[Ben Reeve Lewis has got a dog …]
I’m up to my eyes in dog crap!!!!!!
Meet Hector (see pic) 12 ounces of chocolate Brown Cocker Spaniel. Adorable, smart, full of energy…..craps everywhere!!!!!!!!!!!!!.
After less than a week we have him at least going outside but it’s been a long haul.
You thought babies were a handful.
Every time I look around he’s running off down the hall, ears flapping away, Frazzy’s watch, my keys, the TV remote, a mobile phone wedged in his mouth and he keeps climbing under the settee and getting stuck, and yet 10 seconds later he’s back there again and whimpering to be pulled free.
But we’ve signed him up for gun dog training…I’ve seen the clips on youtube. THAT’S what we want. Bum goes down the minute you blow the whistle, even when juicy pheasants are circling around their ears.
The French Foreign Legion version of dog school. We’ll make a man of him yet.
And so to the news.
Slow Coach Councils
I woke up this morning to be irked straight away by a BBC news item on the reported projection of a 4% decrease in new build. Fair enough, nothing new there but my annoyance came from the following government statement:
“Pressure would be brought to bear on “slow-coach councils” to deliver on new build.”
Er….excuse me???? Since when has your abject failure to deliver on any housing policy at all been the council’s fault?
What about private developers sitting on land banks? Or a planning framework that discourages building while Boris Johnson is busy creating exhibitions to attract investors from the far east to buy up large chunks of the capital?
The cost of cost cutting
The article goes on to refer to areas that have full planning permission that are still idle but you have to temper this information with the fact that councils are under an all out assault to cut multi-millions from their expenditure year on year, which means jobs and services are what get axed to keep government happy.
All of this comes at a cost to the community. You may understandably moan that your local nursery has closed or your street lights aren’t being fixed regularly but how is this achieved when the only mantra is cut, cut, cut and your street light team now consists of one bloke and his dog?
“Cheeky-barstewards” as Frazzy would say.
Still, at least the journalist recognised it for what it was, an:
“Unflattering eve-of-election snapshot”
Fag packet policies
Sticking with usual government SNAFU I read an interesting piece on Letting Agent Today accusing politicians of employing “Fag packet policies” , when it comes to dealing with the PRS.
Lisa Simon, head of lettings group Carter Jonas quite rightly observed:
“Too much fag packet planning and not enough real thought going into all this regardless of which political party happens to be having another bright idea today. “
Too true Lisa.
Although her take on all matters renting tends to be on the other end of the seesaw to mine I do agree that matters are jumping up like an annoying attention seeking puppy.
The ‘Generation Rent Manifesto’ mentioned last week and ably covered in a series by Tessa provided a much needed turbo-boost for discussion which politicians facing a major election in less than a year would be foolhardy to ignore.
Especially given that in the main it aims at striking a balance between the interest of landlords and tenants and isn’t just a tenant whinge fest which could more easily be batted aside or ridiculed.
Headline of the week
My favourite headline came this week not from The Sun or the Daily Mail, as the wording might lead you to expect but from industry magazine Inside Housing which shouted:
“Champagne truffle burger fraudster to be evicted from council home”,
The story deals with 61 year old former pub landlord Steven Sussams, recently convicted of a £14,000 benefit fraud and did a year, in stir, I believe the criminals call it.
Not for the first time I wonder how journalists make their connections when writing a story.
The nub of it seems to be that the guy used to run a pub that sold £120 truffle burgers but now lives in a council house.
So what? I used to be in the music business and now I work for the council. What’s your point?
I think it was written just so they could jemmy the title in. As regular readers will know I’m not averse to a bit of linguistic finagling in search of placing a good one liner myself.
Kris in the news
However, Inside Housing got back to some proper journalism, reporting on a red faced issue for housing minister Kris Hopkins
Like an un-house trained puppy, Hopkins dirtied his own bed in a recent Panorama programme when he said;
“It was ‘perfectly legitimate’ for landlords not to give tenancies to people on housing benefit.”
He hastily added in a commons speech that he wanted to clarify his televised gaff by pleading:
‘‘It is not appropriate for a landlord to remove somebody just because they are on housing benefit, but an individual can make a commercial choice about who they want to live in their accommodation.”
Incidentally why does he spell his first name like a rapper? Is he related to the appropriately monicered “Ludacris”?
Well Kris, the section 21 no fault ground for possession allows landlords to do exactly that, because they don’t have to give a reason for evicting.
Your working…you then lose your job running a pub selling truffle burgers and you get slapped with a section 21…no defence at all.
Does this mean that you fully support the action of the infamous Fergus Wilson? Because that is exactly what he is doing and there is no law to stop him.
So can I, on behalf of all generation renters everywhere, and probably including Shelter, formally and warmly welcome Kris Hopkins as one of our own for roundly criticising Mr Wilson.
Way to go Bro, max respect innit!
Mandatory licensing in Croydon on its way
Finally, like a biblical cloud of pestilence smudging the peaceful horizon the spectre of more mandatory licensing looms with the announcement this week that Croydon Council are to introduce mandatory licensing of all landlords a la Newham
Croydon’s councillor Alison Butler announced:
“This council is determined to improve the quality of homes for all and this scheme will provide a range of benefits and drive up standards in the private rental sector.”
Criticise the Generation Rent Manifesto if you will. Pour scorn on the sarcastic comments of moderate landlord friendly enforcement officers like me but if a little more balance isn’t introduced to system rent then more councils will be doing a Croydon.
Trust me, I work in the industry, I attend the meetings, I hear the talk.
In order to throw a bone to politicians and make it appear that their fag packet policies are achieving something, councils have to be seen to be cracking the whip down the line, on landlords.
Moderate voices like mine only go so far, and licensing is a much simpler solution for councils.
As Crusader Amalric said at the sacking of Beziere “Kill them all and let God sort it out”. That’s the logic of mandatory licensing.
Time may well come for landlords and agents when the Generation Rent Manifesto is viewed as a kindly old uncle
(Cue last dog metaphor)…….Ah well……..its a dog’s life
See ya next week.