[Ben Reeve Lewis explains why housing staff are hard to find…)
If there is one thing I have learnt over the years in landlord tenant dispute land it is that life is stranger than fiction.
Whilst being well used to landlords and tenants both accusing each other of harassment even I took a step back this week having been involved in weird case involving Origami.
The Origami Case
The tenant, a fond fan of the oriental art of paper folding had a penchant for making Origami Cranes, those folded paper birds where you pull the tail and the wings flap.
He would leave them around the house, only to have the landlord tear them up, an act he considered harassment.
Meanwhile the landlord complained that she suffered from ‘Japa-phobia’ which includes a phobia of Origami and that the fact that he created these hideous and terrifying birds was an act of harassment from her end.
It’s the kind of case that makes you want to simply bang heads together.
The sort of case that makes you disappear to the pub for lunch to become absorbed in your book of fiction in search of a more sane world, that to be honest even 5 pints of the seasonal “Youngs Winter Warmer” couldn’t shake as I encountered the BBC news story that Elmo from Sesame Street had something to say about gentrification and yes, I cant believe I’m writing about this either.
Homework for you
In scuttling this off at 9pm on a Thursday night I confess I didn’t have the time to listen to the interview itself and perhaps I am preserving my sanity in doing so.
I’ll let you do it and report back in the comments.
Councils are not to blame for it all
This week I was much taken with the homelessness challenge of the conjoined cases of Edwards, Cole, Saeed and Noworol against Birmingham City Council.
A high court matter where the claimants had a beef with the council, accusing them of having a policy which amounted to a systemic abuse of the homelessness system whereby they were denied justice and assistance.
The decision, quite rightly in my book, was that the courts rejected the idea that although there is a massive homelessness crisis, in failing to resolve the protagonist’s own problems there was some form of conspiracy. Instead of their individual circumstances being driven simply by the fact they lived in dreadful accommodation along with god knows how many others.
The cold fact is that the homelessness situation is of staggering proportions for local authorities.
Anyone for Homelessness work?
Last week I was contacted by a high profile recruitment agency asking me if I knew anyone who was looking for work in homelessness case work, on the basis that whilst being inundated with requests from council for troops to pick up the ball they were struggling to get anyone stoopid enough to take the Kings shilling on that one.
Even Welsh councils, I am told, operating under a completely different legal system are apparently bussing homelessness workers over the Severn Bridge just to deliver a service.
One colleague of my acquaintance recently gave up 20 years in homelessness advice to become a bus driver rather than continue to face arsey legal reps setting deadlines of 4 hours or face Judicial Review for failing to deal with one of 100 cases causing the legs of your desk to bow under the strain or people accusing you of being personally responsible for their miscarriage if you make a decision that goes against their wishes.
One poor sod of a homelessness review officer I know recently had to go home at the end of the day having witnessed a client wearing a sandwich board outside of the town hall proclaiming “****** thinks it is ok if I lose my baby because I refuse to live in B&B”.
Who can blame good, committed folk for simply sticking two fingers up and choosing to helm the 21 bus up the Old Kent Road rather than take on such a thankless task in a homelessness crisis, where the world and his wife is out for your blood?
Art for the people?
Meanwhile ex Brit-art has-been Tracey Emin has been haranguing Tower Hamlets council over the proposed demolition of listed building to be replaced by a studio in which to produce more of her tedious and depressing works of art.
Head of Save Britain Heritage says:
“This is an extremely aggressive move on the part of applicant Tracey Emin and suggests that she wishes to force this through the planning process, whatever the opinion of the councillors, local people or preservation groups.”
Emin declined to comment in the article but the author of the piece nicely put the following:
“Notable works by the artist include Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995, a tent with all the names of people she has shared a bed with, and My Bed, an installation of her own unmade bed which contained used condoms and blood-stained underwear.”
Notable works indeed.
I’m no dissenter of conceptual art, hell I even got the point of that installation where the light went on and off when you walked into the room and I was blown away by that blue crystal cave affair on the now demolished Heygate Estate, next door to Nearly Legal’s Anthony Gold offices but I see nothing of worth in Ms Emin’s work and even less reason to demolish a building to help her foist more on us.
And before you express astonishment that I have views on art, bear in mind that Nearly Legal’s Giles Peaker used to be an art history lecturer before donning a tie.
What made me smile this week.
A Martian walks into a pub. Green from head to toe, 6 eyes and antennae on his head, announcing its his birthday and he wants to buy everyone a drink.
The barman says “I cant serve you, you’re a Martian” to which the alien responds “Isnt my money as good as anyone else?”
The barman relents and the Martian buys drinks for everyone all night, entertaining all with anecdotes and jokes, the perfect Mein host.
At last orders the barman says “Right. Time to tally up…..That comes to £1,234”
To which the Martian responds. “No problem……….have you got change of a Kronk?”
See ya next week.