Shelter warns that lack of engagement from accidental landlords has ‘serious consequences’ for tenants

Shelter has warned that ‘accidental landlords’ need to be more engaged in the rental sector.

Writing as part of a collection of essays to mark the Residential Landlord Association’s (RLA) 20th anniversary, Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, suggested “disengagement” and “lack of awareness” among those who did not intentionally become landlords had serious consequences for tenants.

She said the sector is often seen as divided between rogue landlords and the prfoessionals who would typically also be part of the RLA.

But Neate added: “I’m increasingly thinking about those landlords whose behaviour and attitudes exist in the space between the RLA members and the ‘rogues’.

“The ones for whom becoming a landlord was necessitated by circumstance and wasn’t a conscious decision, the ones who have no interest in finding out more about the responsibility of providing another person’s home.

“These landlords may not be wilfully exploitative, but their disengagement and lack of awareness have serious consequences for their tenants and the lives being built in their properties. It is an enormous responsibility to be a landlord and it isn’t something that should be done half-heartedly.”

Neate said she hoped Shelter and the RLA can reach more of those ‘in-between’ landlords and “create a sector which is fully equipped across the board to provide the long-term, stable, good quality homes that are the foundation of wellbeing for individuals, families, communities and our society.”

The RLA publication also includes essays from Martin Partington, chairman of The Dispute Service, who accuses civil servants and politicians of not taking the rental sector seriously, while Luke Murphy, associate director at the Institute for Public Policy Research also calls for tax incentives for landlords who invest in the upgrade of the quality or energy efficiency of their property.

The essays were launched at an RLA parliamentary event this week attended by housing secretary James Brokenshire and the shadow housing secretary, John Healey.

Brokenshire said: “I want to congratulate the RLA on 20 years of hard work helping make the private rented sector better for everyone.

“This is a vision shared by government and is why we have taken action to raise standards in the sector and protect tenants from substandard accommodation and unfair charges.

“There is much more still to be done to ensure everyone has a decent and safe home, and I look forward to continuing our work alongside the RLA in the months and years to come.”

Alan Ward, chairman of the RLA, said: “The RLA’s 20th anniversary provides an opportunity to take stock of where the private rented sector now is, and where we all want it to go.

“All the contributors recognise the importance of the sector in providing homes to many millions of people.

“As we go forward we need to ensure the sector works for tenants and good landlords alike, whilst rooting out the criminals who have no place in a modern rental market.”


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  1. Rayb92

    Is this the best Polly could come up with for today’s attack ? I suppose when she drives private landlords out she will have one hell of a busy homeless charity !

    1. Eyereaderturnedposter12

      Interestingly, Polly Neate is an anagram for ”Lonely pate”…


      Somewhat ironic in so far as pate is an offal based paste, shaped into something that appears more appetising- Is it possible that pate inspired much of Shelter’s press releases (I.e. offal, shaped into something that appears more appetising)?

  2. jeremy1960

    PRS warns that lack of engagement from shelter has ‘serious consequences’ for tenants

    1. JMK

      I wish I could give you ‘2 thumbs ups’ for that Jeremy.

      Shelter’s links with L&G suggest that there is another agenda.  I do wonder how people that donate to Shelter would feel if they were told that not a penny of their donation goes toward actually housing a single person.  Instead nearly 2/3 pays for Shelter’s salaries (particularly the very highly paid Director’s).  The rest of it goes on just running Shelter and paying for research from the likes of the Socialist Fabian Society.  If donors are true-blue Tories they may be a little shocked!

  3. Lettingagent21878

    Shut up Polly

  4. bridget

    I would have thought the consequences would be more serious for landlords for not engaging and understanding how to rent properly and legally.  Do one thing not by the book in the licensing/tenancy agreement/how to rent booklet/gas certificate/EPC/lack of proper inventory and the law will almost certainly be on the tenant’s side. It is surely of benefit to a tenant who knows their rights to be with a landlord who doesn’t!

  5. Eyereaderturnedposter12

    “As we go forward we need to ensure the sector works for tenants and good landlords alike, whilst rooting out the criminals who have no place in a modern rental market.”


    IMHO, Shelter should give serious consideration (and act accordingly) to the fact that it is AGENTS (who are roundly trounced on a regular basis, by Shelter) are the very people/organisations who ensure that ‘accidental Landlords’ find themselves on the right side of legality and compliance. Therefore, it is entirely incongruous of Shelter to, on the one hand suggest that the PRS requires drastic improvement…then, on the other hand wholeheartedly and proactively push an anti-agent agenda (I am primarily thinking of the very vocal support for an outright ban on agent Tenant fees). Perhaps Ms. Neate would be good enough to explain how these improvements may be made as a part of functioning PRS, but significantly supporting a major ‘cut’ in revenue for agents?


    Sorry Shelter, yet again… you’re promising cake and promising the eating of cake.

  6. CountryLass

    And if Shelter actually worked with Agents and Landlords, we could create that ‘ideal’ sector. However when they label Landlords criminals, Agents greedy, unscrupulous and continue to try and bash the industry into the ground, I think I’d rather team up with … well, nearly anyone!

  7. smile please

    This woman is proper barking.

    If you don’t believe me, or get it from the constant drivel she is spouting. Just google the images of her worth the 30 seconds!

    Polly do us all a favour and stick to putting the kettle on!

  8. sanctuary45

    Surely the headline should be “The property industry warns that the constant and never-ending stream of anti agent and anti landlord rhetoric as well as serious lack of engagement from Shelter has ‘serious consequences’ for tenants”


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