[Ben Reeve Lewis considers daftness …]
It’s a boy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Do we care?????
Pushing for England
“Posh couple have baby”…..why is this news? Still at least I’ve had a few good chuckles this week amid the blizzard of text jokes about the royal whipper-snapper.
Trouble is, as usual none of the best ones are repeatable in polite company.
While Kate has been pushing for England and the sprog has been practicing his first royal wave, I’ve had a busy week myself at the frontline.
Life on the frontline
Climbing through the windows of cannabis farms, hoping not to get attacked by a weapon dog.
Trying to persuade an extremely doddery old district judge to grant an injunction on an illegal eviction when he seemed more concerned with moaning about the traffic situation on the south circular.
And spending an entire day uncovering all manner of skulduggery about a landlord with multiple alias’s and a secret tunnel between two buildings, only to find at the end that the tenant being harassed is an illegal immigrant, so not entitled to public funds.
Still, I now know a lot about that landlord if he crops up again, including the fact that he was on trial in Nigeria a few years back for kidnapping a politician to keep him out of the elections. Forewarned is fore-armed as they say.
It’s a strange job being a Tenancy relations Officer and you can read about my 23 years of madness in the first volume of a book of my collected anecdotes TRO Confidential (part 1) , released earlier in the week.
So apart from my eBook and the royal stretch marks, what other news has been happening?
Telling it like it is
The most bizarre story of the week came courtesy of the excellent Planet Property blog who reported on actor James Cordon turning up at estate Agents Greene & Co as his alter ego Smithy from Gavin and Stacey to give them an early morning team talk in which he was extremely rude about various staff members and competitors, telling one agent that his designer stubble made him look homeless.
It transpires that the appearance was a thank you for Greene & Co raising £35,000 for charity.
Reading the story I kept saying to myself “Greene & Co…….Greene & Co….now where have I heard that name before?” Well this is where you turn to Google and there it was.
Back in 2011 six of their agents from the Maida vale office were fined for running a parking scam, using addresses of empty properties to apply for parking permits and cut down on expenses.
The BBC reported that some of the agents on trial said that the practice was ‘Company policy’, even the agent’s defence lawyer admitting:-
“False statements were made in order to get a permit and that was done for the financial advantage of the company.”
All of which reminds me of a classic Tim Vine joke “I went to my car this morning and there was a note on the windscreen saying ‘Parking fine’…..always nice to get a compliment isn’t it?”
Not that I’m knocking them you understand. I love a good scam as much as the next man. I’m from south east London, we appreciate them in the same way that the French appreciate a good Claret.
The Queen of HMOs
Last week you will recall I reviewed the BBC’s ‘Meet the landlords’ documentary and mentioned HMO Daddy who appeared on it. Well his polar opposite, who has been quiet for a while came back with a new post (slightly late reporting this) showing why she, HMO Landlady, is the rightful queen of HMOs to his King Richard the third, the well known Cockney Rhyming slang.
Serena tells us the story of one of her tenants with a gambling problem and the ultimately fruitless lengths she went to in helping him out.
She shows us that managing a successful HMO requires patience and compassion, not 6 studio flats in a 2 bed house. I would say she should be made the saint of HMOs but having shared several glasses of wine with her and heard her raucous laugh and sense of humour I’m not sure she would make it past the Vatican council, even with a good word from me.
Sign of the time
Writing in the Guardian on Saturday Rafael Behr of the New Statesman gave me another chuckle as he pondered on how to read the housing market and remarked of the need to build more properties:-
“Everyone can now agree that the important thing is to build more houses (as long as they are not built on fields or near people who can see fields or near people who like the colour green)”
And quite perceptively pointed out:-
“The way to tell when house prices have peaked in your area is when the number of estate agents in the high street is greater than the combined number of betting shops and takeaways. (Sometimes abbreviated to Foxtons > KFC+Tote.)”
More truth than joke there. Thinking about what he said I went shopping in the short section of Lordship Lane, the artery of East Dulwich where I live and counted no less than 13 of the buggers, including the obligatory Foxtons, in the main retail area and only one betting shop and two take-aways along the same stretch.
House prices and rents in the area make you wince. £600,000 for a 3 bed terraced house? Perleeeeeeaze!!!! Still, I’m sure that HMO Daddy could turn it into 138 bedsits so maybe it’s a snip.
Love a laugh
Searching for one last thing to make me smile this week I turn to the website www.gov.uk (where else?) to see what comedy sketches are doing the rounds in parliament.
The playful scamps in the press at last week’s Parliamentary briefing were clearly in wind-up mode, asking the Prime Minister’s Secretary whether Cameron’s wife influenced government policy on Syria and what the prime minister was going to do for his holidays. The response to the latter being a curious:-
“Wherever he goes the Prime Minister will be in charge”.
Also through this portal the government announced plans to come in this autumn for tenant power. A scheme allowing tenants to say who gets to run or take over management of their properties. The late, great Kurt Vonnegut once said “Sometimes an idea is so insane that the only sane response is to laugh”. Read the plans!
Gov.uk also features various congratulations on the royal birth from the people of Tunis, the high commission and also somewhere called “Banjul”, wherever the hell that is.
But that’s Wills and Kate for you, just an ordinary young couple bearing up under the strain like the rest of us. Like every other young family around my way.
Come on Wills, show us you are truly one of us. Move into one of HMO Daddy’s rabbit hutches and get the kid’s name tattooed on the side of your neck, or at very least, their birth date on the back.