13:43 PM, 1st August 2017, About 5 years ago 13
A sure sign that a person or organisation knows they are wrong is when they cannot answer to the truth and instead silence their critics. Shelter is currently doing this to anyone who raises serious questions about their remit and activities.
In the last week alone several landlords have been blocked by Shelter from commenting on their Facebook page. One was warned that he was not to mention the name of the new Chief Executive (Polly Neate). Why he should not mention her name is unclear, but he was blocked swiftly after this episode.
Clearly Shelter just wants ‘yes’ people to comment on their page; they happily answer anyone who has anything negative to say about landlords, try to project themselves as ‘caring’ and helpful (even though they provide no shelter so are of very limited practical use) and their campaigns are primarily focused on casting aspersions about private landlords and proposing further restrictive policies for the PRS. They have even implied that we should provide free housing to tenants for 5 years in order for them to build up a deposit.
They’re the ‘charity’ (with a massive budget every year, which in my view they squander and use for destructive ends); we’re not a charity – we have to get the rent in to cover all the costs of running our service provision and we need some profit as well as that is payment for our work and what many of us live off. Social landlords also need to get the rent in; Shelter thinks that’s okay, but it’s not okay for us.
What’s more, they have never explained why they only target private landlords and not social landlords as well. If they want to be negative and destructive why be so selective about it? We all know that the problems in the social sector are far weightier and urgent. Why not deflect even more attention away from the fact that they provide no housing by attacking other providers of housing too?
I have already analysed some of the reasons why I believe they have the focus they do here:
Shelter (and now, it would appear, also the Joseph Rowntree Foundation under the new stewardship of the former Shelter boss, Campbell Robb) seem to think that criticising private landlords and constantly proposing new regulations for the PRS ‘helps’ tenants. Their support of Section 24 is a clear example of how they are so hooked on their anti-private landlord agenda that they won’t admit how taxing a business at potentially infinite rates will lead to increased charges for the service.
So although they are now beginning to see how rents are rising (they say they’re ‘soaring;’ they always say that even though up until recently rents rose largely in line with inflation), still they don’t reverse their position on s24. They see how homelessness is rising amongst those with the lowest incomes and they don’t put 2 and 2 together that landlords have to ‘phase out’ tenants with the least means as s24 is ‘phased in’. We predicted two years ago that this would happen and we have also explained why it is now coming to pass, here:
Shelter is in a mess and they need to be confronted with these facts. Naturally, it is now tricky for some of us to expose this, having been ‘banned’ from their Facebook page, so I throw down the gauntlet to others:
PLEASE CHALLENGE SHELTER’S POLICIES ON THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE. KEEP IT LOGICAL AND NON-ABUSIVE. EXPLAIN TO THEM HOW THEY ARE WRONG. AND IF YOU GET BANNED SEE IT AS A BADGE OF HONOUR THAT THEY CANNOT HANDLE REASONED ARGUMENT.
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