[Ben Reeve Lewis, wonders why we bother to be honest …)
As a Scooby Doo villain might have said “We would have gotten away with it if it hadn’t been for those pesky tenants”.
As regular readers will know, Frazzy and I rent temporarily until the mortgage is up on the house she owns with her mum (two months…..praise the lord) then we sell up and all move into a bigger home together in the East Midlands, that’s the plan.
We refused to renew out AST last year with our agents, a well known high street chain.
Today we received an email from them asking us if we want to renew again at a price, adding:
“If you do not wish to renew your tenancy, we require you to serve written notice.”
To which I just responded, with affected holy innocence:
“I confess this has taken my partner and I by surprise. We have always been valued tenants of our landlords, a mature working couple who have never missed a day’s rent. Can you let us know why our landlords have instructed you that they want us out?”
And there’s the rub, the landlords haven’t instructed them, he is trying it on just to get a renewal fee.
I shall do, as I do every year, employ my favourite wooden spoon, email the landlord and ask why they want us to leave, to which they will respond, as they also do every year “We don’t” .
You see its all driven by the agents in search of another pound. And people wonder why they aren’t trusted? Any hoose, to the news….
The Panama Papers
There can be no doubt that the Panama Papers has knocked normal news into a cocked hat this week. 11 million documents. This is going to be unravelling for months but the Guardian alighted on what us Landlord Law Blog types want to know – what are the property scams that Mossack Fonseca are being accused of being connected with?
And according to The Guardian, here’s the coup:
“Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan owns dozens of central London properties worth more than £1.2bn through offshore companies supplied by Mossack Fonseca.
- The prime minister of Pakistan, Iraq’s former interim prime minister and the president of the Nigerian senate are among those whose links to London property are detailed by the files.
- Nearly one in 10 of the 31,000 tax haven companies that own British property are linked to Mossack Fonseca.
- Around 2,800 Mossack Fonseca companies appear on a Land Registry list of overseas property owners dating from 2014.
- The companies are connected to more than 6,000 title deeds worth at least £7bn, although the true value is likely to be greater since many property deeds do not specify the price paid for the property.”
The article goes on and on, listing foreign investors with UK properties allegedly working through Mossack Fonseca.
Why do we bother?
When I first started out as self-employed I had a meeting with my then accountant and advised that I wanted everything to be Kosher and above board. He gave me a weary look and said “Then Ben, you aint ever gonna be rich”.
Prophetic words. Why do people like me try to adhere to a moral compass that nobody else seems to bother with?
Why do Tessa and I, the Nearly Legal crew, Joe Halewood over on the SPEYE blog, Steve Hildytch on Red Brick, Serena Burt as HMO landlady, Marion Money of the NLA, Samantha Collet and others from all sides of the landlord/tenant fence, all decent human beings I have max-respect for, bother trying to be decent, honest and moral?
I think that these kinds of thoughts have cascaded down onto many followers of the story as the Panama Papers unfolds.
Why it’s a big story
We are all in it together says Cameron and Osborne…..
There is an episode of “The world at war” covering the blitz, when a woman filmed in a pub in the 1970s recounts the horror, saying Churchill arrived in a car one day to see people in the East end clearing the rubble. Flashing his famous ‘V’ sign he said “We can take it”…to which she responded “You aint F***ing taking it mister, we are”.
The sentiment still rings true.
That’s why the Panama Papers is such a big story. Its not about the details, property related or otherwise, its about the emperor’s new clothes, our sainted leaders caught with their trousers down.
Trusted politicians and financial types being exposed for the lying, cheating scum they are, while the rest of us, diligently go about our business, trying to lead decent, moral lives.
Another Toxic bacteria
And from our own Landlord Law Blog throng another piece of toxic bacteria evaded justice this week, reported by Property Industry Eye in the form of estate and letting agent David Whitefield, who was given a simple suspended prison sentence for taking 1,200 deposits and not protecting them, thus affecting landlords and tenants alike.
Whitefield, it is reported simply used the money to keep his business afloat.
His company went into receivership in 2014 owing £198,000 and yet all he walked away with was a simple suspended sentence, although there is promise of a ‘proceeds of crime’ claw-back which might hurt him more.
Displaying the aggressive seriousness of Winnie the Pooh on Charlie, akin to a council press office release the judge said:
“Don’t for one moment think this is anything like a let-off. If you re-offend then you will face prison.”
Taking £198,00 worth of other people’s money for a suspended sentence???????? If that isn’t a ‘Let off’ then what is?????
Are we even on the same planet? I’m with the East End lady in 1941.
What made me smile this week
It’s actually more of a ‘What intrigued me this week’, the purchase of the book “Death in the city of light” by David King,
The true story I fell across by accident of Dr Petiot, a mass murderer in 1940s Paris, who pretended he was running an escape line for victims of persecution escaping from Nazi concentration camps who it turned out was keeping the money and murdering them with Cyanide injections.
He hid himself by claiming he was with the resistance but at the end of the war it transpired when the secrecy ended and everyone was able to fess up, that nobody had heard of him.
A Harold Shipman for the French Resistance who wouldn’t be out of place among our own wealthy elite today. Its all about the money.
Maybe Dr Petiot had the same accountant as me.
See ya next week.