Shelter steps up campaign as it picks out individual agent accused of pushing people into homelessness

Shelter is stepping up its campaign against agent ludlowthompson, whom it is accusing of discrimination against renters on housing benefit.

The organisation launched a campaign last month against the agency, urging its supporters to phone it and ask questions.

It now says on its website: “Thousands of Shelter supports have contacted Ludlow Thompson’s head office to demand that it stamps out discrimination against renters on housing benefit.

“Ludlow hasn’t responded to a single message. Now we’re ramping up the pressure.

“We need you to call Ludlow Thompson directly and help us force the issue.

“If enough of us ring and flood the phone lines, Ludlow Thompson won’t be able to ignore us.”

Shelter gives the telephone number for its supporters to call, and says that nine out of ten of the agents’ branches “discriminate against people on housing benefit”.

Shelter also has a message on its website which says: “Why is our campaign so important? We believe that Ludlow Thompson, the high street letting agent, is pushing people closer to homelessness.”

As well as using its website as a call to action, Shelter has also embarked on another round of emails.

One person who received the email told EYE: “Whatever the rights or wrongs of landlords (who ultimately instruct their letting agents) making business choices, it does not forgive or justify the behavior of Shelter to incite harassment.”

A spokesperson for ludlowthomsompson said it was incorrect for Shelter to claim that it had not responded.

He said: “ludlowthompson responded to Shelter’s letter within 24 hours.”

Shelter has confirmed to EYE that it intends to prosecute letting agents who it believes discriminate against housing benefits tenants.

The lobbying organisation has been conducting a mystery shopping exercise, posing as tenants.

The link shows the latest email to Shelter supporters:

Shelter 4.10.18

Shelter singles out agent in campaign to get supporters to phone a two-minute protest

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47 Comments

  1. smile please

    Sounds like harassment. I suggest we all take a few minutes out our day and call Shealter and tell them. Then get your negs to do it, then your kids…. granny…..neighbours dog….

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    1. Property Poke In The Eye

      Agree, this is harassment.  We all need to support each other on this one.

      Getting sick of these Shelter etc mobs trying to target small businesses when it’s government policy they should be targeting.

      Let’s face it, benefit claiming tenants very rarely pass referencing procedures and 99.9% do not have guarantors.

       

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    2. Will

      This is what the Citizens Advice say constitutes Harassment. I suspect only those being harassed can report it!

      What is harassment?
      Harassment is when someone behaves in a way which makes you feel distressed, humiliated or threatened. It could be someone you know, like a neighbour or people from you local area or it could be a stranger – for example, someone on the bus.

      Examples of harassment include:

      unwanted phone calls, letters, emails or visits
      abuse and bullying online
      stalking
      verbal abuse and threats
      smashing windows or using dogs to frighten you.

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  2. AgencyInsider

    If this is as reported it is disgraceful behaviour by Shelter.

    What is ARLA or any other lettings trade body doing to engage with Shelter and to educate them in these matters? Let me guess…nothing?

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  3. Robert May

    The charities commission really need to investigate whether it is right that Shelter take money from the public under the  guise of homing the homeless yet  who appear to do nothing more than provide well paid  executive role for  people  very closely connected to the Labour party who then simply lobby  government.

     

    The solution to the housing crisis  will not be provided by central government; there simply is not the stability, consistency or domain knowledge in a Housing department that at best was supposed to change every 5 years but has been  disrupted by 2  recent general elections and now the threat of a 3rd.

     

    A privately funded social enterprise that sits outside all that is currently being badly administered is the only real way forward. This   Student Unionesque way of carrying on ought to be an embarrassment to all those involved.  It is amateur and quite frankly, pathetic.

     

     

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    1. Peter Knight

      Shelter’s accounts show they raised £61million last year and their staff costs were £39million, 64%. I wonder how many people leaving money to Shelter in their wills or simply putting change into a bucket have any idea how of where their money goes.

      https://england.shelter.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0013/1405030/OBR-1521_Annual_Report_DIGITAL_FINAL.pdf

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      1. Robert May

        How many people were given how many nights accommodation? The KPI for a  charity such as Shelter is how many people  slept warm and dry because of them?   If bed breakfast evening meal even in London is available from   £60 a night

        There are quite a lot of £60’s in £39m so how many were provided?

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        1. Home Provider

          According to page 7 (digital page 4), Shelter paid for a few nights’ accommodation for a family of five.  This must have been so unusual as to warrant mentioning in the interim Chief Executive’s Introduction: https://england.shelter.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0013/1405030/OBR-1521_Annual_Report_DIGITAL_FINAL.pdf 
          There are no details of the cost of providing any other accommodation anywhere else in the report. 

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      2. Home Provider

        A summary of the figures can be found here: https://www.property118.com/free-advice-shelter/

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        1. Robert May

          I’ve got a day full of accountants, solicitors and important people today and don’t have time to  read all of that. How many bed/nights did they  provide? by my reckoning anything less than 650,000  gives cause for serious concern as that is what I would do if I was a charity for the  homeless and had an operational provision of £39m

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        2. PeeBee

          Thank you for that, Home Provider.

          It makes very interesting… disturbing – and hugely embarrassing for Shelter – reading.

          To me, the whole issue of Shelter’s inefficiency is summed up perfectly to everyone – not just Estate Agents – by this:

          “The accounts show that Shelter shops sold goods for a total of £8.5 million. But the staff working in them cost £3.4 million, and “other shop costs” were £4.5 million.  The net contribution was 630k, or 7.43% of sales – seven pence halfpenny in the pound from selling things that were given to them for nothing.”

          Beggars belief.

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  4. MarkRowe

    What a disgusting outfit. Shelter need to be reported for this.

     

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    1. Home Provider

      The campaigns director said Blobby, Blobby, Blobby. https://www.property118.com/will-shelter-sue-birmingham-city-council-letting-agents-landlords/

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      1. Deltic2130

        Literally cried with laughter at that sentence about ‘there’s only one word for it’ and then ‘finding another word for it’ etc… hilarious

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  5. frostieclaret87

    Nothing to do with homelessness this is just a front for a Momentum style left wing organisation. Bully boys in a disguise.

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    1. Property Poke In The Eye

      I think we are unravelling shelter here.

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  6. Rayb92

    Shelter are a self serving organisation not a charity, their interest is publicity for more donations / more salaries,  .. what charity behaves like this, they are a disgrace

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  7. Jonti500

    Totally outrageous but typical of Shelter. They have forgotten their remit. I agree with previous replies and add that again ultimately the landlords make the decision of who they take as tenants and not the agent. Can anyone out there find figures that show the arrears % of those in employment and those on UC or HB . I know what my business shows and it is not a pretty picture.  Employed/student arrears 3% those on benefits 44% over 2 months arrears. Maybe Shelter should be helping them pay their rent with their funding received instead of being wasteful !

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  8. htsnom79

    In essence this is in the same vein as the well reported case in the US of the gay wedding cake, bible bashing cake shop owners refusing to make a cake for a gay couple and being compelled to do so or face censure, all sorts of liberty/freedom issues there with plus and minus intentions on both sides.

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    1. CountryLass

      It is, and it isn’t. The situation in the US was simply based on a book written thousands of years ago that says it is wrong to love someone with the same genitals as you. There was no evidence that in making the cake it would impact on the cake maker, their family, staff or business in any negative way.

      Taking a Tenant on HB however, has caused severe stress and financial hardships for hundreds, if not thousands of Landlords. Although that is probably only a fraction of the amount of Tenants who receive HB, I hasten to add. I have one at the moment, as she is absolutely fantastic!

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  9. JMK

    I hope Ludlow Thompson sue the **** off of them for damages.  Let’s see what that does to the funding of this faux charity when the philanthropic donors realise their money is being spent on expensive lawyers and compensation!

    Meanwhile I intend to stop using the companies on this page (assuming I do already do business with them) because they support Shelter….  https://england.shelter.org.uk/what_we_do/corporate_partners

     

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    1. jeremy1960

      JMK what we need is a well worded letter addressed to shelter and their corporate sponsors clearly laying out how little shelter does to help homelessness. I and I’m sure many others would contribute towards the cost then of publishing said letter in full page adverts in the national press. The corporates need shaming into withdrawing their support and those fools that continue to donate to shelter need to know how little of their contribution goes to charity work and how much funds over inflated salaries!

      This is the sort of thing trade bodies should be doing but then are they not just as guilty? Taking subscription monies to pay for flash offices and salaries?

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      1. Deltic2130

        Yes, let’s do this! How should we best organise it?

        And JMK, totally agree, ALL corporate sponsors need boycotting and telling why!

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    2. The_Maluka

      I too pledge not to use any of Shelter’s corporate partners until Shelter supports both landlords and tenants.  I anticipate a long wait.

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    3. Gromit

      I too will stop using their sponsors.

      A letter of complaint to the Charity Commissioners is needed demanding that their charitable status is revoked.

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  10. kittygirl06

    Shelter is a wolf in sheeps clothing and the corporate sponsors are being taken for mugs.   There are many more genuine charities which could do with support  please sponsors give to these charities instead. Shelter is a disgrace.

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  11. downdoobydodowndowndubaduba

    I think it’s a national disgrace that shelter behaves in this manner and I believe it’s an abuse of their position to take such action against an estate agency. This is not shelters job to be the dictators of what agents / Landlords should do or how they should run their business.  If anyone on housing benefit is not offered a rental property there is probably a very good reason for it,  – for the same reason we reject people who work but the situation just not stack up well enough to offer them a property and we probably have a less risky candidate that the Landlord would prefer.

    We do not do what buy to let mortgage lenders and insurance companies are allowed to do – state in buy to let mortgage agreements and Insurance policies that properties must be let out to working professionals only and they can stipulate “no benefits”

    Banks and insurance companies are allowed by law to use historical information and risk assessment models to make such rules to ensure their business is not put at risk.  — are we not allowed the same courtesy of assessing risk in our business? I don’t agree with any blanket policy of “no DSS“,  I do think everyone should have the right to apply and we have several tenants who have a benefit income that make good tenants – but in our business when rent arrears go wrong or property is not looked after properly there is a significantly higher number of those cases where the tenants are on benefits.

    Shelter should organise better  round the table meetings with government and other interested parties to try and resolve the issues they claim to be trying to resolve, not inciting and using potentially vulnerable people to try and stir up this latest Shelter self publicity

     

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  12. RosBeck73

    I’m going to stop using B & Q from now on. They raise funds for Shelter, and Shelter attacks landlords non-stop. In this way, B & Q is attacking its own customer base.  I suggest others do the same and write to B & Q telling them. Also, the NLA works with B & Q, so should also be contacted about this to ask what they are doing? (I’m not a member – it would be best coming from members)

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  13. GeorgeHammond78

    I think we’re all agreed that Shelter truly are

    Champions of a

    United

    Network

    Tirelessly working to

    Shoot those most needy in the feet. …However, this forum is but an echo chamber and, sadly, our collective commonsense will have no influence  while we have a Government and Opposition who are united in their attempts to destroy the PRS.

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  14. IWONDER36

    ShelterA place giving temporary protection from bad weather or danger.

    Might want to reconsider your name Shelter, given that the very people you attack are the ones providing the shelter?

    May I recommend Despot?

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    1. qweasdzxc

      They aren’t called Shelter. Their proper name is ‘Shelter, The National Campaign for Homeless People Limited’. They are breaking the law (Companies (Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2008) by not including this in their emails and on their website. They do include their other company details on their website but in my opinion it should be given equal billing with their charity details (every page) not just one page. By calling themselves Shelter they appear to be passing themselves off as Shelter Limited (a company which I believe is owned by 2 solicitors).

      The email linked to in the article should also have included company number, registered address etc as it is a business letter.

      You can report this breach to Companies House.

      Shelter’s objects are (taking from their Governing Document by the Charity Commission):

      TO PLAY A CREATIVE PART IN THE LIFE OF THE NATION BY RELIEVING HUMAN SUFFERING IRRESPECTIVE OF COLOUR, CREED OR CLASS AND FOR THE FOLLOWING PURPOSES:
      (I) TO RELIEVE HARDSHIP AND DISTRESS AMONG HOMELESS PEOPLE AND AMONG THOSE IN NEED WHO ARE LIVING IN ADVERSE HOUSING CONDITIONS.
      (II) TO MAKE MONIES AVAILABLE TO HOUSING ASSOCIATIONS AND OTHER BODIES (WHETHER CORPORATE OR NOT) WHOSE AIMS BEING CHARITABLE ARE THE RELIEF OF SUCH HARDSHIP AND DISTRESS.
      (III) TO RELIEVE POVERTY AND DISTRESS
      (IV) TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC CONCERNING THE NATURE, CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF HOMELESSNESS, HUMAN SUFFERING, POVERTY AND DISTRESS AS AFORESAID AND TO CONDUCT AND PROCURE RESEARCH CONCERNING THE SAME AND TO MAKE AVAILABLE THE USEFUL RESULTS THEREAFTER TO THE PUBLIC.

      Object III makes no mention of homelessness and I would consider their campaign is causing considerable distress to the owners and staff of Ludlow Thompson.

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  15. Peter

    “Shelter is stepping up its campaign against agent ludlowthompson, whom it is accusing of discrimination against renters on housing benefit.”

     

    Just Ludlow Thompson!!! I am sure there is a word for not involving everyone.

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  16. jeremy1960

    Interestingly at the end of the rant email from James at Shelter encouraging the great unwashed to call Ludlow Thompson is a quote – “for every £1 you donate 79p goes towards helping people struggling with bad housing & homelessness”

    The figures in the accounts just do not stack up to that!

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    1. fluter

      I think that is referring to the salaries that are paid to their staff to keep them housed!

      Report
  17. Deltic2130

    Shelter disgust me on so many levels. We should get all our landlords, agents, clients to repeatedly machine gun their phone lines with spurious issues or to tell them what utter hypocritical codpieces they are. Shelter, the only ‘homeless charity’ that aggressively attacks those actually providing housing whilst providing none themselves! Utter insanity.

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    1. JMK

      We could do it on their FB page Deltic, but as you know, you make a nuisance of yourself there and they simply ban you.  What hypocrites!

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  18. paulelowe

    Maybe Shelter should start acting as a guarantor for these LHA tenants and underwrite any losses to the Landlord. That way, the lenders would be happy and the tenants wouldn’t be getting evicted for not paying their rent.

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  19. Woodhen

    Ludlow Thompson should open a Crowd Fund Account and raise the cash to set a precedent. Sure many agents would support this route.

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  20. Tell It As It Is

    Shelter should focus on the root cause why some agents don’t accept renters on Housing Benefits. They should lobby their councils, MP’s and the government. Until there is a fair and easy system for all. From experience councils tell their renters to say put if no rent is paid and landlords/agents are out of pocket by hundreds/thousands by going through the courts to evict the tenants (guess this is the landlord or agent fault again- as everything normally is according to Shelter).

    Or even better they can focus on insurance companies who have the clauses for ‘ no benefit tenant’ in their insurances.

    I feel landlords/agents are always the escape goats and get punished at every opportunity. I hope Ludlow Thompson sues them.

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    1. CountryLass

      *scapegoats 😉

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  21. TheAgent48

    Well Shelter I must admit we are about to make two tenants homeless the first one was evicted last week with significant rent arrears, damages and eviction costs the total debt is £3,279.70.  I was in court yesterday getting a possession order on a lovely Housing Benefit tenant who owes 4 months rent £1,500.00 in arrears plus Solicitors legals of £850.00.  Yes all agents and landlords are BAD, all Housing Benefit tenants are GOOD!!!

    Poor homeless tenants who don’t even pay the housing benefit they receive in the form of Universal Credit, towards rent.  Universal Beer & **** Credits!!!

    I guarantee HB tenants are a significantly higher risk than working tenants, why doesn’t shelter set up some kind of guarantee scheme so that they can ultimately foot the bill for the debts that HB tenants leave behind, perhaps then Landlords would be happy to take them, knowing they are covered.

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  22. cyberduck46

    Homelessness is a serious problem but Shelter can’t be doing themselves any favours with behaviour like this.

     

    I doubt donors will be very impressed.

     

     

     

     

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    1. Will

      May be their donors, their affiliates such as Nationwide Building Society, B&Q and MP’s/Government/ Charity Commission condone or even encourage such behavior in their clear landlord bashing practices.

      Report
  23. CountryLass

    I was just about to make a purchase of a speciality coffee pack as a gift when I spotted that a portion of it would go the Shelter ‘to help battle homelessness’.

    The message I sent to the company

    “You’ve put that Shelter battle homelessness, but are you aware that they don’t actually house a single homeless person, or provide any actual assistance? They are not a charity anymore, they are a lobby group who are currently harassing one specific letting agent for following the rules and guidelines set down by their Landlords insurance companies. I was looking at making a purchase of the advent calendar until I saw that my purchase would be supporting a group of political bullies.”

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    1. Deltic2130

      Good shot, Countrylassl! Same for B&Q where the Shelter pot on the tradepoint counter said ‘together fighting for quality housing for all’. 
      Course they are.

      Report
  24. Home Provider

    This is how Shelter claims to help.  By advice, support and legal services, and campaigning – not by housing anybody:
    “What we do
    Shelter helps millions of people every year struggling with bad housing or homelessness through our advice, support and legal services. And we campaign to make sure that, one day, no one will have to turn to us for help”
    https://england.shelter.org.uk/what_we_do

    Report
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