[Ben Reeve Lewis’ week comes to an end …)
Well, that’s another week of dealing with the dodgy, the stupid and the downright mean out of the way.
Came across a decidedly iffy ‘For profit’ housing association who took £1,300 “Rent in advance” and another £1,300 “Additional monthly rent” off of a working single mum with 6 kids.
Ben takes action
The old “Take a deposit but call it something else so we won’t have to protect it” scam.
They got a possession order and a warrant off the back of it so I made an emergency application to have the warrant set aside on the basis of ‘Oppression’ before concentrating on getting the proceedings set aside altogether when I had time to do more than throw in a skeleton argument.
They seemed to think better of it and filed a notice of discontinuance, presumably because they didn’t want the deposit issue highlighted in the case which might get in the way of what I would imagine is standard practice for them.
A tale of high priced property problems
And I was amazed to read this week that these kind of dodgy shenanigans aren’t solely confined to cheapster landlords and agents ripping off the working poor with the tale brought to light by Nearly Legal of the CEO of investment firm Publity AG who paid deposit on a Mayfair flat of £52,000 but ran into problems over the start date of the tenancy and uncompleted works which led to the owners Chesterhill Properties changing the locks just as the CEO was moving in.
This is the sort of thing I’ve dealt with day in day out for a quarter of a century but usually it involves a broken windowed ex-council flat on a run down estate.
Nice to know the posh get a taste of it for once. I’d have loved to have been the TRO on that one.
I would have accompanied the CEO down to the homelessness unit and insist that somebody see the poor fella, staging a sit-in until the police get called and drag the two of us screaming from the building. An everyday sight in most homelessness units.
Reports from Kate
Last year I did some filming with property expert Kate Faulkner who crops up on TV even more regularly than me. I can’t remember exactly what we were doing other than it was some sort of programme about disrepair in the PRS.
This week she published a report commissioned by TDS with the snappy title “Who are the individual landlords providing private rented accommodation?” Posing the question of whether or not ‘Accidental landlords’ are actually damaging the PRS.
Kate reckons there are two dangers with accidental landlords. Lack of legal knowledge and a more precarious approach to the business which fluctuates more with the waxing and waning of their fortunes.
The report highlights that in some areas 30% of the local stock is run by accidental landlords.
Accidental landlord ignorance
A previous article in the same organ “Property reporter” back in February revealed that 71% of accidental landlords knew nothing of recent changes to mortgage tax relief which could seriously impact on their abilities to keep the thing going.
And, let’s not lose sight of what this means at the bottom end, this ignorance of all things ‘renting’ means more insecurity for the tenants for whom it is a home not an investment.
The tale of the angry Norfolk landlord
Mind you none of all this accidental landlord, Mayfair eviction malarkey can compare with the Norfolk landlord this week who fired his shotgun in the air and told tenants who were renting a mobile home on his property to “Get orf moi land”
64 year old Marcus Strong then assaulted the couple and broke the woman’s mobile phone which she had used to call Police to help stop them getting shot.
He was jailed for 8 months but not for illegal eviction or harassment, just plain old assault and using a firearm to cause fear and violence. Mr Strong’s brief said:
“He cannot explain why he completely lost it. He accepts that he did and said he just wanted to make a noise.”
If he wanted to make a noise why didn’t he just turn the radio up? Thats what I do.
The Judge doling out this, as usual pathetic sentence predicated on the mediaeval notion that possession is 90% of the law, a principle supported entirely by the police and judiciary, excused it by saying:
“Strong was full of remorse for what he had done and had acted in a “wholly uncharacteristic” way.
Presumably his ‘Normal character’ is a shy unassuming one that makes Mother Theresa look like Liberace. His brief went on to say:
“The defendant knows his fall from grace will be particularly hard.”
Er 8 months, out in 4 months is not exactly a hard one and how does someone in his position ‘fall from grace’ exactly? Was he the Arch-Bishop of Norfolk? He was just a bloke and a bad tempered one at that. Not so far to fall methinks.
HMO Landlady on bedbugs
Finally I had a hilarious phone conversation last night with the lovely HMO landlady Serena Burt, in which we made each other laugh out loud in typically non-PC language that we both relate to, being embedded in the real world of difficult renting conditions that only a black sense of humour can protect you from.
She directed me to a personal mention on her blog about the best way to banish bed bugs. Apparently, everything I was taught in me teenaged years working in a doss house has now been outlawed. The cure being worse than the problem.
Oh well….c’est la vie
What made me smile this week.
Definitely one for the Schadenfreude in all of us.
The story of poor Norwegian Claus Jorstad who, having damaged his knee bought a stool from Ikea to sit on in the shower. The chair as you will see in the article had several small holes in the top, an ideal fit for the shower and also an ideal fit for his testicles, one of which went through the hole and got stuck.
What with his dodgy knee and his testicular challenge he couldn’t get up and sat there so long the water ran cold, which turned out to be his saving grace as the cold shrivelled his trapped nut and he managed to get free.
And I thought those sorts of things only happened to me Hahahahahaha
See ya next week.