Agents ridiculed in new ‘satirical’ video ad launched by Shelter

Rory Marshall

Homelessness charity Shelter has launched a new advertising campaign mocking letting agents as it takes a fresh swipe at the lettings sector ahead of today’s Queen’s Speech.

In the video, which you can view below, the fake letting agent, played by comedian Rory Marshall, relentlessly tries to rent out properties to prospective tenants.

At first glance, the listings look like a good deal but as the agent shares more detail the customers are shocked by the terrible landlord behaviour and dangerous conditions of the properties. For example, there’s a Victorian flat that boasts all the original features, including asbestos.

Shelter says the ‘satirical’ video, “Only Choice Lettings”, produced by creative agency Pablo, aims to illustrate the raw deal so many renters are getting, as well as to promote its ‘frontline services’ that support private renters ‘who are forced to live in dangerous or unhealthy conditions because of a lack of regulation’.

Shelter says that while the letting agency is fictional, the properties are based on true stories reported to Shelter by private renters, as it increases pressure on the government to push ahead with its long promised rental reforms.

Shelter is urging the government to deliver a Renters’ Reform Bill today, and says that it must make private renting safer and fairer by introducing a national landlord register to help drive up standards and by banning Section 21 evictions to give renters the security to challenge poor conditions.

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Shelter, said: “Landlords and letting agents have got away with cutting corners for far too long because renters are powerless to challenge them. Tenants are sick of paying through the nose for terrible rentals because they have no other choice.

“Every day our frontline services hear from renters stuck living in nightmare situations, too scared to complain for fear they’ll be kicked out. No-one should be stuck living in mouldy homes that make them ill or have to put up with landlords who turn up unannounced.

“Private renting is broken – and the only way to fix it is by strengthening tenants’ rights so they can stand up to bad landlords and challenge poor conditions. The government must keep its promise by introducing a Renters’ Reform Bill this year that will scrap ‘no fault’ evictions and bring in a national landlord register. It’s the only way to transform private renting for good.”


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  1. Robert_May

    Section 21 is not an eviction, it is a reminder to people they agreed to leave after 6 months, a notice clarifying what tenants signed up to and are being given 2 months to find somewhere else to rent.


    You’d think specialist sector solicitors  and people lobbying parliament would know that.



    1. A W

      As JMK stated recently “saying S21 is a cause of homelessness is like saying a P45 is a cause of unemployment“.

      It’s nice to see that they’re putting their £72 million in funding to good use!

      As a small FYI, Private Renting would be “broken” if the government adhered to its own targets for building new homes…

      1. AcornsRNuts

        Perhaps every time Polly and her cohorts  mention S21 being a cause of homelessness, we all reply, like a P45 is a cause of unemployment?

  2. anon-mon73

    I think shelter believes as soon as someone goes into a property then it’s no longer the landlord’s property – it’s the renter’s home and they can live there for as long as they want.

    if they don’t comply with the tenancy then there’s a section 8, so there’s protection for landlords.

    so this will stop people renting for 6 month while they are away. It will stop people trying to time the market and renting for a year. (Although s8 g1 does allow for eviction if the owner has lived there and wishes to return – as long as prior notice given to tenant)

    1. Robert_May

      the unintended consequence will be that  tenancies  will become rigidly  6 months and not roll over to a periodic tenancy.


      “Sorry, you’re accepting an assured  shorthold tenancy, it WILL end strictly 6 months after you move in. At 4 months we will  review your rent payments and the condition of the property. If all is well we will consider you  for another tenancy but the property will be marketed to gauge demand and the rental value for the next  6 months. There is no guarantee you will be accepted for  the new tenancy so you should be prepared to move out as  you are agreeing to now.  Yes things used to be different but Shelter insisted on changes to the way property is rented..

      Do we have any long term homes to rent?  Sorry we don’t!  Please don’t be upset with me things were fine but then  the people who get given  charity cash  to defend rogue tenants dreamt up new ways of getting more cash for themselves and you’re just a pawn in their game”

    2. Woodentop

      Regrettably that is the position adopted by many in ivory towers and is slowly killing off PRS…..


      I think shelter believes as soon as someone goes into a property then it’s no longer the landlord’s property – it’s the renter’s home and they can live there for as long as they want.

  3. PossessionFriendUK39

    What a disgusting insult.  !

    Shelter stoop to new levels.

    Its time many of the industries involved in Housing, from Letting Agents, Builders, Insurance companies, landlords  etc, –  saw through the  Rogue-Tenant supporter groups as their causing detriment to the vast majority of decent Tenants ( and landlords )

    1. Robert_May

      It would be interesting to find out how many Section 8/ section21  tenant cases Shelter’s solicitors have successfully defended.


      If judges are  finding overwhelmingly in favour that agents and landlords were wrong to ask tenants to leave a property there might be something to address  if not it might explain why Shelter never seem to publicise their  successes. I cannot recall a  single trade press article in the past 14 years where Shelter have given details of a Section 21 or Section 8 eviction  were  they have forced  positive change on an agent, a landlord and  kept a tenant in a property they now regard as home.


      I don’t have the time to research the numbers but I suspect their performance stats, including how much each case has cost might  well be worth reviewing. How much charity cash has done good, how much has been wasted defending rogue tenants who deny decent and deserving tenants a home.


      1. Woodentop

        Add to your list the number of times they have delayed and delayed a possession order at the financial costs (considerable for some) to the landlord and the court still kicked them out.

  4. Will2

    It seems Shelter wouldn’t know the truth if it bit them.  Well known for their exageration and manipulation they seem to continue this in their latest propaganda advertisment.  They say “millions of people at the mercy of a broken renting system”.  To me millions suggest 2+ millions (to be plural figures)  yet Statistics from Statista state there were 4.43 million renters in 2021. So according to Shelter  just under 50% of people are at the mercy of a broken renting system; which is total nonsense and false advertising in my opinion. What will the NRLA say – nothing what will the lettings professional bodies say nothing. Our politicians are too busy partying to check the information put out and accept it as truth .

  5. Woodentop

    Maybe someone should do a comedy version of Shelter. That would be entertaining!

    1. PossessionFriendUK39

      Shelter’s budget ( from so-called ‘Charitable donations ! ‘   ) is bigger than most.

      A  Landlord Coalition is needed.

    2. Will2

      Oh Woodentop, you mean a factual documentary.

  6. KByfield04

    If the suggestion is that this is what ALL agents are like- then we know this to be unfair and biased. However, if we are all honest, we all know an agent or two that is like this- they do nothing for the reputation of our industry and should rightly be ridiculed and weeded out. This is pretty funny in parts!

    1. AcornsRNuts

      I don’t know ANY agents like this.  You obviouly keep strange company.

  7. AcornsRNuts

    I wasted two minutes of my life watching this rap, WITH A SILENT C. [Sentence removed as it breached posting rules] You mean Polly Bleeat can insult agents and landlords but we cannot return the favour? Round spherical objects.

  8. GeorgeHammond78

    Extract from their 2021 Accounts:

    CEO Salary:  £132,625 (2020: £131,315).

    Shelter’s median salary: £28,104

    Number of people Housed: 0

    Nice work if you can get it…..

    1. AcornsRNuts

      Shelter houses Polly Bleat.

  9. undercover agent

    Shelters’ main contribution has been to make an environment where fewer landlords want to enter the market, reducing choices for tenants, forcing up rents, and forcing tenants to accept worse conditions.
    The answer is not more regulations and costs forced onto landlords, but less red tape and more help and support for landlords, maybe even tax breaks for landlords. That would encourage more landlords, who would offer tenants more choice, forcing down rents and improving standards. (and building more housing).
    History shows us that rules, regulations and policing can’t raise consumer standards. The ONLY thing that works to raise standards is customer choice (more competition).
    Many agents didn’t do floorplans until Purple Bricks forced them to raise their game. NAEA didn’t / couldn’t force it, and the government didn’t / couldn’t force it. When Starbucks brought luxury coffee to the UK it was not because of regulations raising standards, it was free-market competition raising standards.  
    Therefore Shelter have worsened the very problem they pretend to be trying to solve. I think that’s shameful.
    The only thing that would stop this bad agent and his bad landlords (if they did exist) is more choices for tenants, but nice agents have been forced to close or decided not to open due to the high bar of the red tape and nice landlords have decided to leave due to high licence fees, high tax etc.

    1. Will2

      undercover agent you mean market forces to drive up standards and drive down prices by choice!  You are absolutely correct but the type of people to run so called housing charities that house no one and provide no physical shelter to anyone is run by those who do not understand the power of basic markets as they are funded by begging funds from emotive falsehoods. You are absolutely correct but again you have those who use dictate and enforce by mandate and a new breed of conservative government who are no longer conservative but a popularist party headed up by an entertainer buying his audience. Of course my personal opinion might not be liked by many.


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