[Ben Reeve Lewis, is rethinking Brexit …)
Having nailed my colours to the mast over this Brexit thing and deciding firmly to vote “Out” on the 23rd June, I keep reading about all these politicians who I loathe with a passion who suddenly seem to be agreeing with me.
All of which is causing me to now say “Hang on a minute, let’s not be so hasty”.
My previous resolve has been scattered to the four winds, simply by the notion that if
What have they got up their sneaky little sleeves that hadn’t occurred to them a year ago?
I hate party politics. It’s like being forced to play ‘Find the lady’ with some East End card-sharp up an alley. You know they will always be one step ahead, whereas I tend to approach politics with an air of fairness and morality….silly me.
So for this week at least, I’m voting to stay in.
As Groucho Marx once said “These are my principals, I hold to them firmly…..if you don’t like them I have others”.
Mind you, government does seem to be taking a kicking generally don’t you think?
Government back tracking
First the hilarious back-track on disability payments which within 24 hours moved from being a budget declaration to “Just a suggestion”, and now the growing civil war over turning schools into Academies.
The buy to let thing is also a bit of a civil war on its own, as covered everywhere, including the FT. What was a few months ago the cornerstone of modern housing policy has now become, according to Bank of England Governor Mark Carney “One of the biggest risks to the financial system”.
Maybe government suffer from the same dithering that I do over the EU. Did Jeremy Corbyn mention in a speech that he thought Buy to Let was a great idea? And did government hold a quick Cobra meeting saying “Hang on a minute, lets not be so hasty”.
Award for gobbledook of the week must surely go to the same FT article where Council for Mortgage Lender supremo Paul Smee says:-
“In our view, buy to let does not constitute a market that currently requires further macroprudential intervention”
What the hell is that? Macroprudential intervention??????? Sounds like either a gynaecological procedure or a form of military coup in an unknown foreign country whose dictator has stopped sending kickbacks to US Conglomerates and is therefore wildly out of control despot and therefore ripe for a bombing campaign [Wikipedia explanation if you want it is here – Ed].
No wonder people can’t be arsed with finance and politics and turn to Coronation Street in disgust. You would never have heard Albert Tatlock talking such twaddle.
A new scam
I’m no stranger to investigation housing scams perpetrated under Section 419 of Nigeria’s penal code but Property Industry Eye came up with a new one this week.
An online Phishing scam, whereby the online fraudsters target genuine properties on sale with genuine estate agents but seriously undercut the price. With no agent mentioned on the site the would-be purchaser thinks it is a direct sale, made all the cheaper for not having an agent in the middle.
The direct seller just happening to be a Nigerian-based scam artist who angles for your personal details.
As a would-be home-buyer myself I am keeping a close eye out.
Three new cases of landlords being fined are doing the rounds in the local papers this week.
- Gateshead landlord Steve Enright was fined £10,000 for failing to deal with his anti-social tenants
- Burnley Landlord Matthew Hartley was fined £1,000 for operating without a licence, while
- Oxford landlord Khadam Hussein was ordered to pay £10,500 for running a slum
Interesting to note there that these fairly high penalties were not for prosecutions under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977, which continue to be on the wet-fish side of pathetic. A point I never tire of emphasising.
Why is the penalty for failing to control tenants 10 times higher than for evicting them without a court order? Enright should have just changed the locks. Even if prosecuted it would have been cheaper than being fined by the council for an illegal eviction than non-compliance with a licence.
Fit for human habitation
And speaking of which MP Karen Buck is clearly getting frustrated by the sad lack of interest in her genuinely fantastic bill to amend existing legislation to stop rogue landlords letting out properties that aren’t fit for human habitation. A simple, obvious and humane idea you would have thought. Buttonholing housing minister Brandon Lewis she said:-
“What possible grounds can the Minister have for resisting a modest change that would allow tenants to take legal action against landlords who let homes that are not fit for human habitation?”.
Karen cited lack of resourcing in councils to tackle the problem, to which Mr Lewis replied:
“She may wish to welcome the extra £5m that we have added to the £6.7m that we have already invested to support it (tackling rogue landlords)”.
Let’s contextualise these figures shall we?
£11.7 million pounds.
If we stick with London alone, where the biggest number of people are densely concentrated, there are 32 local authorities, which comes to about £37,000 per council. There are 333 nationally. £37k wouldn’t even provide stationary.
The amount is meaningless and pathetic in the wake of the problem but as a counterpoint, Ms Buck’s Bill is aimed at empowering tenants to sue landlords who run slums, independently of local authority enforcement teams.
Supporting Ms Buck’s attempts is well-known housing law expert Dr Stephen Battersby who says:
“At the very least, the amendments put forward by Karen would have readdressed the balance for tenants. It would have virtually been an update of the Landlord and Tenant Act. – This would also make it possible to secure public funding for this, giving tenants stronger consumer rights and reducing their dependency on their local authority.”
And yet the Bill is widely tipped to fail
As Kurt Vonnegut once said “Sometimes an idea is so insane, that the only sane response is to laugh. Which brings me toWhat made me smile this week.
What made me smile this week
It was Frazzy’s birthday on Monday. I got tickets for ‘Motown the Musical’. I know its yet another example of the all too prevalent ‘Juke-box musical’ that is boosting or ruining the theatre, depending on your viewpoint but its worth it for the Jackson Five medley alone, which makes you rub your eyes in disbelief that you aren’t at that famous 1970 TV show where they did ABC and I want you Back, whilst wearing purple suede fringed waistcoats, velvet flares and massive Afros.
The young Michael J being spookily on the money.
See ya next week