Shelter research playing on fears

Shelter research playing on fears

0:01 AM, 15th January 2020, About 2 years ago 8

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Responding to new research published by Shelter today, the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) says that no one should feel ill or stressed as a result of their housing situation, whether that it is in the private or social rented sectors or in the home ownership market.

The RLA however urges caution on groups claiming to represent tenants who might be fuelling stress felt by them by giving the false impression that landlords spend all their time looking for ways to evict their tenants or increase their rents.

Rather than relying on limited sample, one-off polls where the questions may be loaded, the RLA points to official statistics which show that:

  • 84% of private sector tenants are very or fairly satisfied with their current accommodation, a higher proportion than tenants in the social rented sector.
  • Private sector tenants live in the same rental properties for an average of 4.1 years.
  • The proportion of private rented housing with at least one of the most dangerous ‘Category 1’ hazards has halved over the last ten years to 14%.
  • The amount that tenants in private rented housing are paying in rent as a proportion of their income is falling, whilst in the social rented sector it is increasing.
  • Almost 90% of tenancies brought to an end are done so by the tenant, not the landlord.

David Smith, Policy Director for the RLA, said:

“We accept that, unfortunately, some private sector tenants will feel unhappy and stressed as a result of their housing but the same will apply to many social housing tenants and owner occupiers. We accept also that not all landlords are perfect but the objective assessment is that the overwhelming majority of private sector tenants are satisfied with their accommodation and enjoy a good relationship with their landlord.

“It is vital that tenant groups properly reflect this, rather than stoking fears that tenants are about to be evicted for no apparent reason, live in sub-standard accommodation and are charged exorbitant rents. This is simply not true and it is irresponsible to suggest so.

“We do all we can to support landlords to provide high standard, secure and affordable tenancies and we call on tenant organisations to work with us to help achieve this and root out the bad landlords that none of us wishes to see in the market.”

Shelter’s Press Release:

2 million renters in England made ill by housing worries

Almost one in four private renters – equivalent to 2 million adults – have felt physically ill or sick because of housing problems or worries in the last year, shocking research by Shelter reveals today.

The new study from Shelter and YouGov shows the dramatic impact that housing worries like affording the rent, poor conditions and the threat of eviction are having on people’s physical and mental health.

A staggering 45% of private renters (or 3.8 million adults) have experienced stress and anxiety as a direct result of their housing concerns, with nearly one in three (2.8 million adults) saying this has kept them awake at night. Distressingly, almost the same number of renters said their housing situation had left them feeling hopeless (2.7 million adults).

At a time of year that can be difficult and bleak for many, Shelter is urging anyone who is feeling overwhelmed by their housing problems to get in touch for free and expert advice by visiting

As well as the many advice pages on its website, the leading housing charity operates a free web-chat service, emergency national helpline, and face-to-face services across the country.

Shelter emergency helpline manager Andrea Deakin said: “This time of year can be especially stressful and difficult for families who are struggling to cope with big rent bills, or things like cold and mouldy homes during the winter months.

“Every day at Shelter we see the toll that expensive, unstable or poor-quality private renting can take on people’s lives and their health. We know how easy it can be to lose hope and feel overwhelmed by these worries, but our message is that you do not have to face them alone.

“People all over the country will be experiencing the same housing heartache, and there’s no shame in asking for help. Shelter’s services are open 365 days a year, and with the continued support of the public we will do all we can to be there for everyone who needs us.”

Shelter is also asking those who can afford to do so, to support its Winter Appeal and raise vital funds for the charity’s frontline services as they work to help the people worst affected by the housing emergency.

Claire Newton, 41, her husband and two children were renting in Poole and had severe problems with disrepair. They received a Section 21 ‘no fault’ eviction from their landlord and subsequently became homeless when they couldn’t find another home they could afford. The family was placed in temporary accommodation by the council, but they have since moved into a housing association home.

“We went through hell fighting for repairs to be done and then we got an eviction notice. I was in a mess and couldn’t function properly. Everything felt like it was going wrong. I already had problems with my mental health and suffered from post-natal depression following the birth of my first child.

“The worst bit was when I was trying to get the landlord to fix the issues in the kitchen. It was falling apart – cupboard doors would come off in my hands when I was trying to open them. I asked them to have a look at it and they just said, ‘it’s fine, it’s still functional’. How can you expect people to live like that? You get to the point where you don’t want to invite people to your home because it’s embarrassing so you start feeling isolated and less sociable. You feel like you’re not worthy.

“And we were paying a lot for the privilege – £900 a month – but we were still evicted. It was a painful experience and so awful. There’s no reason for people to have to go through that.”


by Dr Rosalind Beck

9:32 AM, 15th January 2020, About 2 years ago

Excellent rebuttal of Shelter's scaremongering. This is the message that needs repeated hammering home.

by Bill O'Dell

10:25 AM, 15th January 2020, About 2 years ago

So good to hear the RLA as the voice of reason. Shelter have always been scaremongering anti landlord and supporters of tenants who often behave unfairly so very happy to hear this.
Rosalind is right this needs wider coverage

by Chris @ Possession Friend

10:59 AM, 15th January 2020, About 2 years ago

Good to see a Landlord organisation actually speaking out against Shelter, at last and Not before time !
There has been a Petition against the so-called charity's CEO being nominated for a New Years Honour, and ;
An article by the Daily Mail highlighting Shelters support for Squatters ! and 'proudly' (sic) confirming they do not provide food or accommodation by Legally challenge and campaign to change Government policy !
It take quite some time to read all the negative comments against Shelter posted on the Daily Mail's article

by The Forever Tenant

11:59 AM, 15th January 2020, About 2 years ago

It would appear that the Vitriol towards landlords that Shelter seems to put forth is misdirected based on previous actions of tenancy agencies instead.

Prior to the TFA, there were often cases of Tenancy Agencies sending out a Sec21 notice 10 months into a 12 month contract stating that we want you to sign up for this new Tenancy agreement at this higher rent. Or you had Agencies doing mass mailings to an area stating that landlords should put their rents up.

Now as a tenant, I originally thought that the Agent is working under the instructions of the Landlord and thus my disgust at the situation was facing, whereas I now suspect that the Agent was simply doing it to get new fees for the renewal and get more money from the increased rent.

So now we have a generation of people who believe that Landlords are to blame and I think it's going to take quite some time for tenants to understand the services you provide.

by Luke P

12:06 PM, 15th January 2020, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by The Forever Tenant at 15/01/2020 - 11:59
Possible one of the most balanced comments of yours, Forever Tenant.

I am an agent and knew this went on (I actually had a brief spell of renting myself between moving house and experienced this first-hand and called their bluff...they never got rid of me, but also didn't get their re-sign fees, though I only needed six months more and could've strung it out if they'd pressed ahead as they were severely lacking in experience and made numerous errors), but it is something we have never done...not least of all because the hassle and headache of both preparing the paperwork and getting all the tenants/guarantors back in to sign.

by Chris @ Possession Friend

12:20 PM, 15th January 2020, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 15/01/2020 - 12:06
As a Landlord Advisor & Trainer, I can vouch for many Landlords being 'less than au fait' with the protocol and procedure around 're'-letting.
As Luke says, I've no doubt some ( not all ) Agents were asking Tenants to sign new Fixed Term Tenancy agreement ( often-times without a Rent increase ) so the Agent could attract a renewal of tenancy fee. In fact I've had an Agent try this one on me. ! I said the tenancy would just continue as a Statutory Periodic Tenancy. Yes, the Tenant can give one months Notice, but so can the landlord ( Two months )

by Neil Patterson

13:49 PM, 15th January 2020, About 2 years ago

I have now added the actual Shelter press release in the main article.

by David Lawrenson

16:32 PM, 15th January 2020, About 2 years ago

Yes, a very neat succinct rebuttal from the RLA setting out the facts.
(RLA was always the slightly better of the two main landlords organisations (now merging) at this sort of straight PR message).

Re other comments re letting agencies trying to bounce landlords to put up rents and /or issue a new fixed term tenancy, I'm afraid this is still widespread among some rapacious agents and it is often done to generate extra fees for the agent from the landlords.

Newbie landlords are often none the wiser, knowing nothing about statutory periodic tenancies.

It really highlights the need for even hands off landlords to understand the basics of letting, different sorts of tenancies and the scope and limits of what a letting agent can and should be doing for them. If they don't they risk being milked by some letting agents.

David Lawrenson
Author "Successful Property Letting - How to Make Money in Buy to Let"

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