My Final Newsround
Well here we are at 300.
In the distance I can hear faint mixture of both booing and cheering.
If some found my writing over the past few years provocative and biased, you are correct. I am provocative and biased.
But Tessa allows me to write for her blog because she knows me personally and understands that my provocative side is actually more teasing and ribbing than anything else and my biased side comes from an extreme hatred of rogue landlords and agents because I spend my days dealing with the fallout of their seemingly endless capacity for greed and aggression.
It tends to make you biased but, I like to think it’s been entertaining too, which was always my #1 reason for doing it.
New levels of desperation
Whilst I accept my own bias I have a keen eye for those who don’t think they have one, causing me to read this piece in Property Reporter about Havering Council advising a tenant to break back into her accommodation after she had moved out.
The bias of the piece and the quotes used suggest that the council had gone mad, the tenant behaved criminally and the poor letting agents were but pawns, however, the uncomfortable legal facts are buried right down at the bottom of the article.
That she had moved out wasn’t in question but the tenancy had not been ended. For implied surrender to take place 2 things must happen:-
- There must be an unequivocal act of surrender AND ALSO
- An unequivocal act of acceptance of that surrender and the second bit didn’t happen.
Correct legal surrendering is the key here
She told the council that she had handed the keys back to the agent and they had been accepted, which may well have been a proper surrender but when the council contacted the agent they were told she had merely left the keys in the accommodation, which is a different legal ball game as there was no unequivocal act of acceptance.
So, if the article is accurate enough, Havering council were most probably correct and the tenant still had a legal right to occupy, a fact I am especially pleased to hear because I trained them 2 years ago.
Nice to know they were paying attention.
Its how the law pans out, ignore at your peril Beryl but don’t shoot the messenger.
Rogue Landlords still getting away with it
The headline “Tackling the scourge of rogue landlords” caught my eye in my local “South London Press” reporting on the fact that some South London councils are dire at prosecuting them, citing among others, the boroughs of Southwark, where I live and Lewisham, where I used to be TRO.
Not for the first time I read the old linguistic shimmy:-
“The council favours working with landlords – rather than going straight for prosecution”.
Councils need to take a much harder line
Its down to the fact that it is less resource stretching to write letters to rogues and wait for a favourable response, than it is to instigate legal action, that’s what drives it but every enforcement officer knows their usual suspects and the scams they get up to and they know that no amount of writing letters or giving the benefit of the doubt is going to make them play ball
Even after a lifetime of working in this field I still retain a burning anger when dealing with bullies making money off the back of people’s homes and desperation and an increasing frustration that few councils manage to see that tackling them means joined up thinking and working.
….And get their act together
Councils have trading standards, environmental health, planning enforcement TROs, housing benefit fraud etc etc and yet it is rare for them to sit in a room together and share names and addresses, let alone hooking up with other local authorities to share information and target rogue landlords across borough borders.
It doesn’t take much
They don’t even need to even employ loads more enforcement officers, just get the ones they do have to work together.
Not much shocks me now
You can imagine the state of some of the properties I’ve been inside after 27 years.
All enforcement officers say “I’ve seen worse” and in all honesty, most of us have but still hoping to be shocked and appalled, I read in the Mirror of some tenants from Hell in Hull, who I anticipated might break my shock barrier, only to be disappointed again.
I don’t mean to make light of how distressing it must have been to the landlord but whilst pictures such as those in the Mirror article make a great story to ‘Tutt-Tutt’ over, they are hardly national news and appear to be simply trotting out images to horrify Mrs Angry from Margate, causing half of her Rich Tea to drop off into her mug.
My phone can show you a thing or two
I could show you pictures on my phone that would make your toes curl, including a photographic “Black Museum” of some particularly disgusting toilet bowls that I collect like a naughty schoolboy, playing Top Trumps with other enforcement officers when we meet up over a pint.
“I’ve seen worse……have a look at this one”.
Maybe I’ll send my collection of toilet bowls to the Mirror with an article about how this will all get worse after Brexit.
Following the same tip as the Mirror but at least with a news story attached, Lincolnshire Live ran photos of poor property conditions this time overcrowding and repair issues not addressed by the landlord but yet again…..I’ve seen worse.
Mind you, I loved the photo of a piece of evidently rotting wood imaginatively titled
“An image of rotting wood”.
With the piece in the South London Press, East Lindsey District Council say they receive more than 200 complaints a year from tenants in poor living conditions with 45 Prohibition notices served, a far better-hit rate than some I could mention.
What made me smile this week.
Seeing our Cocker Spaniel finally realise that hoovering the dining area carpet is actually cleaning it and watching him wait until we put the hoover away before slinking out of the back door to bring in lumps of moss to shred on it just to wind us up, then toddling off to the bedroom to sleep on the duvet for a couple of hours.
And that’s me done
5 years worth of Newsround at an end.
My new job spreads me thinner than Michael Gove’s charm and meeting deadlines to write it was getting more challenging by the day, which is why I bowed out, although no doubt I shall pen the odd one when Tessa is in a corner and I’ll still be producing random articles.
I got a call last night that an agent’s crew are going to a woman’s house at 12pm today to cut her electricity off, so I have to travel from South East London to somewhere out near Heathrow and stand in their way.
Of such events are my days composed.