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Law Breakers: Shelter slams landlords for “criminal behaviour”

Campaigning charity Shelter has made a shocking attack on landlords, claiming many of them are acting illegally.

It claims 45 per cent of England’s private tenants have been victims of illegal behaviour from a landlord or letting agent.

A YouGov poll of 3,500 renters revealed the most common illegal act being entering their home without giving notice or a chance to give permission – 25 per cent of respondents claimed to have experienced this.


Some 22 per cent of private renters said essential safety or household appliances like smoke alarms, central heating or water supplies were not working when they moved into a property.  

And 18 per cent said their landlord or agent had broken the law by failing to secure their deposit in an approved scheme. 

The most startling claim by Shelter is that nine per cent of tenants allege they have been assaulted, threatened or harassed by their landlord or agent. 

And in a statement today Shelter tells the government that the upcoming Renters’ Reform Bill must include a National Landlord Register to ensure landlords fulfil their legal obligations and “give renters the power to enforce their rights against law-breaking behaviour.”

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, adds: “Millions of private renters across the country don’t feel safe or secure in their [homes] because of landlords and agents who flout the law. People should not have to put up with broken safety alarms, strangers bursting into their homes unannounced or the threat of harassment and violence. 

“Enough is enough. Nobody is above the law and renters are tired of being powerless to enforce their rights. The government has promised voters a fairer private renting system that punishes illegal behaviour by landlords and letting agents. To deliver on this promise, its Renters’ Reform Bill must include a National Landlord Register that makes landlords fully accountable and helps drive up standards across private renting.”

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    No-one condones criminal behaviour by LLs but Shelter's stance is so biased and one sided. What about the shocking behaviour displayed by some tenants - running up huge debts & trashing properties?

    Meanwhile most LLs & tenants continue with a perfectly happy relationship.

    This constant bashing o f LLs is driving the good ones out and the bad ones continue as before. When Shelter and Gen Rent have destroyed the PRS where are all the renters going to live?

    Joanna Gibbings

    What-about-ery does nothing to address the issue.
    Many agents are abysmal both in their behaviour and knowledge of the law, as I know from the experience of friends and family.

    Mark Wilson

    I agree Joanna, agents are the worst for disrespecting tenants privacy. It is as you say, part down to poor training


    Joanna, was your poll that concluded that many agents are abysmal based on 2 or 3 people? In my experience the letting agents I have dealt with have been very knowledgeable and professional.


    Don't tar all agents with the same brush, I use a small independent in Norwich who treat both landlords and tenants with respect and fairly .


    I agree this goes on our own experiences. I now no longer use agents as have had bad experiences over the years. That said there must be good ones out there. It would be good if this website could offer a facility where we could have recommendations from other LL's both for agents and trades people.


    When renting I had so many reported structural issues with the property ignored by the agency I eventually contacted the landlord direct. None of the information had been passed on and it resulted in thousands of pounds in corrective work being undertaken.

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    Slammed again by what must be one of the biggest charity scams of all time. Shelter the charity (business) that houses no one. But just like any successful business pays six figure salaries.

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    Hi Poly, that’s a nice figure 45% your Organisation must like that figure, it seems remarkably similar to the blatant lie Shelter told about Deposits being withheld by LL to get law changed on Deposits perverting justice. It later turned out to be less that 2% that went to Deposit Resolution, so where was 45% never no such thing. So we had law change based on absolute lies, as a result I forego £30k Deposits because of this rather than waste my life dealing with false schemes. I have repeatedly tried them without success it a blight on Business.
    So now you want another law change based on more untruths I am sure it should fly through Parliament like the one before with your Sky high figure, no use telling little porkies is it Poly. People don’t get £125k a year for nought at least tell a few fibs.
    I am not saying you personally had anything with introduction of Deposit debacle although you might have had a hand in the 2015 De-Regulation Act by your Organisation. However you had good teachers Colin Rabb, predecessor if my memory serves me right he loved LL equally as much.

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    Renters Reform Bill must be scrapped now in the interest of Justice.


    Renters Reform Bill must be scrapped in the interest of tenants.

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    We get on very well with our Tenants in general, they are our friends & Customers and do everything possible to ensure they enjoy their stay and if you can find even one of my former Tenants to say otherwise without bribery I’ll take my hat off to you & eat it.
    Enough is enough and seems to be only one Unelected Organisation which is above the Law.

  • Andrew McCausland

    Almost 1 in 10 have been assaulted by their agent? 18% have failed to protect the deposit? Really??

    I would take these statistics with a VERY large dose of salts. If Shelter want to be taken seriously again they need to do better research and not throw out figures like these. It simply undermines their credibility even further - and it has been pretty poor for the past few years since they started campaigning and stopped actually helping people into homes.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    How does Shelters dubious figures 'square ' with 84% of Tenants being satisfied with private renting, ( according to EHS )
    Renter groups campaign for the 5 % of Free-loading Tenants and all they push Govt for harm the 95% of lawful renters, cause shortages in housing and increase rents.
    If only Tenants saw that !

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    Shelter come into contact people seeking help because they are in a pickle, possibly because of their behaviour/arrears etc so will get a jaundiced view on the situation. just like the guy who works for the RAC, he will tell you that modern cars are always breaking down

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    shelter should lose its charitable status--it is overtly political


    Like most charities these days most of the cash goes on inflated wages, noses in troughs.

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    I don’t know why they included Letting Agents who are already professional, ARLA staying very quiet.
    The LL’s are very naughty to be damaging their own fire Alarms.
    So Shelter if you have evidence of Assault why have you not being to the Police or the Tenant not been to Police but you can’t go throwing wild Allegations like that around & expect to get away with it. Really the Article has nothing that stands up to scrutiny. Shame on you.

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    1786 read this today yet only 18 comments, 4 of which were mine so only 14 others.
    Please don’t hide behind the Bushes, come out be counted, make your views know and stand up for your Business.
    This is exactly what happened when we were campaigning for Section 21 the majority sat on the fence. When it came in they were the first to advantage of any right we achieved and indeed the whole Buy 2 Let Market was based on that foundation, so please don’t sit on your hand waiting to see what happens, then it’s too late, fight your corners now.

    Daniela Provvedi

    Absolutely right, Michael, here I am....

    Shame that there isn't an organisation standing up for our rights and arranging a YouGov poll of 3,500 LL revealing the most common illegal act caused by tenants! That would be interesting, but not surprising.

    Tenants in one of my properties are moving out on the 1st Oct. They've blocked me on their WhatsApp and eMail, LOL.
    They're cross with me because I've been contacting them daily for the rent arrears for Feb & Mar 2021. And because I'm chasing them for rent for this month, which was due on the 1st; today is the 14th. They were planning on using their Deposit to pay for their last month's rent.
    They're cross because I told them they have to professionally clean the flat (which is the way they received it 2 years ago), and on inspection a week ago, it was so disgustingly dirty that I wouldn't put my dog to live in there.
    They're also cross because they find it an imposition that I have arranged for a 3rd party company to do the Inventory and Check-out on the day they move.

    It's all a bloody joke. But thank goodness they have a Guarantor, so my threaten of a CCJ made them pay up very quickly!
    I phoned the NRLA Advice line about the professional cleaning, and they advised me that the tenants aren't obliged to have the Flat "professionally" cleaned as from June 2019 (I think?) because that's when the Tenants Fees Act came in.
    The 3rd party company doing the check-out is OK, because I'm paying for it, but I have to be present while the check is being done.
    All I can say is thank God I did the Check-in and am going to do the Check-out (with the same company). That report will produce all the sh*t they've caused; they can kiss their Deposit good-bye!

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    “Strangers bursting into their homes unannounced”!!! The terminology used by Shelter and the like, is so divisive. Over 20 years all our tenants are given plenty of notice in advance, of any necessary visits. NEVER threatened any of our tenants, BUT, been threatened many times. Would not put tenants in a property that did not meet full safety standards,BUT, have often got our property back in desperate need of repair ….but THEY don’t want to hear any of that!!!!

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    Reading their tweets, Shelter is pushing this "National Landlord Register" a lot, so if they get that can we have a "tenant register" because the number one point of the Landlord register is "You can check that your landlord is decent and doesn’t behave illegally".

    I'm sure a lot of us would quite like that information about a prospective tenant!

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    Shelter on the band wagon, illegal entry KEEP LANDLORD OUT at all costs. Tenants don’t want LL to see what’s going on or how many extra they have staying or subletting or anything else they shouldn’t be doing. I believe sometimes they think it’s illegal entry when it’s not thanks to HMO interference. I believe a LL can enter a HM0 if he has a room or rooms vacant as he is not entering the let parts and if common parts then they are common parts and not exclusive to one or other. So tell me how to run your HM0, one person occupied a room probably with some facilities, are they trying to tell us say other 5 rooms going excluded from LL control or controlled by some one that happens to occupy a part. Keep LL out at all costs then fine him for not being in Control of Management.

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    Shelter are a government advisor, so this is just publicity to bring in such policies. Basiacally Johnson is bringing the world to live here and he wants to give them your properties.

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    Bring on a ‘Tenant Register’ to go with the ‘Landlord Register’- happy days.

  • Theodor Cable

    There cannot be one without the other......?
    And the LL Representative must be getting on that issue right away.

    I bet not one of them will take up the baton!!!!!!!

  • Simon D

    What I find disappointing about this article is that this website has not given a counterargument therefore implying they agree with Shelter.
    Graham Norwood, does this site offer a fair and balanced reporting of 'news' or as I am beginning to think do you side with Gen. Rent and Shelter?
    It'd be interesting to see a follow-up piece that has fact-checked Shelter's report and if indeed they are making figures up as some of the other respondents have suggested here that Shelter be called out for their biased and damaging influence they have on the PRS


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