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Landlords boycott M&S and B&Q

Claims of anti-private landlord agenda

Disaffected landlords are to launch a mass boycott of the businesses that support Shelter, starting with B&Q and moving on to Marks & Spencer, with others to come. Last night Shelter paid tribute to the two named businesses, while B&Q said that Shelter was the right organisation for it to work with.

The National Landlords Alliance is starting its protest with DIY chain B&Q, but will be targeting other stores in due course, including Marks & Spencer, which has contributed millions towards Shelter. B&Q has helped fund Shelter since last year, and this Christmas plans to raise £25,000 through sales of dolls where at least £2 will go towards Shelter.

Some landlords have already written to B&Q to warn them that they will no longer be making any purchases there. They include 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. 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”.

Her letter to B&Q continues: “Considering all of this, you really need to remove your support for this organisation. I have already decided to no longer shop at B&Q for the materials needed for my large portfolio of houses in South Wales. There is a Wickes practically next to my B&Q, as well as a Howdens nearby, so this will have no effect on my business. And as more and more landlords are alerted to this – something which is happening at the moment – you are going to lose the custom of your loyal landlord base because of what amounts to an (unintentional, I am sure) betrayal of your customers.”

Wilsons don’t handle lettings and this matter is featured for general interest. Whilst all laudable initiatives to relieve homelessness must be applauded, some sympathy may also be appropriate for landlords faced with financial crises as a result of non-payment of rents. 

By Chris Willey

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