[Ben Reeve Lewis finds he is a failure ...]
Its official….I’m a failure.
The Metro this week ran a quiz called “50 signs you’ve made it”. Some of the indicators? You have a wine cellar, a nanny, a ‘Lazy Susan’ (No I have no idea either) a summer house.
Out of 50 I got just one….a pedigree dog.
Writing in the Daily Mail Sarah Vine commented that “If a 55inch TV and ‘His n Hers sinks’ is a sign you have made it then I’m proud to be a failure”, I agree but I’m not sure if she was making an anti-consumerist stand or simply expressing horror at people with crass tastes.
Being the Daily Mail you have to wonder.
Santa and social housing
And speaking of said organ I was intrigued to see the different reporting on an odd story this week about Clinton Cards having to hastily apologise for and withdraw a Xmas card titled “10 reasons why Santa must live on a council estate”
“The apparent humour was lost on dozens of customers who took offence at the card”
Suggesting that they consider the card to be funny and any offence taken, a weakness on the part of anyone not finding it funny.
However neither paper lost the chance to run the 10 jokes, in case anyone missed the card which personally I find unnecessary and as appalling as Clinton’s lapse in taste………but here they are in case you missed them
- He has a serial record for breaking and entering!
- He uses various animals to pull his sleigh
- He only works once a year
- He’s never actually been seen doing any work in his whole life
- He drinks alcohol during working hours
- He barely leaves his home for fear of being recognised
- He wears the same, out-of-fashion clothes everyday and never washes them
- He uses loads of different names and aliases purely for his own gain!
- He gets letters from a lot of people, all demanding that he owes them things!
- He can get hold of all the latest designer gear but never pays a penny for it
I have an unflappable sense of humour I’m afraid which allows me to laugh whilst still acknowledging the appalling attitudes on display. It is actually a shocking indictment of many people’s views of social housing tenants.
So the trend seems to be you are a loser if you don’t have a second home and a wine cellar and you don’t wash if you live in a council house. News to my mum and dad who never had a day out of work or even threw a sicky in their lives and all the similar families of the kids I grew up with on council estates, and also to the survey I reported on a couple of weeks back that blew out of the water the lazy stereotypes of social housing tenants.
It is, as the Indy said “Shameful and Classist”. Mind you….if I had a mate in a council flat I would have bought them the card just to wind them up.
Declaring your income
Because I write for Landlord Law Blog and The Guardian occasionally people email you press releases throughout the week. I usually just delete but an interesting one came my way via the HMRC press office concerning the conviction of Rebecca Eddishaw, a Beautician/landlord of Nottingham who was given an 18 month suspended sentence after failing to declare rental income from two properties she owned to the tune of £30,000
I’ll keep an eye on these HMRC press releases from now on as £30,000 is chump change compared to the dodgy bastards I have to deal with. Just yesterday a print out of housing benefit payments for one particularly playful little scamp well known to us landed on my desk. It seems that since 2010 he has received £660,000 from only one council out of the four in which he operates and this doesn’t even include tenants of his who aren’t on benefits.
As we speak my finger is twitching over the phone keypad for the number of our local HMRC Hidden Economy Team with whom we work closely. “Gary? You’re gonna love this one mate”.
Another greedy landlord
But whilst Ms Eddishaw got off with a suspended sentence poor 80 year old Richard Denby didn’t fare so well and got 40 weeks in stir for fiddling on a respectable scale.
Despite owning 20 properties in Hull that he was receiving rental income for he was also claiming benefits in other rented properties dotted around the country.
No simple ‘bus-pass bandit’ our Richard. The article on 24 Dash reports:
“Denby had already repaid £12,000 of the £69,689 overpayment and said he had told her (the judge) he had “about £7,000 in savings” but his true financial worth could not be confirmed as he refused to complete the relevant financial paperwork to be considered by the court in sentencing.”
I quite admire old people who use their perceived frailty to rip off the system and I hope I have the courage to do the same when I’m that age and treat my pensioner mates to foreign holidays and luxury items like heat or food but Mr Denby was a major portfolio landlord with oodles of cash coming in and a huge capital base so was merely being greedy.
There’s a back simply aching for the lash!
What made me smile this week
A couple of things. I designed and delivered my last training course of the year on Monday so for a few sweet weeks my evenings and weekends are free to just cook, play guitar, walk the dog and sleep.
Of course during the day I am dealing with people trafficking, cannabis farms, brothels etc but for me that’s just the day job and I think no more of it than a van driver does of the traffic.
Secondly was the comically foul mouthed rant from my local cornershop owner ‘Hindu Mike’ last night about cooking xmas dinner in his broad Indian accent “I’ve got to cook that f***ing horrible bird and drive the f***ing thing to my daughters in Essex innit? And me a f***ing Hindu. What the f**k has Xmas got to do with me? And yet every year my f***ing wife gets me to put on a silly f***ing paper hat…..” it went on like that for hours ha-ha
See ya next week