times for housing in Wales.”

Research by Manchester Metropolitan University showed changes to the benefits system has led to an increase in homelessness from rented housing, and that more needs to be done to tackle the issue.

RLA vice chair and its director for Wales, Douglas Haig, said: “The RLA looks forward to working with the Welsh government as it develops its proposals further.

“With increasing numbers of vulnerable people looking to the private rented sector for a place to live, it is vital that landlords have the support required to manage and meet the needs of such tenants.”

The new proposals follow news back in October that 90% of buy-to-let lenders refuse tenants on benefits, and the announcement of a £20m Private Rented Sector Access fund aimed at helping homeless and vulnerable people into private rental accommodation.