[Ben Reeve Lewis is thinking about war this week …)
Over the years I have been fortunate enough, or unlucky enough, depending on how you look at it, to witness the chaos that always ensues when new housing legislation comes in.
Deposit protection legislation anyone?
The Phoney War is ending
When the second world war broke out on the 3rd September 1939 there was a long period of inactivity until the fall of France in May 1940.
This period was known as ‘The phoney war’, because everyone was holding their breath waiting for the sky to fall in straight away but it just took the Germans time to get a good run up.
Housing advice and homelessness teams the length and breadth of the land have been living in their own phoney war period since the introduction of the Deregulation Act 2015 on the 1st October last year. Twiddling their thumbs waiting for the new messed up s21s to fall on their desks.
And here it is, the 1st Feb, the start of the rental sector’s own fall of France as landlords and luckless tenants pull back to a metaphorical Dunkirk.
The start of the new rules …
The right to rent came in on Monday, already covered ably by Tessa and on the same day we were officially 4 months into the Dereg Act changes and will begin to see the new form of s21 notice and all the attendant things that can invalidate them if the landlord screws up any of the procedures needed to make them work.
In case you missed it, this is why:
Under the new Act you can’t serve a s21 for the first 4 months of a new tenancy, so from last Monday on the season is open, the tanks are rolling over the border.
There are around 10 things now that can invalidate that s21.
Housing advisers, lawyers and more importantly, homelessness prevention teams, hovering like a squadron of Spitfires in the skies over the Home Counties are geared up to spot the mistakes, invalidate the possession proceedings and prevent the homelessness when the landlords get it wrong.
A new How to Rent booklet
One of the things already subject to much comment back last autumn is the requirement that a landlord serve a tenant with the ‘How to rent’ booklet. A simple thing in essence but landlords and housing advisers need to keep up to date on the latest version, because the law requires only the latest version to be served.
Nearly Legal this week told us that just 4 measly months in we are already on to version 2 of the booklet [v2 since last October- there were other versions before then, Ed] so landlords already geared up on the new requirement could find their s21 invalidated in a few months time because they didn’t realise that v2 was already out.
By ‘v2’ I mean version 2 of the booklet, not the V2 rocket that decimated British cities in 1944. The second world war metaphor ended in paragraph 12, in case you were wondering.
Thinking about Shells
Shells have been on my mind this week. Not exploding ones, I’ve already said that metaphor is finished, but Shell companies.
“What are they” I hear you shout in chorus. Well a shell company is a company that is formed that does all the business whilst keeping the true movers and shakers out of the limelight unless anyone feels up to doing some digging and finding out who is really behind it.
And one such intrepid journo for the New York Times has done just that, investigating a story about swanky Bel Air, already awash with mansions of the rich who are ganging up on newcomers muscling in who are in fact the super-rich, building bigger mansions without planning permission. Making the mere ordinary rich look liked claimants of Universal Credit
Crime in Bel Air
Trouble is it turns most of the shell company owning uber-rich are mainly criminals and ne’er do wells, including people suspected of squirreling away billions from their country’s coffers or simply laundering ill gotten gains through legitimate property.
Journo Louise Story’s list of Bel Air’s latest home owners runs thus:-
- Gilbet R Chagury – convicted of money laundering in Switzerland
- The son of president Suharto – former corrupt dictator of Indonesia
- Kola Aluko- currently under investigation by Nigeria’s oil ministry.
- Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva – daughter of the president of Uzbekistan, facing corruption charges in several countries
Or how about
- Mikael Lesin, former top aide to Vladimir Putin and head of Russia’s technology and media arm, found dead in a Washington hotel last November
And my favourite, as the article reports
“TBN Holdings Inc., which traces to a Saudi prince, Turki bin Nasser. As a high-ranking military official during the 1980s and ’90s, Prince Turki was involved in arms deals with the aerospace company BAE that led to allegations of bribery and large fines in Britain and the United States. According to reports by The Guardian, the BBC and “Frontline,” Prince Turki was a bribe recipient.
I don’t know about you but my neighbour is Mary, an elderly Irish Catholic lady whose kids live in Stevenage. Who knows, maybe I’ve misread it and Mary, with her Ventolin puffer and crucifix is actually a crystal meth dealer, a la Walter White who pays her Hyde Housing rent by trafficking children as soldiers to work for General Butt Naked in Liberia.
Rich v. Mega-rich
The mere ordinary rich of the Hollywood hills are ganging together to fight, accusing their even richer neighbours of ignoring planning rules which can result in landslides that could sweep away their tiny 20 room mansions and also ignoring drought-induced water restrictions to keep their never walked on lawns appearing lush.
I never thought I would say this but I’m with the rich people here, 100% behind their fight against the mega-rich.
We hear of this happening in London too of course, faceless oligarchs who never even visit the properties, digging super-basements 40 stories down, driving up house process further down the market.
The latest tilt on this comes via the
The latest tilt on this comes via the International Business Times who informed us this week that plunging oil prices is causing;
“an anxious wealthy elite in oil-rich countries to keep pumping their money into property – with the prime central London market set to benefit as a leading “safe haven” for foreign capital”
Come one come all.
I tell you what, I’ll move out so you can have more room.
If this carries on London will look like the film 28 Days later. Deserted streets, abandoned buses, unread newspapers blowing down alleys, while gleaming prime location property devoid of any life sit quietly in the warm sunshine.
What made me smile this week.
Discovering Partan Bree – a form of Scottish crab soup.
- Get a couple of crabs or 1 big one, pick the meat out and roast the shells with onion celery, parsley and lemon then boil to make a crab stock.
- Fry shallots in butter, add a good handful of rice, lemon zest and tomato paste until caramelised then add the stock. Cook until rice is done before pureeing in a blender.
- Sieve it back in the pan and add a glug of Sherry, cream, paprika, milk and the crab meat and warm through.
See ya next week