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Graham Awards


Long-standing critic of agents and landlords quits charity position

One of the most vocal critics of lettings agents in recent years appears to be moving away from the property industry.

Campbell Robb has most recently been chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Federation, a think tank which has often commented critically on the role of agents and landlords in the private rental sector.

Two years ago, shortly after Robb took the reins at the JRF, the organisation came into conflict with the Residential Landlords Association.


The RLA worte an angry letter of protest to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation following the publication of what it describes as a “misleading and distorted” report into evictions in the private rental sector.

The association said at the time it was“seriously concerned about the potentially misleading and distorted presentation of official statistics on repossessions.” This included the assertion by the JRF that “the number of tenants evicted by private landlords exceeded the number evicted by social landlords for the first time in 2014.”

The RLA said that, by contrast, Ministry of Justice data clearly showed that in every year since 2014 social sector landlords have made more claims to repossess a property than private sector landlords.

However, Robb’s clashes with the agency and landlord sectors began before he joined the JHF and when he was at Shelter.

In 2015 it was the RLA again that took Robb - then Shelter chief executive - to task for what it described as “emotionally charged” media statements about alleged harassment of tenants in the private rental sector.

Shelter had claimed 125,000 tenants had suffered abusive behaviour from landlords in the one year, although the number of tenants cited as calling its helpline was in fact under 17,000.

Robb is now quitting the JRF and appears to be leaving the housing sector completely; he is taking up the role of chief executive of Nacro, a social justice charity majoring in assisting those coming out of prison.

A spokesperson for the JRF says Robb had “led a comprehensive change programme across the organisation which has put values and outcomes at the heart of what we do.”

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    Did he jump or was he pushed?

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    He has done so much damage to the PRS and made it much harder now for the lower income bands of tenants.

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    Good riddance. It would also be good to see the back of Polly Neate as she has followed the same one-sided, misleading approach to the PRS. These people need to start providing housing, rather than spending vast amounts of money undermining those of us who do, with their crazy vendettas against private landlords.

  • jeremy clarke

    Let's hope that the Neate woman is next!

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    • 18 April 2019 08:24 AM

    Good riddance to a useless idiot who is clueless.
    I feel sorry for those who will suffer from his incompetence in the new role he has achieved.
    At least he is out of the housing game.
    So we WON'T have to put up with his imbecilities!
    Now get rid of the idiot Neate woman
    Surely these organisations can find those without political ideology to carry out a pragmatic job!?
    Most LL would readily accept there are minor issues that need to be dealt with.
    But there is no need to demonize a whole industry because of a few miscreants.
    Good LL want the miscreants gone just as much as Shelter etc.
    If I was ever aware of a rogue letting I would grass the LL up as quick as I could.
    I DON'T mind fair competition but rogue unfair competition depresses the rents I might be able to charge and reduces the value of my rental properties.
    I want rogue LL gone just as much as Shelter etc!!

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    Yes get rid of shelter total for a start and have and organisation that works with tenants and LLs, not one against the other.
    Fees from agents are a killer. EG, tenant for 2 years wants to renew in June 2019 for another 12 months, pays £1350 per month on the DD every single month, he does was is expected of him, agent wants to charge him £90 for a new/ continues 12 month tenancy. I can print tenancy agreements which costs the paper and ink 5p say, is this charge of £90 a rip off? Yes i say. The tenant said ok we will go statutory periodic but would rather have comfort of TA, flexibility by agent no, rip off by agent yes.

  • James Robinson

    He will be missed.......but like a cold sore he'll be back

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    He may have gone but lying to the public has been continued by Shelter’s new management, sometimes contradicting that organisation’s own body of research. To see how Shelter has lost its moral compass, google BOYCOTT SHELTER

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    Oh no! Terrible news. I thought maybe Robb or Neate had seen the error of their ways, but clearly not. Can’t they emigrate, or something?

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    Just close down shelter and put in a organisation that cares about both tenant and professional LLs


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