[Ben Reeve Lewis is fed up with traffic …)
I’ve just got back to South East London from raiding slum properties with police in East London. Took me three hours to get back because of the traffic, a distance of about 10 miles.
While I was sitting in the traffic jam I was hearing about another jam on Radio 4, people who are “Just About Managing”, the new Theresa May acronym/lip service to the people who feel left out of society and politics that they realise they have to keep happy for when they vote again, lest Trump has an even madder sister with her eyes on the PM job.
JAM for breakfast
The last social acronym I remember was Kippers, Kids In Parents Pockets Eroding Retirement Schemes.
Jam? Kippers? so what’s with the breakfast metaphors then? What silly sausage dreamt them up I wonder?
Well the big housing news of the week is the Chancellor Phillip ‘HAM-mond” (see the theme?) announcing that government will be banning letting agents from charging fees to tenants, reported just about everywhere but for a detailed examination you need the write up over on Giles’s site.
That old refrain
And of course many will shrug and just put the rent up, a point not lost on Giles but his rather wonderful rejoinder is:
“After all, the rents keep going up anyway. (2.5% in the last year in England according to the ONS). Do, please, come up with a better PR line for future (and indeed ongoing) issues.”
You gotta laugh.
Giles also predicts a price war if agents raise rents to recoup on lost fees, competing with agents who might not.
Which could of course leave some people with egg on their face.
Shock news – Ministers have listened
The other massive bit of housing news this week comes with the welcome news that government is mounting the biggest climb down since Eric Pickles descended the Matterhorn (Yes I know he didn’t but it gives me a chance to work the word “Pickles” in there) by dropping the ‘Pay to stay’ idea.
It’s a public sector thing that might have escaped PRS landlords but the rub is, or rather was, that families living in council or housing association properties would have their rents raised if they were earning, as a family a combined income of £31,000 pa outside of London and £40,000 inside, bearing in mind that in both scenarios that represents the equivalent of a couple working on the tills at Tesco, hardly high earners.
I love the line:
“Ministers said they had “listened carefully” and decided not to proceed with the controversial “pay to stay” policy.”
What’s with all this Listening to the electorate stuff? They never have before. It will all end in tears, mark my words. Look what happens when you do. The public pull you out of Europe, they elect a psychotic fascist as president, a bunch of pirates becomes the most popular group in Iceland, Rome and Milan get taken over by a group with only 5 ideas
The latter of which has caused the same clueless huffing and puffing as our own MPs in response to Brexit, evidenced by the comment of one old school lawmaker Allesia Rotta:
“Their vagueness, their incompetence and their inappropriateness are visible to everyone,”
I’ll bet you say that to all the girls but give it a year and you might well be so flummoxed by popular opinion that you will be welcoming them all into your cabinet in case the electorate think you’re out of step.
Good news for Cambridge HMO landlords
On Wednesday night this week I rocked up at Angela Ruskin University Cambridge to give a talk to 80 landlords for the local council.
I shared the podium with their main EHO man Rob who told the assembled throng that following the government’s announcement that they would be re-jigging mandatory HMO criteria, Cambridge Council are running an amnesty for landlords not yet licensed under the existing system and reported further here.
This get out for jail free card is open from 14th November to the 31st January 2017 and follows hot on the heels of 3 high profile, local prosecutions of landlords for running dangerous, insanitary and unlicensed properties.
The knives are most definitely out, so any landlord’s in the district should take advantage before men and women with clipboards turn up unannounced.
Enforcement officers in action, I raise a toast to you (No I haven’t forgotten the theme and coincidentally one of the landlords prosecuted by Cambridge was a Mr Pun!)
Let them eat cake award
The ‘Let them eat cake’ award this week goes to portfolio landlord Ron Fong, reported in the Daily Mail who cant get his head around why people struggle to get on the housing ladder, suggesting that they should get a loan from their parents.
$29 million dollar man Mr Fong reckons its all about equity release to finance another home, although he admits that his business model got him into $7million in debt at one point and I cant help but laugh out loud when his enthusiasm for his single idea gets kicked aside when he says:
“But for those whose parents don’t own a home, or for those without a job, he admits he doesn’t have much advice. Get a job, he told the Herald”
Driving Mr Fong’s enthusiasm is what he terms the buoyancy of the New Zealand market, where he plies his trade but interestingly enough, as I arrived back home from my epic circumnavigation of Walthamstow and the dreaded Blackwall Tunnel this morning Frazzy told me she had just received an email from a mate who emigrated there 4 months ago and has yet to find even a part time job.
Maybe not so buoyant then but at least it gives her time to catch up on daytime TV and report that the TV series Nightmare tenants, slum landlords that I featured in last year is also being shown down under.
She didn’t say what the Kiwi’s think of the scruffy, foul mouthed bloke in the Hawaiian shirt harassing landlords though.
What made me smile this week
Well Mr Fong again, who sounds more delusional about his business talents that the President elect.
One of his students, a 52 year old who lived with his parents, who Mr Fong described as a ‘Loser’ was urged to take the plunge by the millionaire with the single idea:
“He had something like $7000 which was not enough to cut it. I said “How bad is your relationship with mum and dad who live upstairs? ‘And he said “horrible”, they want to kick him out. I said “Do they love you?” and he said “Of course they do.” I said “Go and ask them for a loan”.
Maybe I could make a million marketing a 6” high battery operated model of Mr Fong, dispensing bizarre wisdom, like the old singing fish craze from a few years back
See ya next week.