Shelter hits back at RLA criticisms

Shelter has clarified its position following accusations of discrepancy in press releases it put out regarding tenants who have been victims of abuse at the hands of their landlord.

Last week the charity put out an England-wide press release – received by EYE – which said 125,000 tenants in the private rented sector have faced “harassment, threats or assault from their landlord in the last year alone”.

It also put out other press releases, including ones for the North-West and the Midlands, which claimed that approximately 100,000 and 120,000 tenants respectively had experienced “an act by their landlord that could have resulted in legal action”.

Alan Ward, chairman of the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), wrote to Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb accusing the charity of quoting figures in the releases which did not add up.

In his letter Ward said the RLA “condemns any landlord who engages in such activity and believes that those who are in any way violent or aggressive have no place in the sector”.

However, he added: “Given the serious nature of the issues you raise, it is deeply disappointing that the figures you have produced do not add up.”

Ward goes on: “As an example, whilst noting in your England-wide press release that over 125,000 tenants have been affected, in your release for the North-West you argue that 100,000 tenants are ‘experiencing an act by their landlord that could have resulted in legal action’, whilst in the Midlands the figure is set at 120,000 tenants.

“Given that in these two regions alone the total number of tenants affected exceeds the 125,000 England-wide figure I would be grateful if you could indicate where these numbers have come from.

“Have they come from extrapolating them from the much smaller survey sample taken by YouGov?”

However, Shelter clarified its position to EYE yesterday.

A spokeswoman said that although it was unlikely the charity would issue a public response to the personal letter, she reiterated that the statistics referred to in the England-wide release, surrounding harassment threats and assault, were different from the statistics for the regional releases, which surrounded incidents which could have resulted in legal action, such as poor electrics.

She added that the letter had not yet been received by the charity but a personal response would be sent if and when it did receive it.


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  1. Will

    Shelter seem to like to sensationalize everything to grab headlines.

    1. Robert May

      That is understandable but their use of flawed statistics and alienation of the very people who  are best placed to help them, support them and donate to them is working against them.

      I had correspondence with Shelter last week about their maths, the dialogue simply stopped  with  no apology , no thanks for pointing out the error, nothing, it is like a petulant student union who are all protest and opinion but never wrong.

      1. smile please

        Comment of the week!

        Shelter a Petulant student union – Never has a truer phrase been spoken!!!

  2. marcH

    Agree with Will. Shelter should stick to doing what it does best and concentrate on finding shelter for the homeless, keeping out of politics and away from populist policies which will only end up reducing the amount of housing available to the people they claim to assist.

    1. jeremy1960

      Couldn’t agree more! As far as I can see everything that Shelter spout about such as lower agent fees, longer contracts/tenancies, more secure tenancies, more legislation for landlords/agencies will lead to increased costs for operators be they landlords or agencies. Costa Coffee has today announced that it will be increasing the price of their coffee to fund the “living wage” so the same will surely apply except that the price of coffee in this instance in the rent that tenants pay – simple economics which clearly shelter (I know I haven’t capitalised!) do not understand. I would have thought that employing executives on such high salaries, which must incidentally affect front line spending on the “cause” , would mean that someone in the boardroom understands economics??

  3. Ewan Foreman

    A key challenge for third sector organisations, especially more established ones, is to be true to the moral high ground that they purport to represent. People are not stupid.

  4. simonh

    Who will take Shelter to task over their statistics like the ASA will if we make a statistical claim in our advertising?  People in glass houses!


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