[Ben Reeve Lewis considers soap operas …]
I cant stand soap operas.
I haven’t watched an episode of Eastenders since the days of Dirty Den and I stopped watching Coronation Street when Albert Tatlock died and a light went out in the world.
What seems to have happened in the meantime is that once they were all about old people and pedestrian working class life, now they are all about super-model actresses fresh out of Anna Sher who think a scowling face is ‘Doin emotion’, arguments, shootings, shaggings and generally depressing and ultimately predictable infidelity.
Every now and then I catch a 2 minute clip and nothing seems to have changed at all since I last made time to watch one.
Frazzy always has them on in the background, keeping one eye on the screen while she taps feverishly away on her laptop booking flights and hotels for bankers and watches the omnibus editions at weekends over a bacon sandwich in bed to catch the bits she missed while hanging on the phone to British Airways.
So I read with interest and not a little bemusement a piece in the Telegraph based on a serious survey about house and rental prices by the National Housing Federation, arguing that soap opera characters wouldn’t, in real life, be able to afford to live where they do.
Let me enlighten you.
Apparently The Archers is set in a fictional village somewhere between Worcestershire and Warwickshire where a prospective purchaser would need a £40,000 deposit to get on the housing ladder, and yet a character called Pip would be hopelessly priced out as a trainee farmer.
This extraordinary article by the Telegraph’s Miranda Prynne explains:
“The salaries needed to buy or rent homes in London’s East End, Salford and the Yorkshire Dales are far beyond what most of the soap stars would earn”……..
Adding for the sake of gravitas:
“…….the figures showed.”
Further morphing this bizarre piece of ‘TV Quick’ style fluff into serious journalism Ms Prynne points out:
“The majority of characters would end up “living on the streets” as they struggled with mortgage or rent payments, according to the study, which compared average salaries listed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to property prices”.
Why is “Living on the streets” in quotation marks? And a further question………..Do you get paid for writing this bullshit??????
Maybe I’ll try my luck at a commissioned piece for Telegraph along similar lines:
“A DCLG report published this week, revealed that Daphne Du Maurier’s heroine in Rebecca need not have suffered the intimidation she did from her husband’s housekeeper if she had claimed working tax credit and moved into the gatekeeper’s cottage”
FFS as they say in text-land. Have we come to this?
New legislation for letting agents
I don’t know if any of you letting agents reading this twigged to the fact that last Friday a new piece of legislation was ushered in which has an effect on the business contracts you have with your landlord clients?
Reported on PainSmith Blog the new consumer regulations sets out three types of arrangement, depending on whether you sign people up in the office, on site or online with specific requirements about cancellation clauses by the customer and your abilities to forge ahead with managing if you don’t have express permission within the 14 day bail out clause.
You have to supply certain prescribed information too depending on where you are when you get them to sign on the dotted line.
All part of general plans for the lettings industry this year, including mandatory membership of specified redress schemes.
There is also of course Boris Johnson’s earth shattering ‘London Rental Standard’, which is about as effective as a sick note in Tikrit right now.
A Mayor on the Naughty Step
Which links me neatly into my favourite piece of news this week, ably reported by Giles Peaker over at Nearly Legal – the strange and rather hilarious case of the rogue landlord that Boris frowned upon.
At London Assembly question time Labour member Andrew Dismore asked Boris if he thought a landlord who raised his rent to meet housing benefit levels, turned up uninvited at tenant’s address at 10pm urging them to sign the back page of a pre-witnessed tenancy agreement and got children to translate for non-English speaking tenants would be considered acceptable behaviour.
A cornered Boris answered that it was not acceptable, at which point Mr Dismore informed the tousle haired one that he was in fact talking about the newly elected Mayor of Barnet.
Cue, red faces all around and a laugh out loud from me.
I actually sat in on the early stage meetings for the rental standard and the conversation was around where it should be benchmarked…..too high a standard and nobody would join, too low and it would be pointless.
I wont say where talks ended up but needless to say I stopped attending, despite the decent lunch on offer.
Immigration Act Factsheet
Finally I had yet another laugh out loud moment this week reading the government’s factsheet on landlord and agent responsibilities to vet tenants. In case you missed it…….in which case ‘Where the hell have you been?’
Cameron’s latest wheeze is to attack the growing issue of public concerns about illegal immigrants and nick some ground back from that twat Farrage by making landlords responsible for border control, while standing back, palms up, saying ‘Attacking immigration? Nothing to do with me, it’s the landlords’.
More accurately called the Immigration Act 2014.
The basic stuff is this…you get caught letting to someone of a dusky hue, with a foreign accent, probably smelling of garlic (A dastardly clue if ever there was one) you get fined £3,000. Even if that person was legal when you signed them up but lost status later on.
The factsheet trumpets all this stuff about how easy it will be for y’all to just call the home office hotline and they’ll happily give you a yay or nay.
I work in this industry…..have you tried getting hold of Lunar house???? Be prepared for a long wait and a huge phone bill before finally getting through to someone who doesn’t have an answer to your question.
The government factsheet starts off confidently enough;
“Private landlords will be required to make simple checks on new tenants to ensure that they are entitled to be in this country. The checks will be straightforward and quick for law-abiding landlords and tenants to comply with.”
“An online right to work checking resource has attracted praise as being user friendly and easy and quick to use – an email service with a turn around of no longer than 48 hours”.
But then the confidence trickles down the drain with the statement:
“Our focus is on making this work for the housing market and minimising regulation. If a landlord has not had an answer from the Home Office within 48 hours they can go ahead and rent.“
Ha-ha And there’s the nub of it.
Reading between the lines they know they aint got a prayer of dealing with enquiries in 48 hours. THAT is where the whole thing will fall apart.
Passport backlogs are choking the system, people aren’t getting checked because there isn’t the staff or resources because of austerity cuts and they are setting up a new system doomed to fail for the same reasons.
The last clause is stuck in there to get them out of the crapper when people cant get an answer from them.
Jeremy Paxman did his last Newsnight this week. What would he have been able to make of this nonsense?
See ya week.