[Ben Reeve Lewis is a Master ..]
For most of my life I was firmly embedded in the personal development movement.
Believe it or not I’m actually a Master Practitioner and qualified trainer of NLP and my bookshelves creak under the combined works of Robert Dilts, Tony Robbins, John Cabot-Zinn etc
The reluctant workshop attendee
I am about to be sent on a workshop to identify my strengths and weaknesses, a task I would have enthusiastically welcomed 10 years ago.
But I’ve had to fill in a lengthy pre-course questionnaire that is already annoying me. It wasn’t much different to those trivial facebook quizzes to be honest that tell you what kind of mythical creature you would be, just dressed up to look scientific.
The thing is, I’ve got to a time in life when I don’t care what my weaknesses are. I’m through with personal development and prefer reading Jo Nesbo to Louise Hay.
Is my daily life made more difficult because I am so disorganised? Yes absolutely. Can I be arsed to get more organised?….not really.
I wonder how the workshop trainer is going to take it? I’m past being bothered about working on my weaknesses and tend now towards the Buddhist concept of Maitri – ‘Unconditional acceptance of self’….warts and all.
Of course my unconditional acceptance doesn’t stretch as far as politicians or religious leaders, or even people sitting three feet from me to be honest.
Extending the Right to Buy
In fact my notion of acceptance was sorely tested this week by an article in the Telegraph revealing that councils who are forced by government plans to extend the right to buy to it’s tenants are increasingly finding that those same tenants are actually becoming buy to let landlords.
The article points out:
“As a consequence, local authorities will face increased costs placing poor families in properties that used to be council-owned. At least 32 councils now rent or pay out housing benefit to tenants living in homes sold since the Government revamped the Right to Buy scheme in 2012, Freedom of Information requests show.”
And there is more on the depressing facts:
“In the borough of Haringey 396 homes have been sold under Right to Buy since April 2012; of those, 28 are already being rented out to people on housing benefit at a cost of more than £265,000 a year to the public purse.”
“Of 82 council homes sold under the new Right to Buy scheme in Corby, Northamptonshire, 25 are now rented by people on housing benefit, costing £85,063.95 since April 2012.”
“In Dartford, Kent, seven of the 47 properties sold under the scheme in its new form are being rented out by people on housing benefit at a cost of £96,000 so far.”
Of course housing minister Brandon Lewis defends the scheme:
“Right to Buy helps social tenants get on to the housing ladder, increases housing construction and reduces social-housing waiting lists”
But this gets short shrift from the policy head of the National Housing Federation:
“Right to Buy has decimated the supply of affordable homes to rent at a time when we have a major housing crisis and a real problem of affordability. Social housing should be reserved for those who need it most but Right to Buy is perpetuating the belief that homes are an investment rather than somewhere to live.”
It’s the NHF view that I have seen happen so much in recent years, people’s homes becoming merely investment opportunities under the current government, where everything is viewed through the lens of tradability.
I’m sure there is a government department looking how to privatise Ebola or the ongoing Madeleine McCann fiasco.
Wind down rather than speed up
In fact NHF Policy head Rachel Fisher went to press in the Guardian over it saying the right to buy should be wound down, not speeded up, pointing out:
“In some instances the amount received by the housing association following the sale of a home under the right to buy is less than £30,000. With the average cost of building a new home exceeding £140,000”
In case you didn’t know the House of Lords has been debating whether to shorten the amount of time a social housing tenant has to live in their home before they can buy it.
Of course government will always carp on about the property ladder and the benefits of homeownership but as the Telegraph shows, there is a trend of these properties being turned into expensive rented homes causing more public money to be spent on housing benefit.
So where to turn when you feel like flushing your head down the toilet in frustration and need cheering up? HMO Landlady, that’s where.
This week she came up with some top tips for landlords on keeping track of multiple rent as she, the original reluctant landlord is growing in experience and wisdom.
She has been using her internal radar to date but this can have it’s pitfalls, as she points out with her usual wit and wisdom:
“Anyone unable to set up a standing order or declines the cash collection option, normally has a sporadic approach to paying their rent i.e. they do it when they’ve got enough money and happen to be passing my bank on the way to the pub.
However she reckons she has a found a database that works, albeit unfashionably clunky but it avoids missed payments falling through the net.
I’m not going to name them here for free advertising though so you’ll have to read her blog.
What made me smile this week?
Washing all the cares of my housing days aside I came across this brilliant reworking of Meghan Trainor’s slightly annoying but annoyingly catchy earworm ‘All about that bass’ but reworked into a 1940s jazz standard with some pretty nifty upright bass work by Kate Davis
See ya next week.