Free advice for Shelter

Free advice for Shelter

8:55 AM, 24th August 2018, About 3 years ago 46

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Shelter have supported various initiatives to change the PRS so I wondered if I could do the same for them.  The accounts to March 2018 aren’t online yet, so I looked at the previous year’s figures:

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The total remuneration received by the six directors during the year was £763,446.

There were 1,273 members of staff; some of whom were part-timers; the full-time equivalent was 1,158.  Total staff costs were £39 million, of which £32.6 million was for salaries making the average salary £28,000.

Shelter got donations and legacies of £33.2 million, but it cost £11.0 million to obtain them.  It got £17.9 million for housing advice and support services (mostly from government departments and local authorities, and £2.9 million from the Big Lottery) but spent £37.0 million providing them.

It got £1.1 million for training and publications which cost the same amount. It also £302k, from investments mainly, with a bit from office rental.

Up to there they were £3.3 million in surplus.  They got a bit from shops, see below, but blew £5.9 million on research, policy and campaigning.

The total income was £60.9m, total expenditure was £62.9m, result misery.

Investment income was £972k, so the overall deficit was £1.0m, i.e. they were exactly a million pounds worse off at the end of the year than they had been at the start.

The accounts show that Shelter shops sold goods for a total of £8.5 million. But the staff working in them cost £3.4 million, and “other shop costs” were £4.5 million.  The net contribution was 630k, or 7.43% of sales – seven pence halfpenny in the pound from selling things that were given to them for nothing.

What is the point?  People donating good quality things, and the people who buy them, are mostly just paying for the premises and the 177 staff in them.  Some may think it’s a fruitless exercise or worse, and would prefer to donate to – and buy from – charities that have unpaid staff, or which actually provide beds for homeless people, but I couldn’t possibly comment.

I can however give you, Shelter, the sort of advice that young disrupters have felt free to  give to private landlords over the last few years.:

You are not entrepreneurs.  You have just inserted yourself between the public and the  shops that they want.  Your shops have the extremely high gearing of costs to turnover of 92.57%.  If 8% of donors or buyers of goods stopped donating or buying them, the shops would make a loss.

(I wonder if the 2 million private landlords and their 11 million tenants stopped patronising your shops whether they would exceed the 8% of your customer/donor base.)

It’s not a real business, it’s not sustainable, and it’s time you made way for first-time shopkeepers.  When you decide to phase out the shops, please do so in a gradual and proportionate way.  George Osborne reckons 25% a year is gradual and proportionate.

Now some advice about the £5.9 million you spent on research, policy and campaigning..  You would have been better off you stopped this and minded your own business, and so would tenants.  The more you campaign, the more people are made homeless.

You support Section 24,

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Your new CEO, Polly Neate, was one of three confirmed speakers at the launch, in the Houses of Parliament, of Onward’s widely derided paper in which Neil O’Brien MP recommended disallowing finance costs for private landlords completely for new rental properties:

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You support 3-year tenancies which the tenant can break at any time, or as you put it “Renters will also have the freedom to find a new place if and when they choose.”

Click Here and Click Here

“when the contract is explained in full and renters know they could leave by giving notice.”

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And now you are attacking letting agents:

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Those that haven’t been driven out of business by the fees ban that you take credit for, that is:

“Following years of campaigning, we secured government commitment to ban all letting agency fees faced by private renters in England. This will save private renters an average of £223 every time they move.” This is at the top of page 9 of the 2017 report, which has the amusing heading “Fixing the private rented sector”.

It seems that you actually want to drive decent private landlords out of the market,.  This will make homelessness increase. It is already increasing, as you well know.

Here’s an idea. What about using this £5.9 million instead to buy twenty or so HMO’s around the country each year to house the people on benefits that private landlords have had to evict because they are not charities?  You would then be able to say, for the first time, that you actually provide shelter!

And when tenants fall into arrears – either because they spend the rent money on other things, or because they become subject to Universal Credit – and you try to evict them, and your helpline advises them to ignore all the legal procedures and wait for the bailiffs, you will finally realise what it is like to be a landlord rather than an ignorant disrupter.

What do you say, Polly?


by Christopher Marsden

17:11 PM, 24th August 2018, About 3 years ago

What's the consensus on here then?
Do we batten down the hatches and keep our heads down knowing that probably sometime in the the future some balance will be restored in the treatment of those who responsibly provide an essential service or is there something else that we can do to influence the situation in the meantime?

by Chris @ Possession Friend

18:04 PM, 24th August 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Dr Rosalind Beck at 24/08/2018 - 16:20
Couldn't agree more Ros - jugular is the target. we're not playing tiddly winks here.
But I must say, whilst I'm annoyed at Shelters attack on the majority of good Landlords ( Ian, we are mostly agreed there's no time for the rogues ) but what also concerns me is Shelters' lack of challenge to government policies that are exacerbating homelessness [ most of the Housing policies ] and actually harming the Homeless they purport to support.
Seems if truth be told, Landlords are more concerned about Homelessness than Shelter !
The only reason I can think for this is they don't want t loose the financial support of govt.
or, put another way, if you like - they're in their pockets and have the integrity of a gutter rat.

by Larry Sweeney

20:32 PM, 24th August 2018, About 3 years ago

This is an excellent and very informative article. Next time i see a shelter charity shop, perhaps I might enter fuming and tell them how my rent has increased because of sect 24 and Shelter. Let us all do this. As i keep saying attack our detractors at every turn. How do these clowns know the diffence between landlords and tenants.

by Robert Mellors

22:34 PM, 24th August 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 24/08/2018 - 15:56Hi Ian
I agree with you, I do not want Shelter to cease to exist, but I do want them to realise that government policies and Shelter's attack on private landlords is causing massive misery to tenants and is actually causing a lot of homelessness.
I've provided homes for over 450 people in the last 14 years, (I think that is 450 more than Shelter has provided), people in housing need, many on benefits, most rejected by Councils and other social landlords, so if Shelter really want to reduce homelessness then they should come and have a chat with me and all the other private landlords who are fighting to provide good homes for people.
Shelter may of course try to say, well you've provided the housing for a profit.......... sorry Shelter, that would be wrong, I can't speak for other landlords, but my company Choice Housing Ltd is a NOT-FOR-PROFIT company!

by Arnie Newington

8:42 AM, 25th August 2018, About 3 years ago

I hate Shelter!

by terry sullivan

8:48 AM, 25th August 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 24/08/2018 - 15:56
shelter is a political organization and should not have charitable status--nor should oxfam

by Bill

9:45 AM, 25th August 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by NW Landlord at 24/08/2018 - 11:40
Just like shelter the landlord organisations seem to exist just for the benefit of their employees. Providing jobs on the gravy train while doing nothing to help landlords who they just see as an income stream.

by Christopher Marsden

10:28 AM, 25th August 2018, About 3 years ago

For me the big picture question is how do we change landlord representation and image management in this country? I read that the number of Landlords is now 2.5million yet initiatives to challenge legislation seem to attract a pitiful response in support, even Mark's recent petition to try and influence the upcoming budget and change some of Osborne's ludicrous taxation decisions has had a relatively poor response. I raise the issue here because in influencing government the press and possibly the public Shelter have been far more successful than us landlords.
I know Mark and 118 are trying to change things but strategically I think we have to reach out and motivate landlords to do more.
I mentioned Greenpeace in an earlier post. They set up an email to Coca cola as part of a petition so that, I think it was 10000 people emailed the CEO, within 3 days I got a response and they committed to stop selling coke in plastic bottles.
If 118 could do the same on section 24 and get an equivalent response of landlords (10000 out of 2.5million should not be that difficult) then maybe some targeted individuals might start to listen.
We are never going to change anything if all we want to do complain about the likes of shelter.

by terry sullivan

10:40 AM, 25th August 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Bill Williams at 25/08/2018 - 09:45
and all on private sector taxpayers money

by Dr Rosalind Beck

15:50 PM, 25th August 2018, About 3 years ago

A fellow landlord gave me this contribution, which I though relevant:

I would like the public and the companies and government to know exactly what shelter does with £61 million each year.

For the same amount I can buy 305 HMO’s each housing 14 people affordably with all bills paid and I can do this each year. So they could house 4270 people permanently every year and make a profit on the rents paid by benefits.
Knowing they don’t supply a single room, What exactly do they provide that is so compelling they justify 61 million pounds each year?

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