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Poor quality, badly maintained, over-priced - Shelter attacks rental properties

Shelter has returned to the attack on the private rental sector.

In a new report it claims a third of tenants in England live in homes which are poorly maintained, low quality and with rents that are unjustifiably expensive.

In a survey of 5,000 tenants, undertaken by polling organisation YouGov, the results show that 35 per cent live in what Shelter describes as poor conditions suffering from infestation, damp or electrical problems.


Shelter also claims that this would represent three million tenants in England suffering sub-standard rented accommodation; it says an even higher number pay too much for the quality of home they have.

“Millions have spent months trapped in private rentals they do not trust to keep them safe. And right now, there is no light at the end of the tunnel” says Shelter’s chief executive Polly Neate.

“After decades of decline, a dire lack of social homes means too many people, pay too much for cramped and poor-quality housing. Or worse yet, they find themselves with nowhere to live. With the stakes so high, the case for building decent social homes is clear.”

The findings from the survey claim:

- 51% of private renters in England say their home has made them feel safe during the coronavirus pandemic;

- 3m live in poor conditions, with electrical hazards, pests or damp-related issues in their home;

- 3.6m say they pay too much for the quality of home they have.

  • Paul Singleton

    Because of Shelter:
    1. Rents have increased.
    2. Less property is available.
    Please take a look in the mirror Polly!

  • James B

    Maybe take a look at the condition of some of these properties before tenants moved in ! A vast number of tenants are not capable of running a house, cannot do basic cleaning or ventilate. It’s like having kids to look after in houses all on their own

  • Stephen Chipp

    I think I am going to sell my business and work for shelter. Why should I continually work my backside off with all of my landlords complying to the mountains of legislation that has come into effect in recent years (as do most agents and landlords by the way) when I could simply sit in office and throw hand grenades such as this? I would love to see the survey questions...

  • Roger  Mellie

    They're always going to be moaning about something.

  • icon

    I keep asking Polly Neate this question. Not surprisingly, she never answers it. Private landlords provide homes for over 4 million households. As a housing charity, how many does Shelter provide homes for?


    One - Polly Neate!

  • Mark Wilson

    My experience outside London has been paying for student housing in Leeds, Nottingham and Bristol. Without doubt low standard expensive housing. Students are unfortunately treated like crap. They have become fodder for Landlords, breweries and pizza deliveries.

    James B

    Why don’t you join a tenant forum or support shelters page then at least you can get someone to cheer you along with your anti landlord views ?


    So Mark when you rented those properties did you not consider the condition of the accommodation? Did you not take responsibility for finding good quality that suited your needs? Surely you realise that rents are set by the market, there is no such thing as an 'overpriced property'. Or did you go cheap and cheerful to save a few quid and muck in with your mates? I have dealt extensively with students as an inventory Clerk over 21 years and I can assure you that 95% of them live like pigs and have no care whatsoever for their living environment but are always the first to lie, whinge and whine about the condition they leave their homes in.

    Mark Wilson

    I am only telling you my experience, and based on that, I am less than neutral in defending BTL who target students in university towns. The pool of properties seems to be generally very poor. I would support students legally being able to break agreements as force majeure in this covid climate. They have enough debt to deal with already.

  • girish mehta

    I have dogs and renters . Which are cleaner .my dogs win all the time. They maintain them.My tenants do not clean . Live in filth. 8i have to chase them to clean which never gets done.
    Then I get accused of harresment. Shelter needs to take a balanced view. Not keep on harping about issues of tenants

    • 07 October 2020 11:17 AM

    Dogs and renters???? Same thing isn't it?


    @David Crisp. Not at all - dogs are much nicer and cause less problems.

    I have never had to terminate a viewing because of the prospective tenant's dog, but I have because of their children!

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    • 07 October 2020 11:19 AM

    See - I was right.......

    "My tenants do not clean. Live in filth. 8i have to chase them to clean, which never gets done.
    Then I get accused of harresment."

    The exact same definition.........

  • icon

    Six figured salary and a charity that houses no one. Your not really in a place to lecture are you Dame Polly? Try using your state and charity income to help some people who desperately need help instead of just gobbing off and only helping yourself.

  • icon

    These numbers for 2017 are simply staggering

    For the year ended March 2017 (England)

    Total incoming resources: £60,902,000
    Total expenditure: £62,874,000
    Fundraising costs: £18,852,000
    Total cost of charitable activities: £44,022,000

    £61 Million and they have housed no one. They pay Polly six figures a year! In theory that could buy at an average £100k per property 610 houses with no lending every year housing say 4 people in each. Thats 2440 people with roofs over their head every year for the life of the property.


    Just sums it up really. A Business not a charity.


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