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 Shelter slammed as “childish” for “appalling” attack on agents

Propertymark has made an uncharacteristically strong attack on the campaigning charity Shelter for its portrayal of letting agents.

Ahead of yesterday’s Queen’s Speech the charity posted a highly provocative video and statement accusing some letting agents of “cutting corners.” 

The video shows the fake Only Choice Lettings company, in which an agent, played by comedian Rory Marshall, relentlessly tries to let properties to prospective tenants. 


At first glance, the listings look like a good deal but as the agent shares more detail the customers feign shock at what they see and hear. 

In a statement launching the video, Shelter’s chief executive Polly Neate says: “Landlords and letting agents have got away with cutting corners for far too long because renters are powerless to challenge them. Tenants are sick of paying through the nose for terrible rentals because they have no other choice.

“Every day our frontline services hear from renters stuck living in nightmare situations, too scared to complain for fear they’ll be kicked out. No-one should be stuck living in mouldy homes that make them ill or have to put up with landlords who turn up unannounced.”

Now Propertymark has hit back, with a vengeance. 

Chief executive Nathan Emerson says: “Shelter’s newest attack on letting agents is appalling. Their war on the private rented sector is one of the main reasons why tenants are now faced with very little choice, which is nonsensical given it is the country’s second largest tenure and they want to end homelessness.

“Shelter also wish to enhance standards in the sector, but 83 per cent of tenants state they are satisfied with their properties and recent [government] figures show that investment in repairs and maintenance to private accommodation has seen all-time highs over the past 18 months. 

“This is in stark contrast to the social sector that has seen investment in repairs and maintenance at the lowest levels since records began over the last two years.

“The private rented sector is regularly called upon to support the social housing sector, yet its value is being overlooked, undervalued and now ridiculed.”


Emerson continues: “Thousands of agents take pride in their work, are passionate about providing a good service and go above and beyond for tenants. Shelter’s narrow-minded attack undermines those professionals who work hard for their landlords and tenants.

“If Shelter truly wanted to ‘fix’ the ‘broken rented system’ they would engage with the sector to understand how to recognise good agents whilst removing the minority of bad ones.

”If Shelter supported us in our calls for the Regulation of Property Agents the sector may get some workable, tangible results.

“Letting agents want to see rogue agents that bring them into disrepute removed, Shelter want to see rogue agents removed. We have common goals to see a high standard sector, but that goal will not be realised in a childish war.”

  • Peter Ward

    The homeless in a country such as ours appalls me everyday. Its easy to sit and criticise for lack of understanding and communication.

    Shelter sadly have allowed a voice which perpetuates a negative vibe against a positive force within society which is actually providing a much needed source of housing for just those people.

    Working in harmony and together is always a better option. Hopeless talk and homeless people need people who fight for their ability to get warmth kindness and a place to sleep , among the basics of life .

    Ivory towers doesn't help in today's Stark and sadly real fact of the daily poverty which Is sadly too long overdue as being addressed.

    Today is the Day stop the homelessness it's unacceptable and needs to change what are you doing today to eradicate it as part of OUR society .

    Thanks for reading.


  • John Ahmed

    One thing I know about Shelta is their desire to rubbish private landlords and agents who provide a much needed service in the UK. Instead of wasting the monies donated to them on trying to rubbish the private sector perhaps they could do better with their resources for the homeless.

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    • C S
    • 18 May 2022 13:43 PM

    Perhaps if Shelter could stop vilifying the private sector for just a minute then they could see the negative impact their behaviour has. The PRS has picked up the slack for the unending failings of social housing and there is no recognition of this or of the potential for mass homelessness that could be caused by hammering away at the PRS until there is nothing left.

  • icon

    Instead of going after the PRS, maybe Shelter could take a look at the Social Housing Sector? Just a look at some of the newspaper articles will tell you that it's the Council stock that is in the worst condition. Most Letting Agent's don't / won't work with rogue landlords, Letting Agents want the PRS to work effectively and are doing everything they can to ensure that it does - surely Shelter can see that it's in the agents best interests that the PRS survives?
    It's easy for Shelter to sit in their Ivory Tower and vilify landlords and agents, they don't house tenants and don't do anything to implement real change.


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