Shelter has jumped on government figures that document the number of households evicted from their homes and who then went on to ask local authorities for help during the first quarter of the year, claiming landlords were largely responsible for this homelessness during this pre-Covid period.

The housing charity correctly points out that private landlords are the source of 25% of all cases of recorded homelessness during these three months prior to the Covid pandemic.

Based on this headline data, Shelter chief Polly Neate has claimed that private tenants “were already badly affected by homelessness when the pandemic was just taking hold”.

The charity is understandably worried that thousands more renters have since faced problems paying their rent since the Covid ban began.

But a closer scrutiny of the government data doesn’t bear out Shelter’s contention that PRS sector landlords are wholly to blame for increase in homelessness prior Covid striking the UK.

The data

Those being made homeless and presenting themselves to local authorities for help increased by 7% between 2019/19 and 2019/2020 to 288,480 households, the data shows.

Those coming from the PRS decreased by 1.34% to 73,630, making it hard to justify Shelter’s line.

The biggest increases in households asking for help came from the social rented sector (up 15.5% to 32,150) and families ejecting their own kin (up 6.88% to 68,610).

Nevertheless, Shelter remains very much focussed on private landlords within its campaign.

“When Parliament returns in September, the government must change the law to give judges the power to stop renters being evicted because of Covid-19,” she says.

“As well as ensuring councils have the mandate and resources to help anyone facing homelessness during the undeniably stormy months ahead.”

Read the raw data.


  1. Tenants who want to get into Council Housing often need to be evicted before Councils will help them – so some of these evictions from the PRS are as a result of tenants wanting to be evicted.

    Shelter is a politically motivated organisation whose sole purpose appears to be bashing LLs rather than helping people avoid homelessness. Where would thousands of families be without the PRS?

  2. Well said ‘Shelter is a politically motivated organisation’

    And this is not the 1st time. As some of the guff they have recently tried to state; nothing but alarming tactics!

    First in line with their happy Landlord bashing – even though their claims are based all on lies, yet, who’s on their case for heaping their lying crap into already kicked in the teeth Landlord’s, who are easy targets who shelter are happy to abuse. They seem to forget how there is a mass percentage of Landlord’s that supply high quality home’s and at reasonable rents!

    I says one thing for this first pandemic – it’s sure shown who’s the true professionals – and the ones who are clearly NOT!

    Never again can shelter be trusted with anything they try to claim, untrusted;as once a liar always a liar! And what they will always be remembered for!

  3. The shocking pint here is that if a landlord was to evict a tenant because of non payment of rent during the covid period, it is considered the landlord is to blame for homelessness! I am doing all I can to support my tenants through this tough time, but I have one which is just taking me for a ride because he knows there is nothing I can do. As of next month, this will mean I can no longer support my decent tenants as I am simply out of money now with huge arrears. I am not to blame for this. The government has boxed me into a corner and offered me no assistance whatsoever. Its about time the various landlord groups and media outlets started to push back on the language used and in some cases, changed there own phrasing when reporting on the issue.

    • well said. The majority of landlords have had to raise their funds to purchase a property for a tenant. They are offered a higher rate mortgage, have to pay more stamp duty, pay tax on their rent, pay out of all the yearly licences & checks and now we are expected to allow tenants to stay in a property to accrue arrears. The banks don’t give landlords a free period, if we don’t pay we have our rental house taken off us, which in effect is the same house the tenant is staying in.the government and shelter need to recognised that landlords offer a service also, we offer a home to people who can’t afford to buy their own. most landlords are well respected, we never get rid of a tenant if they look after the place and pay on time, there are just the odd few who take advantage. its bad enough getting rid of a tenants without the virus, but now, I just feel my landlords days are coming to the end.

    • I agree totally. Politicians are particularly demonizing and scapegoating landlords for al the ills in the PRS. Left wing politicians scream rogue landlords, greedy landlords while at the same time relying on us to plug the holes in the market. LHA is a joke…..a stitch-up. We are not running a social charity. They are so quick to impose new, often unnecessary and burdensome regulations on us and whack us with whopping penalties when we get it wrong. Plus, of course, the tax landlords are generating and the gradual erosion of deductibles. And what the hell is selective licensing all about? Then there is the capital gains stuff that can negate the profit a landlord has made

  4. I would say the point about wanting to be evicted – let’s call it arranged or agreed eviction – applies even more in family evictions. I’ve worked with a lot of it.

    Shelter have always been politically motivated and Governments of all political persuasions have routinely followed Shelter’s stance. So much easier than making your own evaluations, developing your own policies. Housing is a cinderella area for policy interest.

    When there is no private rented sector, yet no compensating expansion of social housing, blame Shelter and other pressure groups. Let’s be honest, Shelter makes not the slightest attempt to hide its intense biases. Isn’t it up to Governments to take responsibility and strike the balance having properly considered all stakeholders and all information inputs?

    • “Isn’t it up to Governments to take responsibility and strike the balance having properly considered all stakeholders and all information inputs?”

      Yes, but they are not going to, simply because renters represent a higher proportion of voters than landlords, plus the virtue signalling that goes along with railing against those nasty, greedy landlords. The Tories have thrown away their traditional support for business and just play to the gallery, and landlords have virtually no political support, so it was and easy choice to chuck us under the bus, rather than have to deal with a bunch of homeless people on their doorstep.

    • section 21 the no fault eviction process, tagged on so if landlords with mortgages but noit inside a limited company, fall behind the mortgage company can still get its asset back, and NOT say its due to rent arrears the section 8 process.
      They wanted section 21 removed ages ago because fat cat lawyers and bullying cronies can then pounce on a counter claim.
      When i had tenants even if they had issues , i would always serve a section 21, only served a section 8 once, they get rehoused easier with a no fault eviction.
      sadly the tenants i tried to help screwed me over and i abandoned the market in 2016 thick tennats lying lawyers and complicit complacent agencies and councils,

  5. If the government wants to stop evictions then surely they should guarantee the rent is paid.

    Transfer the tenancy to the government.

    • Not all of us are non paying tenants as you call us. Some of us pay religiously, to a landlord who ignores safety and repair obligations, so we do them ourselves to avoid the threats of eviction because they don’t want to mend the burst pipe in the attic, or send someone out at Christmas because the boiler has blown up! Not all landlords are the epitome of perfection ! Some of them cut off electricity and harass tenants to get them out. To say that landlords are being demonised is laughable. Perhaps you should all sit on the other side of the fence; the one which has landlords who beat up their tenants returning home, who go for advice through abject fear, or ring them up and threaten to harm them if they don’t leave. You don’t see that side do you? No, thought not! There are good and bad with it all. Perhaps go and work for a housing charity to see the mess that some PRS landlords let properties out and see what damage it does. You will always get tenants who don’t pay and that’s wrong, but don’t assume your landlords are all paragons of virtue, please! I’ve seen all of the above. Maybe look at that, in of all of this before accusing homeless charities; without whom many would be scuppered!

  6. Never mind the £120,000 a year bleeding heart Polly Neate, I heard the latest news of the extension of the evictions ban with real alarm.

    For some years now both major parties have found it convenient to depict small private landlords as Public Enemy Number One. Labour hates us because it’s an article of faith with them, but now the Useless Tories see political capital to be made out of appearing to be tenant-friendly. Remember, most landlords are old and won’t be voters for so long as tenants and would-be first-time-buyers, who are mostly young!

    How long will this ‘temporary’ evictions ban continue? If it continues indefinitely it will become tantamount to property theft. The lovely Robert Jenrick and his bunch of losers are actually effectively going to steal landlords’ properties from them. They then plan to destroy small private landlords and replace them with corporate ones. If your tenant stops paying their rent and you can’t evict them then they have stolen your property – that’s it!

  7. The stance being taken on delays to eviction hurt a lot of Private Landlords who depend on the rental income. Maybe the government would make a direct payment to landlords where tenants cannot pay their rent and meet a set criteria.

  8. I think Shelter’s aims and objectives are commendable, but not only have I been asked by a tenant to issue a s.21 Notice so they could apply for a Council place, it is the only way to really get rid of a bad tenant in a timely fashion. Shelter need to look beneath the figures, why do landlords issue s.21 rather than s.8 or other notices to quit? It is because generally the Courts do not like people to make themselves deliberately homeless so are normally sympathetic towards the tenants in any other form of proceedings. This bias delays repossession and so landlords look for a simpler way to regain their property.

    If you issue a s.8 and the tenant attends court saying they will catch up, I have never known the court not give the tenant more time to pay. When the tenant does not pay, it could take another 2 months to get another court date. The tenant in the know, will may make a payment before that second court date, but nothing significant so they are now even more in debt than the last court date. Again in this case I have never known the matter not to be deferred again to give the tenant the benefit of the doubt, because the Courts do not like to see people becoming homeless. So by the time you get back to court again, the tenant may be 6 months or more in arrears, you might get lucky and obtain possession, but not immediately you need a bailiff so 8 or 9 months (of rent missed) later you get your flat back.

    Further if you have ever tried to evict on anti-social grounds it is even more difficult (and I have tried). They claim it was not them. It was all the other tenants who broke the door or whatever they have done they were merely innocent in every episode, even if at court you say you saw them throw stuff out of their windows on cars below and called the police as a result.

    So you issue a s.21 because when it gets to court at least you can get rid of them fairly cleanly and easily.

    In fact every s.21 notice I have issued (apart from the one asked for by the tenant) was done so either because of arrears of debt or because the tenant was disruptive and followed numerous complaints by other tenants in the block and the tenant being given numerous warnings by me about their behavior.

    • Totally agree with this. The worse thing was Section 21 being named a ‘No Fault Eviction’ it is mostly so far from the truth. I have also been advised by my solicitors, every time I finally had to issue one, after tenants had wrecked my property, in one case, far out weighing the deposit held by the DPS by thousands, this was the quickest and fairest way to get my property back and to start work on making it clean and habitable for a new tenant, which also took months. Even with section 21, that can still take up to 3 months to finalise. What Private Landlord in their right mind, who also has financial obligations on their property/s and may be totally reliant on the income from them as their only form of income…with no support, would want to evict a ‘good’ tenant unless they absolutely had to…not good business sense.
      I Agree, Landlord Associations need to fight back with facts and a higher profile to counteract this misleading, ridiculous profile and image, of greedy, non caring, selfish and extremely wealthy landlords given to the PRS

    • which is why section 21 became a burden attached to you cant evict because etc etc etc, loops from energy certificates to deposits.
      whoo benefits from the section 8 process scummy robbing lawyers, who benefits form the section 21 the tenant,and the mortgage company, the landlord at the end of their tether and the neighbours who just want rid.

  9. Where is the support for landlords I have a tenant who o can’t wait to evict because he is cause no so many anti social problem that I have to reduce my of tenants rent until he is out. Where would the country be without private landlords but I really think why bother

  10. What a diabolical situation the landlords are in now .
    Tenants , who watch these things closely , must be rubbing their hands in glee , realising that they can stop paying rent for another six months or so .
    In the meanwhile , we service the mortgage , pay for repairs to the property , pay tax on income & not profit , insurances , gas & electrical certificates .
    The manner the government is treating all the small landlords is appalling , imagine if these properties did not exist then what would be the fate of thousands looking for accommodation .
    It’s so easy to penalise the landlords , shameful !

  11. For what it’s worth I’ve contacted Jenrick at the ministry of Housing, using the criminalisation of landlords to provide free accommodation smacks of the worst days of Stalin, please however futile you think it, e mail Jenrick, your MP, Boris, do something to make your voices heard, I have yet to hear of any moves being made by the Landlirds Associations. Deafening silence.

  12. Shelter is creating the problem, as if there’s no homelessness there is no shelter. I for one am pulling out of property as its over regulated in favour of the tenants and I’ve los 15 grand in the last 2 years because of UC. More than I lost in over 18 years when the council was handling the HB as it was easy to get direct payments once tenants where 8 weeks in arrears. Not as easy with UC , in fact impossible.

  13. Important thing for me here is instead taking information presented to you as truth, go look at the data yourself.

    However, I am finding the spreadsheet with the raw data difficult read. Can someone point out exactly how the information in this article is pulled from the sheet?

  14. These tenants have got it made and are laughing there heads off at the courts its a case of wont pay as they know they can get away with it for six eight months and its the Landlord who takes all the risk with them . Theses people in positions of power making these decisions need to get in the real world and wake up to what is going on, Poor tenant can not pay, rubbish simply a case of don’t want to pay the rent they would sooner spend the money on drink new dress shoes etc anything bar the rent the people who make these assumptions about tenants need to wake up and smell the coffee.
    Private landlords also need to stop being push overs and fight back get the government on side more as without the private sector the country would be in a right mess on its knees.

  15. Shelter never let the truth get in the way of a good campaign . Priced our too don’t really any Change just to make a fuss and look clever . Biting the hand that feeds is it ? Not the way it Seems to get more better landlords It’s a thankless task and it’s not getting easier or more profitable being a domestic landlord who’d enter this market ?

  16. The issue of non payment by low life scroungers could easily be dealt with , fail to pay on time you get a three day notice to pay up after that throw them out on the streets, retaining anything of value to be sold within 7 days if they don’t pay up. Landlords do not evict good tenants, i have a couple now who are leaving as they inherited some money and are buying , i am really pleased for them but i am also absolutely gutted , fantastic tenants, never not paid keep the house immaculate , they even changed all the carpets recently (original carpets were only a couple of years old) because she redorated a far cry from the scumbags we had before never on time with the rent, damaged the boiler, left the house like a shxxx hole when they left, had to replace all doors, repair kitchen , completly redecorate replace light fittings , constantly complained about damp, (caused by failing to ventilate the house running a drier without external ventilation and blocking all the external vents problem went away after they left ). Even expected us to replace ceiling lamps , oil hinges. Final straw was when they started a campaign of slagging us off to all and sundry, to people that unbeknown to them had known myself and family for 50 plus years and knew the stories were untrue

  17. £13k in the hole due to non paying tenants….. Both tenants work and both taking the p#SS, no court date, and all with the help of Shelter… Enough said!


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