Shelter couple’s “punishment”: self-imposed exile in Cornwall

by Appalled Landlord

8:55 AM, 19th June 2019
About 6 months ago

Shelter couple’s “punishment”: self-imposed exile in Cornwall

Make Text Bigger
Shelter couple’s “punishment”: self-imposed exile in Cornwall

Shelter has produced a video, which you can view below, as part of its futile campaign against No DSS adverts.

Comments can be left below the video if you Click here

“Krystyna and her husband Geoff had to return to private renting in their 50s after being home owners when they were made redundant. When they tried to find somewhere to rent they faced DSS discrimination and struggled to find a place to live. They were forced to move from the West Midlands to Cornwall just to find a home.”

Krystyna describes this as a punishment – which is self-pitying nonsense. If these are real people – and not actors – it shows that a strong sense of entitlement is not confined to the young.

They are of working age, but do not work, so they earn no income. They feel it is beneath their dignity to ask someone to be a guarantor, even if they could find one. Nonetheless they feel entitled to the right to apply for properties in the private rented sector whose landlords would not accept them because they would have to bear the loss if the housing benefit/universal credit was not passed on, or was stopped or was clawed back later.

Why should a private landlord take these risks? The PRS is not part of the Welfare State.

The No DSS campaign page that Shelter links to, click here, is aimed at the PRS. There is no mention of housing associations which apply the same risk-avoidance policy to applicants on benefits. Krystyna and Geoff do not say whether social housing providers turned them down. Maybe social housing is also beneath their dignity.

Joe Speye is a commentator on social housing. He is no friend of the PRS, but he wrote:

“The position from the National Housing Federation that NO DSS is exclusively a private rented sector matter and is not operable by social rented sector landlords is deliberate and known lie and hypocrisy. That same charge can be applied to Shelter who also know full well that social (sic) landlords operate NO DSS policies as a matter of course. The use of this knowingly false and wafer-thin superficial premise that only private landlords operate the emotive term of NO DSS renders Shelter’s charge that the practice is discrimination to be worthless and a campaign unworthy of a junior school debating society. It also is one of many incompetent campaigns and articles and outpourings from Shelter that is errant, lazy and frankly fake news.” (Emphasis added) Click here

One outpouring was so misleading that it was withdrawn from Shelter’s website after one day, following David Smith’s demolition of Polly Neate’s claims on the RLA’s website, and on Radio 4. Well done David! Click here



Mick Roberts

13:10 PM, 19th June 2019
About 6 months ago

It's not that we don't want to take these people.
It's the SYSTEM SYSTEM SYSTEM we don't want in fact CAN'T take.
JC made some good points the other day. U just don't know when your 'rent' is gonna' not come. U could & can say the same about a working person, but quite often u can talk to them & they have guarantor, deposit, rent up front etc., whereas HB LHA DWP UC pay BACKWARDS. Oh here u go, have a house, live in it for a month, see how u go. Then the DWP who's paying for this at the end of the month, if they don't pay, no problem cause I will go & shake the Magic Money Tree to pay the mortgage.
I will have to shake the Magic Money Tree as DWP who WANT ME TO HOUSE U, won't talk to me AT ALL. Even if it's to say Mick, we need tenants latest phone number to tell them they need to go to Job Centre & sign a form, we can pay ALL THEIR RENT AGAIN!
Even if it's to say Oh we need your Landlord just to send us rent proof form.
Yes Shelter, DWP etc., these are 2% of the reasons why we can't take DWP any more. If people like me & Jonathon Clarke has now had to change tack who has housed hundreds of Benefit tenants & preferred them for their 'normalness', if we can't don't want to take Benefit tenants any more, then surely we need to be asking WHY? And looking at the system.
If a tenant has given permission at beginning of claim for DWP to ask Landlord if 'ote needed & DWP refuse to do that, Hello is anyone home? Wake up authorities.
That couple in that vid, I'd give 'em house tomorrow, but who's paying me? Oh I see we reliant on Universal Credit from DWP are we? The same DWP who wish to prosecute me cause I've been on tenants journal cause no rent has come in, so we've done a complaint & it was the most easiest fix to do.
UC didn't fix the problem, we had 17 calls, 5 appointments, 9 emails, to find out about this journal, when the real issue is pay the rent query.


14:21 PM, 19th June 2019
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark Alexander at 19/06/2019 - 10:43
Mark, was it just the tax changes that lead to you being forced to live your life in exile in Malta and to start selling a few of your properties every year, or might it also have been the countless other pieces of anti-landlord propaganda and legislative changes campaigned for and supported by Shelter? I might well be joining you my friend!

Mark Alexander

14:22 PM, 19th June 2019
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Anon at 19/06/2019 - 14:21
LOL, you got me there Anon. It was all of the above!

Larry Sweeney

15:47 PM, 19th June 2019
About 6 months ago

Well if Shelter were really interested they could have bonded these two unfortunate bodies, but as we all know Shelter wont do that.

Mark Alexander

16:03 PM, 19th June 2019
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Larry Sweeney at 19/06/2019 - 15:47
Why would they want to do that when they can invest their hard earned donations into demonizing the very people who actually provide shelter?

Appalled Landlord

17:22 PM, 19th June 2019
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark Alexander at 19/06/2019 - 16:03
Hi Mark

Hard earned is right. The last set of accounts
showed that Shelter received donations and legacies of £36.9 million, but spent £11.7 million on obtaining them. One would have to work very hard indeed to spend £11.7 million.

Of the net £25.2m, £20m went on what they call housing services, although they don’t of course actually house anyone at all. That left £5.2m

Shelter shops brought in £9.0 million, but the staff working in them cost £3.6 million, and “other shop costs” were £4.8 million.  The net contribution was 532k, or 5.95% of sales – less than six pence in the pound from selling things that were given to them for nothing.

So if you gave them something nearly new that cost £100, and they sold it for say £20, the staff would get £8, the landlord, council and utility suppliers etc would get £10.67, leaving £1.33 to add to the coffers.

So not much of a contribution there, but together with the net donations and legacies it just about covered the £5.3 million spent on research, policy and campaigning. It’s a tough choice - bonding or demonizing.

Although Greg Beales claims that benefit claimants are no riskier than working tenants, Shelter cannot afford to take the risk that he might be wrong again.

Mark Alexander

17:37 PM, 19th June 2019
About 6 months ago

And if Shelter get their way with everything they want Krystyna and Geoff will be in a much worse position, because their landlords are likely to sell up and so will most of the others. The few that are left are likely to be far too picky to take on two people in their 50’s who have made no financial provisions for themselves, claim to be unable to find work and yet can afford rather a lot of clutter and a dog!

Hamish McBloggs

18:10 PM, 19th June 2019
About 6 months ago

Just a few disjointed thoughts

Can you imagine for a moment that things have not gone well and you are forced to sell and rent again? The thought horrifies me.

If you're made redundant in your 50's then finding more work is difficult. That is a simple and undeniable fact. It has nothing to do with the PRS. I can't help the steel industry in Wales or the strategic decisions of JLR not to produce all electric cars in the UK or Dyson to set up production in Malaysia. I personally cannot change the engrained ageist attitudes. I personally cannot change Dyson's market and supply driven decision.

This forum cannot change Dyson's decision either. But as business people here, if we study it, (I haven't), in an unbiased way we may find we agree.

I'm just imagining the potential hardships that may befall the small PRS landlords and their tenants in Scunthorpe if the latest rescue of our ailing steel industry runs out of legs. This sort of event would definitely affect rents and house prices and mobility more decisively locally than any legislation. A tenant being made redundant does not turn a landlord instantly from nice to grasping, but places a landlord in the unenviable position of suddenly being asked to stump up for the failings of the welfare system and potentially having to ask a family to go. It's shit.

For those who, for whatever reason, are in lower paying career trajectories, buying property and credit can be difficult or even unaffordable. We personally have had to 'cut our cloth' at times. Companies do this all the time; when trading is tenuous then redundancies happen otherwise potentially there is no company and everyone loses. And from this flows the shouting about self interested management, fat shareholders and is entirely understandable whilst in some cases probably being true. Or it could be self preservation, women and children first,,, sod that I can afford to save my family and I'm buying the lifeboat. We're only nice when we're not fighting for survival.

The trouble I feel exists is that the 'cloth' cannot be cut any more in some circumstances and this is something that has to be dealt with by a strategic, joined up thinking, listening, open government. Let's face it, what ever side of the Brexit fence you are, the debate last night didn't help. It was all a load of wiff waff and in my mind the current relationship with local and central government has deteriorated and is now adversarial at best.

Affordability criteria either for PRS tenants or loans from major high street banks will less and less look at the circumstances but will look at the numbers. The multiples will increase to defend against risk. If the numbers don't work there can be no loan, hire purchase, new fridge on finance from Currys,,,,, in other words, it does not matter if you are DSS or not, if you don't meet the affordability test then you can't have it.

If you can't afford it but do get the loan then roll on the next banking crisis.

This sort of problem is not one that can be solved by tools such as rent controls. Controlling rents increases a landlord's risk thus incentivising investment elsewhere when there is insufficient social housing.

I have also struggled with the concept that we have a right to be where we want to be, grow up where we were born, stay near the children or vice versa. I felt that concept was implied. One and a half years as graduates and both Mrs Hamish and myself saw the writing on the wall so we proactively upped sticks and moved. To use the cloth cutting analogy, we resized the cloth by going somewhere cheaper. It took me away from my roots, our family support and networks of friends to a place we could find sufficient work and where the numbers worked. It was difficult even then to do this as graduates. We rented an appalling place with dodgy electrics and damp and in the middle of nowhere. We had to start again.

Needs must as they say but it never once crossed my mind that it was my right to be given a sufficiently well paid local job or otherwise be subsidised to stay.

Our own personal internal economic migration adventure then was tolerated (though I have always been considered a 'blow-in' by the village elders and once was not served in a local). But now global economic migration is being coupled with climate, war and political migration which is absolutely not tolerated at country level resulting further conflict, walls and is putting the EU concept under a lot of pressure.

If it gets wetter, will Carlisle become uninhabitable?

But, more locally, here in the UK we here are questioning, ne struggling with the movement of people from more wealthy areas to Norfolk and the Southwest and North East making it sensible for the migrants but increasingly difficult for the indigenous population. Add this to the financial pressures facing LA's and their finite housing budgets making us question in all sorts of ways at the practice of housing out of area where costs are lower. We then see protectionist policies developed. So, you want to buy a property in St Ives (Cornwall), or you want to build a residential home for your son on a tranche of your own land in Derbyshire but are only permitted to build a holiday home. 'Outsiders banned' from buying property in Exmoor, Peak District ... Ah, the Peaks, where property is eyed up by foreign investors and a problem the Government of Iceland is actively wrestling with as crypto-currency miners threaten to replace aluminium smelting and the employment it brings.

I'm not sure where I am going with this rudderless ramble but to finish it in the middle of a metaphorical field somewhere for the moment, it's not my fault that the market sets the rent in this area. It's not my fault if a person(s) do not meet the affordability test. Just because I've paid off my mortgage doesn't change the price; it enables me to maintain standards, rarely increase rents, permit slack in difficult times. It certainly doesn't mean I should give some of it away and it's not all profit spent on finer thing; I too have to eat. It's not my fault that the local rail service to London improved killing off small local business turning it towards dormitory village status whilst at the same time increasing house prices thus forcing 'locals' to move away. It's not my fault that getting employment in your 50's is difficult. I will stack shelves before suffering an attack of pride. It's not my fault that businesses move manufacturing and services to stay competitive and mitigate risk. It's not my fault that MP's get paid £80k p.a. to arse about for 3 years, ministers even more and the latest tranche of Don Quixote MEP's get €101k p.a. whilst the whole festering jamboree have an expense account on top with a value that starkly contrasts with the few pounds that would make a massive difference to some. Perhaps if they only 'lunched' twice a week and sent the money saved elsewhere?

Arguments have become entrenched, self-interested and tactical and intermingled with the politics of envy.

I too would consider these for a property. But just as the LA get narked if I don't pay my council tax, whatever their back story, someone has to pay the rent.

It's now wine o'clock

Hamish the Reasonable

Paul Shears

19:14 PM, 19th June 2019
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mike D at 19/06/2019 - 11:07
Whilst not arguing with the points above, both I and my highly qualified and experienced friends have any idea how to obtain employment of any kind via the internet or any other means.
Having spent decades on the other side of the fence looking for employees, I have had, and still have, far less success finding employees now than I have ever had.
The recruitment mechanism in this country simply does not work unless you "know" somebody.
Had I not realised this decades ago, I might well have not taken the risks that I took in life to cover my back and avoid the situation that these people have arrived at. Yes they failed to take responsibility for their own interests which, as far as I have seen, is pretty normal throughout society. But as far as I can see, they are finished. I make the same observations about previous and current, tenants, friends, relatives, neighbours and associates. Many of these people can accurately be described as highly educated, qualified, hard working and possessing the best of human qualities.


21:04 PM, 19th June 2019
About 6 months ago

Obfuscated Data
1 2 3 7

Leave Comments

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

Forgotten your password?



Tory Landslide - Landlord Reactions

The Landlords Union

Become a Member, it's FREE

Our mission is to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords, tenants and letting agents

Learn More