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

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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



Appalled Landlord

17:27 PM, 27th June 2019
About 6 months ago

I’ve just noticed that Shelter has not only deleted all the comments under the video - they must all have been negative - but it has disabled the facility to leave any further comments.

This is an admission that the video, uploaded on 17 June and widely derided, was an error of judgment

The video is part of Greg Beales’s campaign against No DSS adverts. He is Shelter’s director of Communications, Policy and Campaigns. He is a former Downing Street adviser to Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and formerly Director of Strategy and Planning for the Labour Party.

BBC News had published an article about the couple on 9 May, but it didn’t mention No DSS The headline was “Benefit cuts 'have made private renting unaffordable'”.

The thrust was that HB is too low and does not cover the rent. That is why Krystyna and Geoff could not find a property to rent through an agent.

“Krystyna and Geoff Boswell receive about £93 a week to help with the cost of renting in north Cornwall. However, their rent is £160 a week and the rest of the money has to come from their disability benefits.”
John Stewart, policy manager for the Residential Landlords Association, said: "If a landlord can rent a property at the full market rate they will be more likely to choose the tenant who is not on benefits.”

Greg Beales ignores this logic and, like Canute, is trying to turn back the tide of benefit tenants who are being being decanted from the PRS as a consequence of Section 24 and all the other attacks on the PRS.

Shelter did not find accommodation for this couple (they heard about the cottage through a Methodist church) but it saw an opportunity to exploit the story as part of its futile campaign. The “charity” not only jumped on the bandwagon, it hijacked same. How many donations were used up in the making of the film, I wonder.

Shameless and counter-productive. Well done, Greg!

H Priory Homes

11:38 AM, 12th July 2019
About 5 months ago

did they forget to mention that they have a few dogs and cats as well? {as seen in video} i don't allow pets in my properties is this shelters next discrimination campaign?

Freda Blogs

12:30 PM, 14th July 2019
About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by H Priory Homes at 12/07/2019 - 11:38
With a 5-week deposit cap, I think the government have effectively ended that opportunity - it’s too risky – and another unintended consequence of the Government’s ill-conceived anti landlord legislation.
I allowed in tenants with a dog (I have one myself, so I felt it hypocritical not to), and per Dog's Trust advice, I took a large deposit and non-refundable cleaning fee. The tenants have just moved out and although the property looked superficially clean, there is a huge amount of black dog hair hidden in the carpet (revealed accidentally), so a deep clean is required - conventional cleaning is inadequate. Luckily, I have the pet cleaning deposit and I think I have escaped lightly, there is limited other damage. I won’t be allowing pets in the future if I can’t take an appropriate deposit. The only other way round it is to charge a higher monthly rent, so once again, everyone loses.

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