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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Shelter told ‘vilifying letting agents won't solve the housing crisis’

The National Approved Lettings Scheme has issued a sharp rebuke to Shelter and the National Housing Federation following their controversial ‘End DSS Discrimination’ campaign received blanket coverage across the mainstream and industry media. 

In a statement, NALS chief executive Isobel Thomson says the majority of lettings and managing agents are professionals who are skilled at managing housing benefit and universal credit tenancies, and who deal with applicants on a case by case basis. 

She say this even extends to many agents who help prospective and existing tenants obtain access to the benefits they are entitled to.

“An assumption that there is widespread discrimination, particularly of women and disabled people on benefits is emotive conjecture and fails to paint an accurate picture of the sector. In some areas tenants on benefits form agents’ client base” she insists.

“Vilification of letting agents and landlords will not resolve housing problems where the provision of sufficient social housing is at the heart of the matter. The complexity of the benefits system and delays in payment add to the difficulties.

“Shouldn’t we be working together to come up with solutions which could solve the ills of the sector to ensure that no vulnerable tenants are left behind rather than castigating one section of it?”

Yesterday the two charities revealed the results of a mystery shopping exercise which involved visiting 149 agency branches run by Bridgfords, Dexters, Fox & Sons, Haart, Hunters, and Your Move.

One in 10 had a branch policy not to let to anyone on housing benefit, regardless of whether they could afford the rent; 48 per cent of branches said they had no suitable homes or landlords willing to let to someone on housing benefit.

The charities’ report claimed Haart was the worst offender with eight out of 25 branches having an outright ban on housing benefit tenants. Only Hunters was found to have no such ban in place at any office. 

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    Shelter are clueless and trying to just appease their donors without any consideration for the consequences of their efforts on the wider market by landlords withdrawing. They must know fine well it will make the problem worse.
    If they had any true interest they would campaign government to pay landlords direct and dramatically increase the uptake in such tenants but for selfish reasons they won’t tackle the underlying problems

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    Shelter fund raise under the pretense that they are providing Shelter to the homeless (they don't).

    In fact all the money is spent on paying high wages to Polly and her mates to play lefty politics that do more damage to Housing.

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    Yes indeed. Google what some of these charities pay there C.E.O`s
    Shameful.

     
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    Shelter have an army of policy advisors, who get paid £50k so. Whilst the worker at the bottom who work in Shelter charity shops, struggle to get fair wages.

     
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    I don`t mind decent people by what ever means they pay there rent. Decent people.

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    Can you believe that one woman on benefits took an agent to court on the basis of 'INDIRECT SEX DISCRIMINATION' !!!!! The way they work this out is because more women then men are on benefits. It's like an episode of Monty Python. I wonder if Polly Neate and the other feeble brained individuals at Shelter also invented the Ministry of Funny Walks.

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    Can you believe that one woman on benefits took an agent to court on the basis of 'INDIRECT SEX DISCRIMINATION' !!!!! The way they work this out is because more women than men are on benefits. It's like an episode of Monty Python. I wonder if Polly Neate and the other feeble brained individuals at Shelter also invented the Ministry of Funny Walks.

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    Shelter abuse their 'charity' status to smear landlords. They are not interested in a housing system, which is fair to both tenants and landlords.

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    IN the past, we had no problems renting to people on housing benefits. Although the rent the council paid was lower and in arrears, it was nearly guaranteed by the state. If the housing benefit was stopped, the letting agent could sort things out by speaking to the council. The rent was always paid directly the landlord (or his/her agent).

    Then in 2008, the Labour government changed the housing benefit system. They introduced the LHA system. Instead of the rent being paid directly into the to the letting agent bank account, it went directly into the tenant's bank account. They were supposed to pay the agent. However, the tenants could not budget their finances or spent the money on other things. The council still carrying on putting money into the tenant's bank account, even if the tenant was not paying the rent.

    The letting agent I used, specialised in housing benefit tenants, but they were pulling their hairs out, when the LHA system was introduced. They were struggling to collect the rent from tenants, who kept their phones off, did not answer letters. Angry landlords, were phoning up the agency and asking them where is my rent. Those agencies, then decided to get out dealing with housing benefit tenants and just focus on working tenants.

    The system has been broken for years. Did Shelter do the fair and honest thing and campaign for direct payment?

    Housing Associations and Council get their rent paid directly. This is clearly injustice.

    The Government is working to introduce Universal Credit, so just like private landlords, the housing benefit for council and housing associations tenants will be paid directly to the tenant. Shelter claimed it would cause huge problems for housing associations and council, because they would not get the rent paid!!

    Shelter should loose its charity status, as it behaves as a political group.

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