Is Shelter liable for criminal activities?

by Readers Question

9:21 AM, 22nd November 2018
About 3 weeks ago

Is Shelter liable for criminal activities?

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Is Shelter liable for criminal activities?

Is Shelter somehow liable for the criminal activities activities it encourages? If Shelter encourage and facilitate tenants staying in properties without paying rent (and those sorts of activities), are they not encouraging criminal behavior? Are they not then accomplices and can be held accountable? Could they then be taken to court in some capacity?

A tenant and a landlord have a contract/AST. Shelter as a 3rd party is encouraging the tenant to break that contract/act in away, and damaging a 3rd parties interest ie the landlord, and it knows full well the consequences of its actions (so they wouldn’t be able to cry ignorance) as they are usually trying to make sure the tenant is made homeless, and not voluntarily homeless (which means the tenant is also attempting to ‘gain’ an outcome at the detriment of the landlord).

Could the landlord not have some recourse against Shelter for interfering in the contract? This has been done at such scale, could it not invite a class action (I’m not a lawyer so don’t know the correct phrasing but would have thought there is something here)?

Usually there is the notion that parties need to take steps to minimize “losses” that may occur in any compensation event. Shelter encourage the opposite through “don’t pay rent and stay til the bailiffs come”, or seek to find administrative loop holes to frustrate the process ie was “How to Rent” guide etc issued invalidating any notice served.

So from the point that Shelter are involved with a delinquent tenant, could they not be liable for subsequent loses incurred by the landlord? These are going to be easy to quantify as landlord didn’t get rent and couldn’t “minimize their loss” as landlord couldn’t gain possession due to tenant following Shelters advice. Maybe there could be further ‘damages’ they are liable for as the property becomes further damaged/any repairs take time and incur further lost rent.

Small Landlord



Comments

AA

12:25 PM, 22nd November 2018
About 2 weeks ago

It's a civil issue.

H B

22:01 PM, 22nd November 2018
About 2 weeks ago

"are they not encouraging criminal behavior?"
No. The end.

Annie Landlord

13:23 PM, 23rd November 2018
About 2 weeks ago

No. They are operating entirely within the parameters of the law. The legislation is flawed but not Shelter’s advice

John Frith

17:09 PM, 23rd November 2018
About 2 weeks ago

I am not convinced by the replies above. I do understand that to dismiss a behaviour as "a civil matter" is a convenient excuse for the CPS to avoid admitting any responsibility.
I'm not a legal expert so I cannot argue the difference between criminal damage and civil damage, but I know Mark Alexander has often argued that if a tenant purposely damages a property that is should be treated as criminal damage. I know this is a different point, but they are related / similar.
In any case, even if it is a civil matter, the argument for compensation from Shelter surely still applies? I did a quick search, and it appears to me that one can still have class action in civil matters.

Encouraging people to break contracts can't be fair or reasonable.

Luke Roxberg

17:49 PM, 23rd November 2018
About 2 weeks ago

I wonder if this is something the insurance industry could be dragged into on the landlord side? How many of them have had to pay out rent guarantee insurance and excessive sums (running contrary to loss minimization) because Shelter advised tenants on how to stay longer.

Luke Roxberg

18:03 PM, 23rd November 2018
About 2 weeks ago

Would Shelter not have a duty of care to all parties if it is offering advice? Maybe a freedom of request could be made for the contract between Shelter and the government. A legal eye could be cast over it to see descripencies between what the goals of the contract are and what is occurring. If they are found, the government would have to take it seriously as could it not be viewed as "fraudlent" if Shelter are receiving public funds and not providing services as required.
Given the language and factual inaccuracies in Shelters operations, and the vitrial language used, are they not discriminating against landlords as a group, and hence be pursued under antidiscriminatory legislation? While the public perception of landlords that has been created is negative, that does absolve Shelter from it, actually would be evidence against them. If you replaced 'landlord' with any other group in some of their statements, they would be seriously questioned and their would be outcry. Why is it ok to do it to landlords, could it not be construed as "hate speech"?

Chris Daniel

22:31 PM, 23rd November 2018
About 2 weeks ago

I think a point worth making is that the Hoimelessness Act 2017 has stated quite clearly that Local Authorities should NOT be doing ( what they've been told not to before by 2 Housing Ministers, but continue ) to advise tenants to remain in the property until a court order or bailiff evicts.
The Homelessness Act and advice to L.A's makes clear that this incurs extra debt payments in costs and delays court business.
It is rather a contradiction then, that govt fund Shelter to the tune of £18 million to provide 'Advice' to the homeless, which is contrary to that which its instructed its local govt ( L.A's ) to comply with.
Personally, I think the government knows exactly what's going on. ! ( as I've recently said, Shelter are nothing but paid Agents to do their bidding. ) - but wouldn't hurt to put that to our M.P's

John Frith

23:02 PM, 23rd November 2018
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke Roxberg at 23/11/2018 - 18:03Unfortunately Landlords are not a "protected characteristic". See:
https://www.gov.uk/discrimination-your-rights
Types of discrimination ('protected characteristics').
It is against the law to discriminate against anyone because of:
age
gender reassignment
being married or in a civil partnership
being pregnant or on maternity leave
disability
race including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin
religion or belief
sex
sexual orientation

Note that financial status is not a protected characteristic, so we are, fortunately, allowed to select tenants based on whether they can afford to pay.

Chris Daniel

23:37 PM, 23rd November 2018
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by John Frith at 23/11/2018 - 23:02
Your right John, Landlords are a ' Persecuted ' characteristic, not a protected one.

Luke P

0:25 AM, 24th November 2018
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke Roxberg at 23/11/2018 - 18:03
I know as far as Citizens Advice Bureau is concerned (also a recipient of Govt. funding like Shelter) they refuse to assist LLs, as a recent client of mine was not only turned away by CAB but actually *directed* to our offices (we’re opposite them on the same high street) as ‘someone who might be able to help…we don’t advise landlords!’

Are LLs not citizens now??


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