A personal view of Shelter’s latest anti-landlord campaign

by Dr Rosalind Beck

4 months ago

A personal view of Shelter’s latest anti-landlord campaign

Make Text Bigger
A personal view of Shelter’s latest anti-landlord campaign

I am writing my thoughts here about Shelter, because they appear to have banned me from their Facebook page. I can still see their campaigns, but have no right to reply on their site, so have chosen to point out here what I would have written on their page:

Shelter’s latest campaign is about mental health issues being caused by housing (by ‘housing’ you can of course read ‘landlords’). What Shelter omits to mention is that landlords also suffer from all kinds of anxiety, depression and so on. When we have awful non-paying tenants – who are often helped by agencies such as Shelter – it feels horrendous. We have all the stress of being cheated out of large sums of money and having to face court, and later fix all the damage they’ve done and clean up all their mess and rubbish, and also often face verbal abuse as though it is outrageous of us to ask the tenants to pay the rent.

In these situations, when we have done nothing wrong we also have so-called housing charities trying to find any little mistake in the paperwork to ‘win’ more time for their non-paying client in our properties. When the tenants finally leave, they usually owe thousands of pounds so they have enjoyed many months of rent-free accommodation courtesy of the landlord – mostly money that the landlord will never receive as the court judgements are largely unenforceable.

Shelter then constantly repeat their mantra about ‘losing a private rental being the main cause of homelessness.’ Yes, that’s a really clever thing to say. As the vast majority of evicted tenants are evicted because of non-payment of rent and damage, it is the tenant who has caused their own homelessness. Why don’t they say ‘tenant behaviour is the main cause of their homelessness?’ As it is when they are evicted from private and social rentals, and in fact the eviction rate in the latter is higher (but it’s not cool to slag off councils and Housing Associations; it doesn’t fit in with their narrative).

Shelter – as well as Generation Rent – treat us constantly like we are ‘scum’ and their campaigns against us encourage others to actually call us ‘scum.’ Someone on Twitter this week called me ‘a disease.’ There is apparently a website where other brave, anonymous posters, want me to burn in hell and so on. It’s invariably anonymous men who make these brave comments. I would add that the man who called me a disease refers to himself as ‘Solzhenitsyn.’ I find that such an insult – Solzhenitsyn was a courageous and clever writer who spoke out against the Soviet regime and was imprisoned for his bravery. Not much resemblance with his namesake on Twitter.

Anyway, Shelter whips up people these cowards on social media and then puts out poster campaigns as if to say that they are so ‘caring’ about tenants’ problems; they don’t care about us though; they depersonalise us as though we are not human beings; it is an evil business. The sooner they are seen through for what they are, and people stop donating and they get shut down, the better for everyone.

In the meantime, I have a message for them: SHELTER: START PROVIDING SHELTER (OR CHANGE YOUR NAME). AND IN THE MEANTIME LAY OFF THOSE OF US WHO ACTUALLY PROVIDE ROOFS OVER PEOPLE’S HEADS!

Comments

Neil Patterson

4 months ago

Hi Ros,

It is a classic case of why things go wrong in this world:

Lack of understanding and compassion for another's position and viewpoint or an unwillingness to consider the other side of the argument.

Gary Dully

4 months ago

It's an easy fix.

1. I Propose that SHELTER's charitable status is removed.
2. Give them an equivalent of Section 24 and say their staff, finance and property costs are no longer subject to tax relief.
3. Join the Landlords Union

Monty Bodkin

4 months ago

Any landlords have a mortgage with TMW (Nationwide group)?

Gas safety checks done by British Gas?

Full list of contributors here;

http://england.shelter.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/1306319/8351_Annual_Report_A4_Final_DIGITAL_25.11.16.pdf

Simon Parker

4 months ago

Shelter's position as a so-called "charity" needs serious investigation.
Check out their latest accounts up to March 2016, out of £57m in revenue they spent £37.38m on wages and salaries, they have £4.4m cash in the bank and have a net assets of £26.5m!
This is the real scandal! Shelter need to put their money where their mouth is use all that cash and assets to provide accommodation for the homeless and see what the real world is like by managing it all.

Dr Rosalind Beck

4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by "Simon Parker" at "29/04/2017 - 11:45":

Yes, some very interesting figures there and if there is a breakdown of the top staff's salaries somewhere that would also be revealing. And yet they treat us as though we are wealthy landowning scum - when many of them have far higher take home pay, provide no housing or shelter to anyone (unlike us), and will not face a large, potentially infinite tax levy on top of their normal income tax. And they don't get people treating them as though they are doing something awful (like we are assumed to be doing - yes providing housing is a sin); they get treated as though when they help someone with a housing problem they have done something marvellous because they are such caring people. It's nonsense. I was a paid worker in various charities for years and I did it for the salary - we all work because we need to pay our bills, not out of the goodness of our heart and they are no different. What is infuriating however, is how they have subverted their own organisation to become a force for such ill. Their support of Section 24 is a scandal. How can a so-called homelessness charity support a Government measure will logically will result in far higher levels of homelessness? At the very least, in addition to stopping their ill-conceived and relentless slagging off of landlords, they need to reverse their position on Section 24.

Mick Roberts

4 months ago

Very Very good words.

Yes, we pay the money out, we take the risk, we house the people, & when the person don't play ball & wrecks the house & don't pay the rent, we get slated for wanting the bad person out that isn't paying. Who's paying the mortgage then?

When someone walks into a shop & walks out without paying, that's theft, a crime, punishment, prison.
What's different to renting our house out & not paying & damaging stuff?

If Shelter/Govt etc. put things in place to get our property back quicker, if non-payment happens, there'd be a lot more landlords housing a lot more people, & Shelter would be praised for helping to fix problem.
Not rocket science is it? Or is it?

Dr Rosalind Beck

4 months ago

Miraculously, today, Shelter is not blaming landlords for something. Quote from the Times:

'Anne Baxendale, of Shelter, said: “Life for families who need housing benefit to top up their monthly income is hard enough without having to deal with this cruel prejudice from the banking system. With the country in the grip of a housing crisis, it’s appalling to see banks going out of their way to make life even harder for people who cannot find somewhere affordable to live.
“By putting an end to this practice banks can help ease the pressure for thousands of families already struggling to get by.”'

They seem to think though that landlords can breach their mortgage conditions by granting longer term tenancies than the lenders allow. A while back they said that about half of the lenders were willing to allow longer term tenancies; well what about the other half then - constituting millions of properties and a massive number of landlords who would be in breach?

I suppose we should be thankful for small mercies. Big whoop that they chose not to blame us on this one. I bet they will soon enough.

And, in any case, even if lenders do begin to allow us to take benefit recipients, Section 24 will prevent us. They'll probably start implementing discrimination laws against us like was reported recently in Ireland.

David Price

4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mick Roberts" at "30/04/2017 - 12:25":

"Not rocket science is it? Or is it?"

As a retired Rocket Scientist I can confirm that it is not rocket science!

Mandy Thomson

4 months ago

I won't deny that Shelter do do some good work as tenant advisors and advocates, and of course there is a place for that, just as there is a place for landlord support agencies (Property118 being just one). I went on a training course recently which was taken by someone who is a very experienced portfolio landlord, letting agent and trainer. She also spent some 10 years working for.... Shelter and they gave her excellent training for her role as a tenant advocate and advisor. Her knowledge was second to none.

However, while Shelter rightly support disadvantaged and vulnerable tenants, in public they draw no distinction between these and criminal rogue tenants. As Ros has pointed out in her post, Shelter also support (or at least fail to call out) some very cowardly and unpleasant people who cross the divide between polemic argument and trolling; embittered wannabe home owners who prefer to rant, troll and harass others online who have what they think they want. No doubt some of these people are also rogue tenants...

IMHO Shelter's failure to denounce and distance themselves from such individuals puts them on the same level, an absolute disgraceful position for such an established organisation. Imagine if Property118, the NLA, the RLA excetera were to stick up for the "rights" of rogue landlords....

Mandy Thomson

4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by "Dr Rosalind Beck" at "01/05/2017 - 08:10":

Unless a benefit claimant is in that position through old age or severe disability, there is a sizeable element of choice - they have options to change their economic circumstances.

Discrimination should only ever apply to the protected characteristics that the individual cannot change.

1 2 3 4

Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

OR

BECOME A MEMBER

Was this the biggest landlord tax planning event ever?