Shelter

12 Feb 24

Campaigning charity Shelter – which has frequently been critical of landlords and their alleged treatment of poorer tenants – is advertising a senior campaigning job at a salary of £108,000.

The Shelter post is Director of Communications, Policy and Campaigns and is described in Shelter’s advertisement as appropriate for “a senior leader who is seeking the most exciting role in their career to date.”

The post is advertised as full time and the successful candidate will be expected to work 37.5 hours a week.

The advertisement says the post-holder will lead a team which “is a large geographically dispersed and passionate team at Shelter, where we’re dedicated to defending the right to a safe home … at the forefront of driving change in the housing landscape of Britain [and] comprising experts in campaigning, organising, policy development, marketing, communication, and digital innovation.”

The post will coordinate a “highly motivated directorate to develop evidence-based solutions to the housing emergency and garner support for them among local communities, policymakers, politicians, and the wider public” and play a prominent role in developing the charity’s next strategic plan from April 2025.

In December 2022 over 600 staff at Shelter staged a fortnight of strike action on Monday in a dispute over pay. At that time the Unite union said a three per cent pay increase that year had left some staff unable to pay their rent and worried about the possibility of becoming homeless themselves.

In January 2023 the industrial action ended and a revised pay offer was accepted by Unite after talks were held at the conciliation service ACAS. 

In recent days Shelter has warned that the government’s failure to abolish Section 21 evictions would backfire and that “renters will remember who stood with them” at the General Election later this year.

The campaigning charity claims that latest figures show 26,311 households in England have been removed from their homes by court bailiffs as a result of Section 21 since the government first promised to scrap them back in 2019.  The figures on repossession and evictions released by the Ministry of Justice also show 9,457 households were evicted from their homes by bailiffs in the past year, up by 49 per cent from 6,399 households in 2022.   

A further 30,230 landlords in England started Section 21 eviction court proceedings in 2023 – a 28 per cent rise in one year.  

The charity claims that Section 21 evictions are a major contributing factor to rising homelessness because they allow the eviction of tenants with two months’ notice without having to give a reason. It says most renters move out before the end of this notice period to avoid the eviction claim going to court.

Shelter claims that its research shows that it took a third of tenants longer than two months to find a new home the last time they moved, “leaving many to face the terrifying threat of homelessness” once an eviction notice lands on their doormat.

The government first promised to scrap S21 in its 2019 manifesto. In May 2023 it committed to the policy by publishing the Renters Reform Bill. Since then, the government has said the ban will only be introduced after unspecified court reforms take place.

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