Shelter has struck a more conciliatory tone towards private landlords, saying it recognises that many have ‘bent over backwards’ to help their tenants during the pandemic.

The comments were made by its Chief Executive Polly Neate (main pic) at a fringe meeting of the Conservative party conference in Manchester.

Speaking alongside housing minister Eddie Hughes, she said her organisation did not want to ‘demonise’ private landlords and it recognised they play an important role in providing accommodation within the much-expanded private rental sector.

This is a significant shift in tone compared to its most recent media campaign, which launched a broadside against landlords and letting agents, using research among 3,500 private renters to accuse both groups of illegal behaviour.

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But at the meeting Neate was keen to emphasise that, although Shelter wanted to squeeze out rogue landlords, she also wanted to see good landlords incentivised to stay.

Power balance

Nevertheless, Neate caused a stir by suggesting landlords held the balance of power within tenancies.

This led several of the audience to disagree, highlighting how many landlords now feel tenants have been given too many rights to the point where rogue tenants can game the system, and that plans to change evictions law would only make this worse.

But Neate reminded those attending that the private rented sector has changed enormously over the past 20 years and that many more vulnerable renters who used to live within social housing now rent privately.

“Traditionally renters were those on the cusp of home ownership, but now too many on the cusp of homelessness and we need to protect them,” she said.

Watch the meeting.


8 COMMENTS

  1. Neate just doesn’t get it.
    The power is all with the tenant.

    Inability to quickly repossess a rental property from a feckless rent defaulting tenant is the reason LL are deserting the AST sector or selling up.

    Any tenant who doesn’t make provisions for sudden income loss is by their very nature; feckless.

    There are insurance policies that any tenant could purchase to provide for rent payments to be made when a tenant is unable to do so.

    The reason tenants don’t bother is because they know they could live rent free for up to 2 years before their LL was able to evict them.

    They also know few LL will bother pursuing them for defaulted rent.

    However that power dynamic will by accident revert to some degree to the LL.

    Ironically Neate is the one that will cause this situation to occur.

    This is because when S21 is abolished S8 will be the only eviction process available.

    Neate will see that the vast majority of S21 evictions will transfer to a revised S8 process.

    What do feckless rent defaulting tenants get when evicted using S8!?
    Yep they receive a CCJ!!

    This tends NOT to happen with the current S21 process as LL can’t be bothered to throw good money after bad in attempting via a CCJ to recover from those rent defaulting tenants.

    With a S8 eviction process EVERY feckless rent defaulting tenant will receive a CCJ.

    Now how many of those feckless rent defaulting tenants will want to have a damaged credit status for 6 years or even longer if a LL chooses to extend the CCJ for another 6 years!?

    Savvy tenants will realise that to preserve their credit status that they will need to surrender their tenancies without any rent default being obvious.

    The existing LL won’t know why the tenant is surrendering their tenancy.

    A new LL won’t see any damaged credit status.

    Tenants will realise that a damaged credit status showing defaulted rent is very bad news for their future domestic status.

    S21 has permitted many tenants to avoid CCJ.

    Once abolished many tenants will realise that gaming the eviction system is very bad news for them.

    We could therefore see a substantial change in tenant behaviour for those clever enough to realise that rent defaulting is no longer the clever thing to do!!

    Not many LL will choose to take on tenants with a CCJ for rent defaulting.

    We shall see!

    Silly old Neate has just shifted the power dynamic back to LL and she doesn’t even realise that she has done so.

    She honestly believes she will have shifted more power to tenants once she has succeeded in her objective to abolish S21.

    Name me one LL who as a result of being forced to use the S8 process won’t apply for a money order as part of the S8 process used to evict for rent defaulting.

  2. I totally agree about the earlier comments about CCJ via section 8… Interesting to see a panel with no landlord body on it telling landlords where they are all going wrong.

    They continue with this notion of “High rents”… There is no such thing.
    If an investor (LL) wants to get a 5% annual return on their rent then the rent level is fixed by the price of property not the LL.
    If a place costs £100,000 to buy then to make 5% on that investment the rent has to be. £5,000 pa in days gone by Building societies paid 5% in annual interest on savings. The only reason they don’t is because Bank of England keep rates low and offer QE in abundance.
    Return to normal levels of interest and even more LL will pull out and put their money in the bank.
    If anyone thinks investors in the PRS are making too much at 5% and want to cap it at lower levels then the investors will just go and buy some unit trusts that need no work, no maintenance etc etc.

    In a few years time the train will hit the buffers and homelessness will rocket in direct correlation to a shrinking PRS.

    What no one on the panel addressed was the fact that “Fixed” social housing tenancies prevent anyone moving anywhere for work.
    So as the new jobs arise in the north no one in a council flat in the south can apply for those jobs no matter how skilled they are as they would have to give up their precious council tenancy. That coupled with the shrinking PRS will mean that there will be no where to rent even if they were prepared to give up their council tenancy.

    Its clear the entire panel want “Long term tenancies” but have ZERO solutions to labour mobility issues.
    We are running headlong into the 1970’s… Rachman, Rigsby etc.
    The reason we have AST’s today is because the entire PRS collapsed when no landlords were prepared to enter it because it was over regulated.

    • The AST has been an excellent device for Labour mobility.

      Unfortunately the LL haters don’t like that flexibility.

      LL who CAN’T easily get rid of rent defaulting tenants will just withdraw from the AST rental sector.

      The more difficult it is made for LL to evict rent defaulting tenants the more LL will leave the sector.

      The AST sector is an excellent facility PROVIDING rent is paid!

    • The irony here is that savings rates dropped due to the govmts funding for lending scheme to support first time buyers. Banks no longer needed or wanted savers’ money, so we went out and bought property. Now landlords are touted as greedy and accused of buying up the homes of first time buyers!

  3. She can berate as much as she likes. I’ve had enough and I’ve sold my small portfolio. The council can deal with the tenants now.

  4. Dave. got that right Section 21 / Assured Shorthold Tenancies / 1988 Housing Act is the Birth Place and the very Foundation of Private Sector Letting that was virtually non existing before that and almost impossible to find somewhere to rent because if you had let your Property to someone they immediately became a sitting Tenant, that didn’t work very well did it, you buy the Property for some one else to live in and have full control over it, is this what they are trying to bring back ?. Remove the very Foundation and watch it crash down. I know I was a renter in the 1960’s early 70, and been a LL since 1978 when it was a nightmare, hence we campaigned and successfully lobbied for 1988 Act, now seems the very people Benefited and that build their Business on that are now not bothered if is taken away, maybe they don’t know or too young to remember. I remember and lived it.

  5. “Traditionally renters were those on the cusp of home ownership, but now too many on the cusp of homelessness and we need to protect them”

    Really?! So Neate in her LL bashing subscribed to increasing LL regulation, costs and restrictions which a) resulted in higher rents to not only cover the extra costs, but also the extra risk of not being able to evict undesirable tenants. b) higher rents because LL’s are exiting the PRS in droves due to the foregoing and taxation increases, and c) made taking in benefit tenants insanity.

    She is clearly too dim to see why tenants have drifted from one state to the other.

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