[Ben Reeve Lewis is getting blasé …)
I’m getting blasé about this TV Malarkey.
5 years ago I did my first bit on Channel 4 news about rogue landlords. I phoned all friends and family who sat glued to their TVs for my 30 second shot at fame.
I’ve worked on 8 or 9 programmes since and spent 5 months of last year with a TV crew in tow every single day, for that Channel 5 series.
A couple of weeks ago I was on something that I filmed back in January. I was in bed when it aired and Frazzy came in to wake me up saying “Your on TV”. I mumbled something about watching it on Catch-up but I haven’t yet and to be honest I can’t even remember what the programme is called.
I’m currently working on three other programmes and the novelty has well and truly worn off, my “Am I gonna be on TV?” phase having been replaced by my “So when are you going to pay? I invoiced you three weeks ago” phase
So I understand new housing minister Gavin Barwell’s lust for attention. The usual organs reporting on his history as a Croydon Councillor, working his way up the greasy pole.
So I went searching for his greasy pole and came across news that he has been reported as having deleted information from Wikipedia recording stories about his persistent attempts at headline grabbing, citing a piece in the Telegraph back in May 2015 about a group of MPs doctoring their Wiki profiles to get rid of embarrassing stories.
We also learn from the Croydon Advertiser that the new housing minister was the subject of complaint to the Metropolitan Police in May 2016 about alleged electoral fraud and expenses. The police investigation is still ongoing.
The Hamster faced one trotted out the usual MP response to such allegations “I followed proper process”.
So let’s hope he follows proper process when resolving the housing crisis he has inherited. Personally, my confidence in him is about as strong as my confidence in the tonsorial skills of Brian May’s hairdresser.
Obsessive about cookbooks?
I found out this week I have something in common with new Prime Minister Theresa May, no I’m not married to a man who looks the dead spit of the actor who plays Nora Batty’s husband in ‘last of the summer wine’ but we are both avid collectors of cookbooks.
Trouble is, her claimed 100 cookbooks I don’t count that as ‘Avid’. I’ve got over 400, THAT’S avid, even obsessive I’m ashamed to admit.
Nice to know that we would have something to chat about should we ever get marooned in a lifeboat together. God knows I wouldn’t want to engage her in a debate about her government approach to housing, I’d end up battering her to death with a copy of Mrs Beeton.
An appalling housing record …
For example, take this interesting account of the ‘UK Housing Briefing Paper over on Red Brick informing us that more than £42 billion of public money has been used to shore up the private housing market and only £2 billion has been put into affordable rented accommodation.
The article quotes directly from the briefing paper when it states:
‘The reality is that younger households are less able and less willing to buy a first home.’ The Legal & General’s report The Bank of Mum and Dad suggests that home ownership in the UK will actually fall further, to only 55% by 2025.”
This is against the background of the government’s stated aims to encourage more home ownership so is more damning indictment than trumpeting of success.
And while we are on this tip, take a look at this piece from 24 Dash informing us that Cameron has the worst record on housing of any Prime Minister since Stanley Baldwin in 1923.
This wobbly and unwelcome crown to wear being the result of a survey commissioned from the Independent House of Commons Library.
“14% fewer homes built in England than under Gordon Brown, 21% fewer than under Tony Blair, and 35% fewer than under Margaret Thatcher. It is the worst housebuilding average since comparable post-war records for England begin”
Not that Camo will be bothered by this you understand. If it didn’t bother him when he was in power why should he care now he is in the land of £1m a year executive committee jobs for attending a meeting once a month?
First Deposit Prosecution in Scotland
Scotland has seen its first prosecution of a letting agent for failing to meet deposit protection regulations north of the border
But they weren’t prosecuted by the tenant for non-protection in the normal way, instead they were punished under consumer protection regulations.
What makes this a landmark ruling is that responsibility for protecting deposits lays with the landlord, not the agent but this was a creative prosecution by North Ayreshire Council’s trading standards team under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, through which the landlord was deemed to be the consumer and the agents Colvin Houston Ltd the trader, a relationship needed to establish action under consumer protection law.
As the article on the Painsmith blog points out:
“It should be remembered that the CPRs (Civil Procedure Rules) apply equally in England as well as in Scotland and so a similar prosecution could be pursued South of the Border. Routine failure to protect deposits is something that agents should not be involved with and is likely to attract prosecution.”
Well how about that? Landlords can approach the local authority trading standards team where their agents have dropped them in the crapper by not protecting the deposit when expected to.
Working this out logically it would seem likely that the tenant can still sue the landlord for the penalty because the responsibility for protection is the landlord’s but they could pass the costs on to the agent under consumer protection regulations. [Tenants can sue agents under the civil law too, in England anyway – the regs specify this – Ed]
One for landlords to raise in local landlord forum meetings with their council.
What made me smile this week
Discovering a secret supply of excellent tomatoes at my local market. A Bulgarian guy who gets a stash nobody else has on the stalls, directly from Spain and sells for a song.
Fat, juicy, bursting with flavour like the ones you get in Mediterranean markets that you never get in the UK.
Time to dust of me big pot and hussle up a batch of tomato ketchup and base pasta sauce to freeze for the winter.
I’m not telling you where they are, it’s my dealer and he doesn’t like me giving his phone number out to strangers.
Avid???? Obsessive??? Move over Mrs May
See ya next week.