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!