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.”

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“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 user_ 8640

19:51 PM, 27th August 2018, About 3 years ago

Obfuscated Data

by Luke P

20:54 PM, 27th August 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Jeanluc Realtor at 27/08/2018 - 19:51
Except when all the (private) LLs have gone and there’s an increase in homelessness, they’ll not get away with slating the RSLs and corporates in the same way…Government won’t stand for it. Just a shame they don’t feel that way about us now.

by Appalled Landlord

21:03 PM, 27th August 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Jeanluc Realtor at 27/08/2018 - 19:51
Hi Jeanluc

I take your point but I was referring to the shops.
Shelter is a brand, and is vulnerable to losing income very suddenly should public perception change due to the actions of its staff, like Oxfam and Ratners.

by Dismayed Landlord

21:25 PM, 27th August 2018, About 3 years ago

I called our local Shelter office a few months ago I order to gain some support from them regarding initiatives to ease the local homeless problem.

I asked to speak to the manager and was told she was not available, so I asked if I could leave her a message to call me back, the chap asked my name and the capacity I was calling, when I told him I was a local landlord, he immediately replied “Sorry we don’t talk to landlords”.....

I was so taken aback by that appalling attitude that it left me speechless. It speaks volumes about them as an outfit though.

by Luke P

9:39 AM, 28th August 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Dismayed Landlord at 27/08/2018 - 21:25
I've had the same response from Citizens Advice of all places! Are LLs not citizens? I was actually after some assistance with a tenant, but they said they don't help LLs.

by Whiteskifreak Surrey

9:44 AM, 28th August 2018, About 3 years ago

Clearly the war on Landlords spread out from Government and Shelter to other institution. I wonder when we will be publicly named and shamed, and refused basic services like NHS & public transport or banned to make an appointment with local MP (who is already against us as a public enemy No 1). All that it is going to end badly. And offloading the houses is not easy, nobody is buying (I wonder where are those FTB we stopped from buying?).

by Appalled Landlord

9:58 AM, 28th August 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 28/08/2018 - 09:39
Hi Luke

Like Shelter,CAB also proudly takes credit for the letting fees ban. Page 20 of CAB’s annual report 2019/17 has this:

“After 7 years of campaigning by Citizens Advice, in 2016 the government committed to banning all letting agent fees charged to people living in rented homes. We’re working closely with ministers, officials and stakeholders in the housing sector to make sure this change is brought in quickly and smoothly.”

by Luke P

9:58 AM, 28th August 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Whiteskifreak Surrey at 28/08/2018 - 09:44
Are those the first time buyers that are so flush with money to pay their mortgage arrangement fees/conveyancing bill/searches & valuation charges etc. that they are having to look at porting deposits and capping them at three weeks rent because they...oh, wait...can't (according to the same government that insist on the above) manage to have two deposits out to to LLs during a crossover period whilst moving property.

by Christopher Marsden

9:58 AM, 28th August 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Whiteskifreak Surrey at 28/08/2018 - 09:44
South East London is certainly difficult at the moment. We had a buyer pull out 4 days before exchange after running us for 4 months.
The reason he gave was brexit. He was worried that the value of the property would drop.
Hey ho looks like a relet and another deed of trust to pass the income over to my better half.
On the matter of Landlords influencing government and society I think we need a miracle because until we can raise the numbers to support a cause (even a petition) we are dead in the water.

by Luke P

9:59 AM, 28th August 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Appalled Landlord at 28/08/2018 - 09:58
My office is opposite theirs in my town. They have turned away other LLs before too that are having issues with tenants and directed them to us...ha!

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