Shelter Housing Meeting

On Thursday I had a meeting with Shelter, the housing and homeless charity, to be updated on their campaigns and policy work, and also to discuss how to tackle unscrupulous landlords. There are currently three million households in England who rent their home from a private landlord, and while most landlords are reasonable and honest, a minority are exploitative and threatening in their treatment of tenants. Some refuse to do essential repairs and maintenance, and do not live up to their side of the contract.

A recent survey with the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health found that of those officers working on housing enforcement in the private rented sector, nine out of ten had encountered landlords engaging in harassment or illegal eviction, and 78% had dealt with landlords who persistently refuse to maintain their property to a safe condition.

The damage that rogue landlords cause to the lives of often vulnerable tenants is enormous, and can spread to the wider neighbourhood, with rundown properties blighting communities.

2 responses to “Shelter Housing Meeting

  1. John,

    I voted for you (the first time I had voted Lib Dem) at the general election.

    Can you tell me what your take is on Shelter’s despair at the Coalition policies on affordable house building and housing benefit caps?

    I agreed with Nick prior to the GE – I can’t say I do now. These specific policies along with the horrendous moves on VAT and cuts to essential services seem to be deeply regressive to me. They are definitely not what I voted for.



  2. I worked for Shelter for 14 years as a housing advice officer. I don’t know where the information came from that most private tenants are satisfied with their landlords, but I can say that this is not true. Large numbers of private tenants are very dissatisfied with their landlords and with the lack of security of their tenancies (6 month shortholds), the lack of information and advice about their legal rights. Many private landlords beleive that the only right that tenants have is to remain in a property until the landlord tells them to go.
    It also needs saying that this situation is propped up by the failure of governments since 1979 to control rents, to provide real security of tenure and to allow councils to build council housing.
    Shelter has produced the facts over the past 30 years showing the need for at least 100,000 decent quality and affordable homes a year, but has failed to conduct an uncompromising public campaign for this. Instead Shelter has taken legal aid money from governments which has steadily had more and more restrictions put on it to the point where Shelter has had to make staff redundant in Manchester and its public profile has almost disappeared.
    Sam Darby

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