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Housing

Landlords are boycotting companies that support homelessness charity Shelter

A group of UK landlords have launched a boycott of the likes of B&Q and Marks & Spencer over donating some of their Christmas profits to the housing charity 

Landlords are attempting to launch a boycott of businesses that support housing charity Shelter, according to housing industry website Property Industry Eye, which reported this week that while Shelter paid tribute to B&Q and Marks & Spencer for their support over the winter period, the National Landlords alliance has targeted the stores.

This Christmas B&Q hopes to raise £25,000 through sales of fairy dolls, where at least £2 will go towards Shelter for each doll sold.

Property Industry Eye reported that “some landlords have already written to B&Q to warn them that they will no longer be making any purchases there.”

According to the article, this includes Dr Ros Beck, who told B&Q in her letter: “I am a private landlord who has known for some time that B&Q has been helping to fund Shelter. So far, I have chosen to ignore this unpalatable fact, but frankly I have had enough now.”

She says that Shelter claims to help people get housing: “Well, frankly, the only way they can do that is by persuading private landlords to take the risk of housing homeless people – as there is practically no social housing available for this purpose.

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“In addition to allegedly helping people into housing we have also heard how they and others ‘help’ tenants remain in their housing by informing them that they can wait for the bailiffs in cases of eviction – a process which is ruinous and devastating for landlords.

You might think that given the fact that we are the only housing providers in a position to help with homelessness that they would build positive relationships with us in order to facilitate this.

“They do not do this, however. Instead, they push a relentless anti private landlord agenda.”

The National Landlords Alliance was set up by Liverpool landlord Larry Sweeney. In October this year he wrote in an article on property118.com that the community was “frustrated and sickened…with other main associations failing to aggressively fight our corner” and vowed to focus on “aggressively fighting the Landlords corner”.

Shelter’s director of fundraising Andy Harris told Property Industry Eye: “Shelter’s partnership with B&Q provides vital funding for a specialist team of DIY Skills Advisers, as well as much-needed support for our other vital frontline services, helping thousands of people every year.

“The B&Q DIY Skills Advisers are located across the country, and provide practical help to people settling into a new home after a period of homelessness, as well as supporting others to stay in their current home by making essential improvements.

A B&Q spokesperson also told the news site: “At B&Q we believe everyone should have a home that they can feel good about and recognise that this is not the case for many people.

“As the leading UK wide charity tackling the issues that impact both poor housing and homelessness, we believe that Shelter is the right organisation for us to work with.”

A new report from Shelter this week outlined the scale of the homelessness crisis in Britain with 320,000 people homeless in Britain at the end of March this year, an increase of four per cent – or 13,000 people – in just nine months. That adds up to 47 people becoming homeless each day.

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