Does the truth not matter to Shelter?

Does the truth not matter to Shelter?

8:31 AM, 4th September 2018, About 6 years ago 11

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Does the truth not matter to Shelter, or does the end justify the means?

Shelter recently issued a document in partnership with the National Housing Federation (NHF) called “Stop DSS discrimination”

I quoted this at length, and linked to it, last week: Click Here

On page 7, under Rosie’s story, is the following paragraph:

“Rosie’s former line of work in employment law spurred her on, and she decided to fight this unfair treatment by the letting agent – taking legal action against them on the grounds of indirect discrimination on the grounds of her sex. This is supported by Shelter’s analysis of official figures, which show that single mothers are more likely to claim housing benefit in the private rented sector.”

This did not ring true. For decades, getting pregnant was the key to getting a council flat. How come there are now more single mothers in the PRS?

On page 6 Shelter said that 95% of single parents receiving housing benefit are female, but it does not analyse this percentage by tenure. It is probably not a surprise to anyone that in most cases the children live with their mothers rather than their fathers. Has Shelter misunderstood statistics again, like they did in the press release? Click Here

One of the release’s Notes to Editors reads:

“The figures for the number of women on housing benefit were calculated using caseload data published by the Department for Work and Pensions. Data analysis is from the 12 months to February 2018. The 60% of adults on housing benefit who are women is the number of adult women in a household with a housing benefit claim. 52% of households claiming housing benefit were single women.  95% of single parent households claiming housing benefit are led by a woman.”

I looked for the February figures but they have been superseded by those for May 2018: Click Here

In May 2018 there were 4,177,820 HB claimants in Great Britain.  2,942,491 (70.4%) were in the social rented sector (SRS) and 1,232,482 (29.5%) in the PRS.  They do not sum to 100% because the tenure type of some claimants is unknown, according to the guidance notes.

If 70% of all claimants are in the SRS, how come Shelter’s analysis of official figures shows that “single mothers are more likely to claim housing benefit in the private rented sector.”?

How does the 70:30 ratio for all claimants turn into 49:51 for single mothers?

Table 9a of the government spreadsheet shows that there were 927,008 single females with dependent children. They are not analysed by tenure. There is no evidence there for Shelter’s claim.

If only half of them, 463,504, were in the PRS, they would comprise 37.6% of it. The other half would comprise 15.8% of the social sector.  The overall ratio of 70:30 would have been turned on its head into 16:38 for single mothers.  If it is true, why is Shelter not suing its friends in the NHF for discrimination against single mothers? Because it is simply not true.

I downloaded data from DWP Stat-Xplore, the source that Shelter said it used for the following statistic in the introduction:

“With more people relying on private renting, the sector has more than doubled in size in the last two decades: there are now 11.5 million private renters in England. The type of people living in it is also changing, with private renting quickly becoming the only option for many families with children.

“Sadly, it is these families who are frequently the worst affected by discriminatory policies, as almost half of private renting households who receive housing benefit are families”

I discovered that it depends what you mean by families. ‘Families with children’, i.e. couples with children, comprised only only 16.6% of households claiming HB in the PRS. Single mothers with children comprised 28.7% and single fathers 1.5%.

The DWP data analyses HB claimants by tenure and within tenure into couples, single males and single females.  It also does the same for claimants without children. Deducting one from the other gives a similar analysis of HB households with children.

The results are in the table below.  This shows that Shelter’s claim that “single mothers are more likely to claim housing benefit in the private rented sector”, is a falsehood.  Only 38% are in the PRS and 62% are in the social rented sector. Exactly the same percentages apply to single fathers.

The following table analyses HB claimants by tenure, gender and parental responsibility

So the ratio is 62:38.  Yes, that makes more sense, I wonder why Shelter did not notice.

I showed last week how Shelter’s press release was misleading, and how it got BBC News channel to say that “Five of England’s leading letting agents are discriminating against tenants on housing benefit”, even though their own survey showed that only a tiny minority of branches did, and it was against company policy.  Presumably this slander was repeated all day on the BBC News channel, it usually repeats bulletins once an hour at least.

The same day, Shelter’s Director of communication claimed on the Victoria Derbyshire programme that “I mean I actually think facts show that people on benefits are very good tenants.(with an emphatic shake of his head), landlords make as much profit from people who are on benefits as landlords make from people who aren’t on benefits”. Click Here

That would have brought a hollow laugh from landlords whose tenants spent the rent money on other things and were then advised by Shelter to ignore court procedures and wait for the bailiffs for a few more rent-free months after the landlord tried to get them out.  Landlords can’t afford this kind of tenant – they are not charities.  Who was he trying to kid?  The naive public?

In the press release Polly Neate wrote “Rejecting all housing benefit tenants is morally bankrupt”.  No, it isn’t.  It is not immoral to avoid doing business with a risky category of customer, it is sensible.  Every HB claimant is going to be switched to universal credit.  Even you must be aware of what a disaster that has been, Polly, with weeks or months of delays in payment, and arbitrary deductions.  If you’re not aware, have a look at the comments below this article: Click Here

Make sure you read the fifth comment. It is from a landlord who used to take HB claimants, but who no longer can do so. He wants you to contact him so that he can explain the reasons.

Last week Polly Neate confused deposit deductions with letting fees: Click Here

Do you not know the difference Polly?  Have a look at the comments below that article as well.

What is morally bankrupt, Polly, is Shelter repeatedly deceiving the public.  Shelter seems to have lost its moral compass, which is bringing the charity into disrepute.

If it is just the means to an end, what end is Shelter aiming for, with its stream of anti-PRS initiatives and propaganda? 

Is it to drive decent landlords out of the market and increase the number of homeless people, the very people that Shelter does not provide any shelter for?

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Roger P

9:42 AM, 4th September 2018, About 6 years ago

Send this as a press release to Vicky Derbyshire, the Grauniad and all others who peddle their tripe


9:49 AM, 4th September 2018, About 6 years ago

"What is morally bankrupt, Polly, is Shelter repeatedly deceiving the public. Shelter seems to have lost its moral compass, which is bringing the charity into disrepute."- Sorry to disagree with some of your comments in again a great piece of analysis. First of all, to line your own pockets you have to engage in deception .
Secondly you have to have a moral compass to begin with to lose it. Thirdly - it's not a charity. When you take money in for a cause and you take a slice for yourself ( and you don't qualify for the reasons the money was donated for) that is called theft in my books. Naïve or what ? Maybe, but deep down you know I am right😊


12:17 PM, 4th September 2018, About 6 years ago

If Shelter comes up with a figure of 95% of single parents are women, does it also know that many of them are in some form of secret relationship? Does Shelter know that these so called single parents actually live a secret life and have some form of relationship with someone, choosing to live separately for the convenience of claiming benefits which if they were living together would not entitle them to do so, yes we landlords do know this and happens so often, where landlords end up suffering losses because of their housing benefit cuts when Authorities find out their secret relationship existed, so when their housing benefit is taken away guess what and who suffers, not their life style, they still go to cinemas, take foreign holidays, continue to shop for stylish clothes, run cars, afford pets, but least on their list of priorities is the rent. this is all because of our horrible discriminating law that protects irresponsible tenants and so if the law discriminates against landlords, they first need to sort their own discrimination first before accusing landlords of discriminating with DHSS tenants. After suffering big losses because of these types of tenants, I have wowed never ever to take any more of benefit tenants, and by that I mean single parents, and they do have secret relationships which they will naturally deny as it is too lucrative for them to live seperate but still stay in relationship and go out together and spend m,any nights together. I have seen it all, but Shelter is living in cuckoo land, and their staff and directors are on that same stuff that benefit tenants are , i.e. living off handouts and having life full of fun, claiming working tax credit, child tax credit, child minding costs those who work part time to justify claiming working tax credit, they think we are fools, I have already shopped some of my tenants to the HMRS claiming working tax credit and child tax credit when they are not even working 1 hr let alone 24hrs a week to claim benefits, and most of the time they are spending months after months away from UK, Shelter seems to be high on something when it does not acknowledge the real issue is irresponsible tenants who put their priorities in a wrong order.
Not saying that there are't any genuine people living in real hard circumstances, these are but a few and majority of them are exploiting the benefit system and taking the piss out of society as a whole. They do it because they know the law designed to encourages them to do so, and shelter protects these scroungers.

I had two single parent tenants, both lost their housing benefit when they were found to be living with their partner and did not report changes to their circumstances, so they stopped paying me rent and continued living as if nothing had changed, so that is 2 out of 2 = 100%


13:45 PM, 4th September 2018, About 6 years ago

Oh can someone also tell shelter that we as landlords when we do discover that our single parent benefit tenants is actually cohabiting, i.e. they are in relationship and every time we go for our property for regular inspection we nearly always see the same fellow hanging around sipping from a can of beer and and watching the telly, we obviously keep that to ourselves, because no point in alerting the authorities as it will only lead to her losing her HB and we won't get our rent paid !

Do we benefit from shopping in our benefit cheat tenants, no not at all, we come out worst, we normally end up being losers, because as soon as the Local Authority is tipped off, HB stops, we end not getting paid our rent, or if you were getting HB paid directly by the LC, they claw it back from us! ridiculous.

So don't report your tenants if you do discover they are cohabiting, you would be worst off by not getting paid your rent.
So do throw a blind eye to it, after all why should we be acting as unpaid fraud squad detectives for our local authorities who are so much against LANDLORDS, have we not got enough to deal with tenants immigration checks, criminal checks, right to rent check, protect their deposit, and now the LA have and meet with endless legislation, many councils have now introduced Selective license where we are suppose to deal with unsocial or rouge tenants responsible for anti-social behaviour, we are in the front line and face serious abuse from drunken and disorderly tenants, we are expected to keep an eye on our tenants like a hawk to ensure they don't sub let and cause overcrowding, or we can face heavy unlimited fines and lose our license! People such as shelter think we are having it so easy.

Susan Robinson

18:16 PM, 4th September 2018, About 6 years ago

Perhaps I've missed something? No squeals of disgust and anguish from Shelter after last night's BBC "Inside Out" programme which exposed the thousands of council homes being lost as councils in London "regenerate" acres of council flats with developers. Now that's something for them to campaign about. See link.
I can't find any reaction from Shelter anywhere today about the loss of social housing. Perhaps they are too exhausted with their continued campaign of hostility towards the PRS

Joe Robertson

10:41 AM, 5th September 2018, About 6 years ago

I can just picture this on BBC Panorama

Appalled Landlord

13:00 PM, 19th September 2018, About 6 years ago

“… 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.


14:39 PM, 19th September 2018, About 6 years ago

Shelter can only pick on law abiding private landlords, they have no guts to pick on real culprits the local councils, who are demolishing thousands of social housing and making them homeless. Come on Shelter where is your big gob now, why don't you start barking at the real culprits. why don't you speak against councils other policies such as Selective licensing that extra cost on landlords is simply passed on to tenants, and also restricts number of people living in a property which then causes many tenants to be evicted due to restriction on room sizes, number of people etc etc etc, where is your woof woof woof?

Appalled Landlord

14:58 PM, 6th March 2019, About 5 years ago

Beales is still misrepresenting the law:

“This piece has been updated on 4/3 and paragraph six has been edited to remove the statement that these practices are ‘unlawful’ ”


16:13 PM, 6th March 2019, About 5 years ago

Tell the Government to remove the rent claw back policy, I will be more than happy to rent to any DSS tenants, why should we take the risk of loosing out if it subsequently turns out that the tenants were not entitled to receive the housing benefits in the first place or
if they failed to notify the HB of changes in their circumstances, in such cases why we are landlords forced to repay HB money back, because they failed to conduct proper checks, where tenants were not entitled to it, so really go and claw your money back from tenants, not from the landlords., even if you paid us directly on behalf of your tenants, why make landlords responsible for your failings, idiots..

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