Shelter: single mothers, bullying and how to delay eviction

Shelter: single mothers, bullying and how to delay eviction

9:45 AM, 12th October 2018, About 5 years ago 30

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Polly Neate, CEO of Shelter, was on the Victoria Derbyshire programme on Wednesday. The subject was homeless single mothers. These people are of great importance to  Shelter because it hopes to use them to get a court ruling that discrimination against claimants of housing benefit is unlawful, based on the following argument: a ban on HB claimants (both male and female) is indirect sex discrimination against women because there are more of them. I know, you couldn’t make it up!

Shelter helped to sue a single-branch agency for indirect sex discrimination, but settled out of court. This shows they had little confidence in the strength of its case, but it managed to bully the agency into paying an HB claimant £2,000 in compensation for some unexplained and hard to imagine loss or suffering. You can see how weak the case was click here.

As part of a press release in August on its mystery shopper exercise, Shelter stated that “No DSS policies could amount to indirect discrimination because women, especially single mothers, and people with disabilities, are more likely to rely on housing benefit to top up their rent.”

In the press release, Polly Neate wrote “Rejecting all housing benefit tenants is morally bankrupt” click here.

The same day Shelter’s well-fed Director of Communications, Policy & Campaigns, Greg Beales, said on TV “Our intent over the next few months is to bring a series of test cases to ask the courts to look at this closely ……to ask them to say it’s unlawful.” click here

Polly’s explanation on Wednesday’s programme for why there are so many homeless single mothers was that they tended to be poor, and that we are not building enough social housing.

Some people may think that the very existence of many single mothers is due to the fact that councils must provide accommodation for them. Pregnancy used to be the key to getting a council flat. The reason why so many of them are now in temporary accommodation (which means that they are officially described as homeless) is because there isn’t enough social housing for them.

Two single mothers appeared on the programme, about 38.5 minutes in: click here

One, a young woman with a child on her knee, complained about her temporary accommodation. She said she had left college this year to start university.

The BBC website said the mother is 21-year-old student teacher and her daughter is two: click here

Nobody asked why she thought it a good idea as a student to get pregnant and have a child without support from the father. Of course not, in these modern times no-one is expected to take responsibility.  Society will look after them.  The State will provide.

The other single mother was middle-aged, and had lived in a house for 13 years. She described how her landlord gave her a Section 21 notice in November 2016 because he wanted to sell. (She didn’t say whether it was because of Section 24).  She said she followed the council’s instruction to ignore the notice – and the court order – and wait for the bailiffs, and was then left with the bailiffs‘ bill and the court’s bill.

On its website Shelter gives the same advice that her council did:  ”Only court bailiffs can evict you from your home.” it says. click here

That page provides a video of the story of Lyndsay, a benefits claimant.  She had lived in a house with her two children for four years, and her landlady had informed her a few months before the S 21 that she intended to sell, and confirmed it two weeks before issuing the notice. (She didn’t say whether it was because of Section 24.)

A housing officer at the council spotted a problem with her section 21 notice, making it invalid. “Lyndsay’s landlord had to send a second section 21 notice, which gave her another two months in her home.”

Lyndsay stayed past the expiry date on the second section 21 notice, meaning her landlady had to start court action. The court sent her a possession order four months later.

She was given six weeks to leave her home – an extension of the usual two weeks that’s sometimes given. However, she was ordered to pay £400 in court costs, because there was no legal reason to stop her eviction.”

There was “no legal reason to stop her eviction”, but the owner’s desire to dispose of the property was frustrated for seven and a half months.

Shelter’s web page states “The court can decide to:

  • dismiss the case if the section 21 notice isn’t valid
  • order you to leave if the notice is valid”

So anyone who has checked with Shelter that the section 21 notice is valid is just wasting the time of the court and the landlord by not leaving when the notice expires, because the result is a foregone conclusion. Worse still, ignoring the possession order from the court wastes more of the landlord’s time and money. If the tenant does not pay rent during this period of limbo, the landlord is at risk of having the property re-possessed by the lender.

That is really what is morally bankrupt, Polly, to use your words. So is your campaign to harass the agency Ludlow Thompson by inciting your supporters to make nuisance calls.

“Thousands of Shelter supports have contacted Ludlow Thompson’s head office to demand that it stamps out discrimination against renters on housing benefit.

“Ludlow hasn’t responded to a single message. Now we’re ramping up the pressure.

“We need you to call Ludlow Thompson directly and help us force the issue.

“If enough of us ring and flood the phone lines, Ludlow Thompson won’t be able to ignore us.” click here

Click here to down load Property Industry Eye pdf of the Shelter instructions.

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19:37 PM, 13th October 2018, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Bill Williams at 13/10/2018 - 11:15Legitimate "theft" and here's why :
(Copied from an article on Landlord Referencing)
"An article by inside housing examined the figures from 290 local authorities and calculated that last year alone, local councils’ temporary accommodation spend neared £1bn (£937m).
With this figure being reported as a 56% increase in just 5 years, we can’t help but think this is part of the repercussion resulting from years of chipping away at private landlords’ incomes, rights and support.
The pressure that the Government has placed on the sector has meant that more and more landlords are calling time on their rental properties and selling up. Or they’ve decided that they need to protect their shrinking incomes further by letting only to tenants with a glowing credit rating and putting an outright ban on DSS tenants.
This in turn has resulted in a simple supply and demand issue where there just aren’t enough rental properties to go around, especially for those on housing benefits. So, when councils can’t find an available council property, and there’s no private rentals to turn to, they have to fork out for B&B’s, hotels and guest houses to keep families off the street – to the tune of one Billion pounds.
Q – So, who pays for this money down the drain?
A – Every. Single. Tax. Payer!"
Landlords are being made financially responsible for the UK governments inability to address a mounting problem of their own making.
And that is why Council/Shelter resort to the illegal and immoral stance of advising bad tenants to remain in situ without paying rent until the Bailiffs arrive.
The above amount would otherwise double.

Larry Sweeney

23:50 PM, 13th October 2018, About 5 years ago

Agreed . The current situation is a joke. I have said that one of the first tasks of the new alliance will be to fight to change the regime post posession order.
Please keep pledging. We hope to have our website up around 1 Nov for our launch. The new Alliance will be completely different that I assure readers. No more pussyfooting and ineffectual lobbying .No more selling silly courses and insulting landlords with plaitiudes. Join us we need you. Its all about the numbers. Take a chance on us.


20:18 PM, 14th October 2018, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Larry Sweeney at 13/10/2018 - 23:50
Not post possession. PRE possession.


20:58 PM, 15th October 2018, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 12/10/2018 - 11:39
Not an expert on this but I've suffered due to this. From my research I believe it is legally wrong (a tort) for anyone (council / shelter) to interfere in a legally valid contract between 2 other parties. If so is their constant and systemic interference an avenue for us to pursue?


21:02 PM, 15th October 2018, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by John Frith at 12/10/2018 - 14:17
"What's so attractive about Council accommodation .... "

It's the Holy Grail for them. It's cheap (well below market rent), It's guaranteed for your life and the life of your off spring!, it's maintenance and responsibility free (want a new kitchen - no problem, just abuse and ruin the old one and tell them what colour you want).


21:13 PM, 15th October 2018, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 12/10/2018 - 11:39
"Does anyone have a test case?"

I took my District Council to the Ombudsman and they found in my favour. Sort of. The person sitting behind the desk at my District Council calling themselves the Councils Homelessness Advisor turned out to be contracted by the COUNTY Council. And my complaint was made against the district council so was invalid. In their final response to the Ombudsman my District Council is shocked and appalled that this person could give out such bad advice from within their offices but it is unable to do anything at all as they are separate organisation and outside of their control. So they still allow them to sit their and dish out the same appalling advice several years later. LOL

John Frith

12:19 PM, 16th October 2018, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 12/10/2018 - 11:39I wonder if it would be possible to raise a Landlord's class action against Shelter / CAB to claim damages for the consequences of their advice for delinquent tenants to wait for the bailiffs to evict them?
If, in the process, they were to come clean on their dubious motives for thinking this "helps" the tenants - that would be a bonus.


13:19 PM, 16th October 2018, About 5 years ago

Apart from the endemic anti-landlord culture espoused by Council/Shelter/CAB one has to return again and again to the growing shortage of available social housing. This fiasco is directly or indirectly a result of this political ideology and entrenched bias but it doesn't alter the fact. Private landlords have become captive to the burden of housing benefit tenants for free. The advice to remain in situ is illegal but has become procedural because no-one challenges it.
Ironically and perversely Council/Shelter/CAB have created the obstacles they are mandated to manage. Not only do landlords shy away from dealing with them as they are problematic in themselves - but we avoid their tenants.
A cleaner, faster process needs to be implemented by law for landlords to gain repossession of their property - especially in the face of mounting rental arrears and property damage.
I've grown tired of the meme that I should be "thankful" I got my unit back in 8 months even with a GBP20 00 plus loss in rent and damages.
Which other business would that apply to without the perpetrator facing the might of the law and/or enjoying the recidivistic right to continue to behave so.

Appalled Landlord

16:10 PM, 8th June 2019, About 4 years ago

Interesting programme showing how girls who fell out with their families and became pregnant got free accommodation and were then offered social housing after a few months.

“This film follows the ups and downs of a group of young women who, with nowhere else to go, are temporarily living in a mother and baby hostel in Luton. With support from staff, they are able to forge friendships, come to terms with the past and begin to rebuild their lives, before eventually being placed in a permanent council home. ”

terry sullivan

17:36 PM, 8th June 2019, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by DALE ROBERTS at 13/10/2018 - 19:37
correction-every single private sector taxpayer

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