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Shelter needs to end campaign against landlords

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

Statistics published by Shelter on tenant evictions are failing to provide an accurate picture of the situation in the private rented sector according to the country’s leading landlord organisation…

Statistics published by Shelter on tenant evictions are failing to provide an accurate picture of the situation in the private rented sector according to the country’s leading landlord organisation.

The data, published jointly between Shelter and British Gas suggest that over the last year, 200,000 tenants in the private rented sector have “faced eviction” because they asked their landlord to fix a problem in their home. However Shelter has ignored the inconvenient truths.

Based on Shelter’s data, which indicates that there are  9 million tenants in the private rented sector in England, 200,00 is  only a little over 2 per cent of all tenants, meaning almost 98 per cent have not faced the problems Shelter and British Gas warn of. It should also be noted that these figures refer only to tenants facing evictions and not actual evictions.

Official figures published by the Ministry of Justice in February show that in 2013, the total for all tenants – in both public and private housing – having their homes repossessed by the courts amounted to 37,739 homes. This combined figure equates to only 0.5 per cent of all rented homes in England. Shelter admit to scaling up the figures from their research.

Shelter also fails to explain how many of the tenants were failing to pay their rent on time and how many of the “evictions” were as a result of tenancies coming to a close. In this instance, many landlords may have sought possession of their properties in order to embark on refurbishments. It is also noticeable that Shelter fails to indicate how many tenant evictions are as a result of anti-social behaviour.

Figures from the English Housing Survey show also that the proportion of tenants satisfied with their properties are higher in the private rented than the social sector. 83 per cent of tenants in private rented homes are satisfied with their accommodation compared to 81 per cent in the social sector.

Responding to the report, Alan Ward, Chairman of the Residential Landlords’ Association said:

“Shelter are once again needlessly playing to people’s fears.

“Whilst the RLA accepts that there are landlords who should be rooted out of the sector, the fact that almost 98 per cent of tenants have not faced the problems should be a sober reminder to Shelter that the majority of tenants face no problems whatsoever with their landlord.

“The best response to the problems that Shelter identifies is to encourage more good landlords into the sector in order to boost the supply of homes to rent and to provide tenants with genuine choices over where they live. Shelter’s continued vilification of landlords will serve only to put the good landlords off further investment in the sector and push tenants into the hands of those operating under the radar.” 

In a report on regulation in the sector due to be published shortly, Professor Michael Ball of Reading University finds that:

“Private landlords felt frustrated that they are always treated as potential devils, while social landlords are always seen in official eyes and political rhetoric as angels. In contrast to such publicly aired views, it was pointed out that surveys of tenant satisfaction actually show better results for the private sector. Nor is the social housing stock consistently in tip-top condition.” 

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About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Media and Communications Officer for the RLA. With 16 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and editorial content for our media partners.

She issues press releases promoting the work of the RLA and its policies and campaigns to the regional and national media and works alongside the marketing team on the association’s social media channels to build support for the RLA and its work.

14 Comments

  • “According to shelter bullet point list of what they did last year to increase affordable homes was: Commission Research, More research called “insights”, asked Scotland to keep the budget for housing the same and homelessness reforms in Scotland.

    It seems not to be a housing charity – sounds like a public funded pressure group

    I tried very hard to look over their accounts. They make an assurance to build 109 new stores in the next thee years, no mention of how many new homes. They have got to be securing homes for people somewhere – just can not find it.

    In other words, they did nothing to increase supply of housing to help the persons that people donate money for.

    OH THE OTHER HAND,Their is Crisis Charity, whom i here good things about. Last thing i read was them trying to establish a PRS Access scheme which would incorporate an “abandonment fund” available for landlords to draw rental income from, in the event one of their tutored tenants abandons a property.

    How admirable, to be working with Landlords to try and improve the situation rather than against them.

    When Crisis is not working to secure vulnerable people homes, they are working to get vulnerable people jobs. In the meantime shelter tries to put further barriers in way for housing people.

    I think Shelter has lose their ways; Donate to Crisis instead.

  • In recent years Shelter has appointed staff whose remit is to support tenants to maintain tenancies and to resolve problems that exist between landlords and tenants.

    Shelter is not a housing provider in itself, it is an advice and campaigning organisation. A look at their jobs web site will show of jobs that describe liaison with and working with landlords and local authorities.

  • I never cease to be amazed why shelter want to demonise the very sector, and the only sector, that can help them achieve their aims of reducing homelessness. I want all the critics of the PRS to come out and say what they propose for the country if the sector ceased to exist. That does not bare thinking about.

  • Thank you RLA for publishing the facts, and so sorry to hear that Shelter, for whom I would normally have had sympathy and have supported, are not showing themselves in the best light.

    Thanks also to Adam Hosker for his useful comments about Crisis vs Shelter.

    As a Christian, and very modest (in terms of number of properties) landlord myself, I like to feel I am a caring and responsible landlord, whilst accepting that I wouldn’t be doing this if I weren’t making a profit.

    It would be a great shame if politics stops the truth being told!

  • Shelter do not realise that supporting tenants who are being evicted for legitimate rent arrears and or anti-social behaviour harms the market for everyone.
    1. It increases the legal costs and loss for the landlord
    2. Which in turn means more landlords will only take on lower risk tenants.
    3. This in turn means that tenants with poor credit historys get left to the rogue landlords that only make up a small percentage of the market but that Local council have not stamped out (as they are too busy being silly with licences for decent LL’s)

  • shelter are not not helping with housing problems , I had a tenant that damaged a flat then because he wanted to move , then went to shelter got legal aid to sue us for disrepair , shelter ran up a 50000 pounds legal bill , they are not helping tenants and landlords at all message to all landlords DO NOT TRUST SHELTER AT ALL

  • Extrapolating statistics is highly unreliable, misleading, and manipulative. I suggest members register with Shelter web site to see how they pose their wording for such consultations.

  • I know most that join our organisation find it hard to accept some landlords behave this way; but I know that it does happen, but do not see it as standard practice or in great numbers.
    It is not our membership doing this but we should acknowledge it is those rogue landlords and agencies not Shelter giving the bad reputation; they don’t make this stuff up.

  • Shelter Cymru, all tenants good all landlords bad. Will only give legal advice to tenants leading to serial fraud families living for free paying nothing being transferred from landlord to landlord who are blackmailed into paying the tenant to leave writing a non commital reference and being warned that if the landlord tells the next targeted landlord that they will tell the tenant to sit tight and then use children and mental illness to resist eviction. all lies they produce children from other families and say they are looking after them to social services even registering them them with a local school which they attend only for days.

  • Landlords need their property rented so unless the tenants are being unreasonable or particularly difficult most landlords would not be looking to remove them.

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