[Ben Reeve Lewis has turned into his father ..]
Frazzy and I have new upstairs neighbours. Students by the look of them.
Very polite and friendly it has to be said.
I surprised myself the other day when I bumped into one I hadn’t yet met in the hall. A skinny pale kid with died orange hair shorn up the left side but grown shoulder length on the right. A bit like Phil Oakey in the Human League circa 1983 but even more poncey….if that is at all possible.
Without meaning to I pulled a ‘WTF? Face’ then tried to cover it up with a civil ‘Good morning’.
Its official….I’ve turned into my dad, who would pull his own ‘WTF? Face’ at me and my spiky purple hair and safety pins and my mates traipsing through the house in studded leather jackets and bondage trousers.
I would play the Sex Pistols to annoy him until he went out, at which point I would flip the disc and put on my preferred Jazz-Funk, which is what I really listened to, preferring Maceo Parker and Funkadelic over The Vibrators.
HMO Landlady is back
And Serena Thompson is back from a hiatus talking about why she doesn’t do student lets, warned off by her partner who does, citing his cautionary tales:
“In the space of 2 weeks as the landlord insists on 12 month contracts. He’s washed unidentified stains out of curtains, sourced chairs, mended broken furniture and is now best friends with a mattress retailer, a decorator and the carpet cleaning man.”
Serena says of her local student let landlords:
“They think I’m mad to accept a lower, all inclusive room rate, but I think they’re mad dealing with fussy, over protective parents whose children are too precious to carry out household chores.”
But something else came out of HMO Landlady’s welcome return in the form of the knowledge that although she had won a blogging award also so did Tessa for Landlord Law Blog
You kept that quiet Tessa?
Whereas Serena’s nick name for the Aldermore awards is The People’s Protector, Tessa was named “The Iron Lady” and even Renter Girl got in with the name Wander Woman”, (although I think they probably meant “Wonder”.)
Going on to cal her the “Saviour of the rental race”, Shame her blog is no more.
Favourite article of the week is by Max Salsbury on 24 Dash probably largely unknown to PRS types as it mainly covers issues in social housing land.
Max tackled 5 well used bits of housing jargon from that sector with a keen and sarcastic eye.
Have you heard of “Section 106”? Well it’s the relevant part of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 which requires planning developers to earmark a proportion of a development for less well off housing folk. The source of the ‘Poor Doors’ I was talking about a few weeks ago.
Max points out its unpopularity with developers and suggests:
“Should probably be re-titled ‘Section Don’t Be So F*****g Greedy’.”
Then turns his eye on something that most of you have probably never heard of but is well known to me as a trainer working mainly for public organisations, the notion of a “360 Review”.
Its one of those phrases doing the rounds and I hear it several times a week. I would describe it myself but Max does a much better and more accurate job:
“The 360 review became so popular with social housing HR departments that it’s now part of their limited linguistic fabric. Outside the sector, a 360 review allows views and feedback on a senior employee’s performance from all angles on the logic that, if there’s anything wrong, the truth will emerge. Inside the sector, it’s an opportunity for everyone to say how marvellous their bosses are or agree to leave. Not to be confused with ‘buy-in’ where colleagues are forced to publicly back a fundamentally stupid idea. “
As an enforcement officer of many years standing I thought I was up to date on the various tools out there but this week brought some interesting news via Neil Patterson on Property 118.
He has been monitoring cases taken against dodgy letting agents trying to hide behind Limited Liability protection who are subject to civil action by landlords under section 4 of the Fraud Act 2006 which runs as follows:
s4 Fraud by abuse of position
(1) A person is in breach of this section if he:
(a) occupies a position in which he is expected to safeguard, or
not to act against, the financial interests of another person,
(b) dishonestly abuses that position, and
(c) intends, by means of the abuse of that position:
(i) to make a gain for himself or another, or
(ii) to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk
(2) A person may be regarded as having abused his position even
though his conduct consisted of an omission rather than an act.
Neil suggests this could be used by landlords and tenants against recalcitrant letting agents. I’ll have to do my own research before offering an opinion but I have quite a few suspects in the frame who may have a target on their forehead if it proves practicable.
Generation Rent on the Lyons Report
Generation Rent torchbearer Alex Hilton gave us an outline of Labour’s recently published ‘Lyons report’ on the future of housing if the Millipede gets in next year and it doesn’t make for inspiring reading.
Maybe I will rescind my promise of two weeks ago to vote Labour.
He points out:
“The clue to the failure of Lyons to even try to solve the housing crisis is in the framing of the problem. The report fingers a lack of available land and limited building capacity as the source of the housing crisis.
On both counts this analysis is wrong. The lack of land is not the problem, it is the cost of the land that inhibits building affordable homes near where there are jobs. And in terms of building capacity, we are a member of a 28-nation free trade area with plenty of builders with all sorts of skills.”
Alex talks of private renters paying top dollar without any returns and suggests…..nay!…..prophesises:
“The Glasgow rent strike of 1915 led to rent control legislation that same year. If the next parliament fails to address the current inequity, how long do policy makers think it will be before renters realise that the power to impact the market price is already in their hands? Who wants to be the housing minister that presides over a national rent strike?”
What made Ben smile this week?
The first roast of the winter was a stonking beef affair with the best Yorkshires in the country, courtesy of Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstall’s bible on the subject “Meat”.
250g plain flour
2 egg yolks.
I’ll never go back to 2 eggs again!
See ya next week.