[Ben Reeve Lewis reports on rioting London from his sickbed …]
I’m writing this to you from my sick bed this week, surrounded by cups of tea and chocolate biscuits and my iPad which annoyingly keeps crashing as I try to watch Rick Stein in Spain on BBC iPlayer.
No sympathy from Frazzy though, who has gone to work and failing to minister to my needs. She once told me I had man flu. I had never heard the term before and told everyone at work what I had been off with, which caused gales of laughter from the largely female staff. That’s how little she cares!!!!!!
Well no surprises for top news story of the week, not strictly landlord/tenant related but I can’t let it go without comment, except I’m not going to bore you with my amateur social psychology views. I’ve been airing a few on different blogs all week so I’ll save those for the settee, instead I’ll share 4 links with you that amazed and cheered me in a depressing week.
Wintsays is the blog of a cop facing it all on the front line. Very humane thoughts. I love his comment that when he first got out there the kids shouted ‘look out, TSG’ (riot Police), which made him look around to see the TSG before he realised they meant him and his mates.
The New Stateswoman has some interesting views by a teacher about young people’s lack of feeling connected to anything
My favourite by Rosamicula is also well worth a read from top to bottom. I won’t spoil it for you and you may not agree with all his views, but as it unfolds it is quite astonishing. Makes you want to slap his back.
But prize of the week goes to this video clip of an old Jamaican woman with a walking stick in Hackney airing her views to the rioters. If you don’t like strong language don’t watch but her speech is far better than that anodyne ‘This is my serious face’ claptrap Cameron came out with after his Cobra meeting. Sack his speech writer and employ this woman, the money in his swear box would rise but so would his popularity
Astonishingly, me and Frazzy live less than half a mile away from where the Peckham riots were but didn’t hear a thing, just watched it on TV.
Greenwich and Westminster councils said they would evict tenants found guilty of being involved in the riots, a great and understandable reaction but to anyone working in housing the difficulties in actually pulling it off jump out at you. This was reported in the Guardian in the week. [Nearly Legal have a post on it too – Ed]
It isn’t as simple as it sounds. The problem is not so much in the behaviour itself but the fact that legally the actions must be carried out in their locality. If a rioter in Peckham comes from Islington they haven’t acted in their locality. You could also argue that a rioter from a mile away may not be considered to be in their locality. These are the kinds of legal defences that would be raised by lawyers, quite appropriately, not to mention Pinnock style defences on human rights (You’ll have to look it up, I’m too ill to explain it).
One element that hasn’t been covered in articles about this is the fact that whether it is a council or housing association taking this action, even if proven, the judge will still have to find it “Reasonable” to grant possession and they may not. So although I commend the intention I think in practice few if any will actually lose their homes over it.
I notice Grant Shapps added his support for this idea on Twitter though. If there’s a bandwagon he’ll be a riding on it. Why do the names ‘Shapps’ and ‘Twitter’ go so well together? Is it just my fevered brain?
‘Oops moment’ of the week goes to Right Move who in response to the rioting began twittering about people’s concerns of house prices falling in riot stricken areas. A rather red faced apology was issued by boss Harry Hill (no not that one). While everyone was appalled and shocked at world war 3 breaking out they seemed to have other concerns. Apparently they were attacked from all sides. Twittered to death?
While 6 out of 10 landlord/tenant relationships are considered good according to the NLA I wonder how things will fare in 2012 when the Olympics hits town. There are a lot of opportunist mutterings about the amount of rent that can be raked in for the month, and today I noticed the mutterings have turned into a full blown aria with the announcement of ‘EventRent’ which seems to be a website dedicated to renting out properties for the big games, I’m sure there are others.
Not that I am against the idea at all, if I had a spare property for that month I would probably go for it but what concerns me, and I admit I may be completely wrong, is with it being such a landlord’s market at the moment, will some landlords evict existing tenants in order to make a quick killing and then just find new tenants afterwards? Which in the current climate will be like picking apples from a tree, or for a more contemporary simile, like picking a pair of trainers out of JD Sports’ window.
I hate to sound like Senna the soothsayer from Up Pompeii – “Woe, woe and thrice woe” but I see a lot of opportunists in my job. If it was me I would hang on to a decent tenant, taking the long term view but what of those so-so tenants whose tenancies expire around that time? Will we see an increase in homelessness applications around the Olympics? My prediction is yes.
Loads of landlords read this site, what are your thoughts on this? I am genuinely interested.
My other prediction is that a lot of property scams are going to come up for the games. The most common being to rent a property using fake documents and then market it as the bona fide landlord to several people at once and do a runner. That goes on all the time anyway and the problem is that the vast majority of the visitors renting will be from abroad and not familiar with our lettings market or fraudsters.
If you are thinking of renting out for the Olympics, do some very careful research and keep an eye out for scammers.
Right, that’s me done for another week. Time to limp dejectedly to the kitchen for another cup of tea while my uncaring wife….who could have worked from home……leaves me to my fate.
My iPad has freed itself, Rick is cooking mushrooms and my Imodium is wearing off. Be afraid, be very afraid!
Ben Reeve Lewis
Ben has started Home Saving Expert, to share his secrets to defending people’s homes from mortgage repossession Visit his blog and get some help and advice on mortgage difficulties and catch up with him on Twitter and check out his free report “An Encouraging note on Dealing with your Mortgage Lender” and have it sent right to your inbox.