[Ben Reeve Lewis considers innovation in housing …...]
Frazzy exercised her travel agent perks last weekend by doing a free overnighter on the new SS Britannia docked in Southampton, getting wined, dined and entertained.
Sometimes work can be hell!
And I was watching the boss of it all promoting the ship, perhaps the ugliest sea going vessel since the coracle was invented, a floating 1970s council estate, on BBC news this morning.
He came out with the usual Cameron-esque Bollocks :
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to bring money to the people of Britain”
Excuse me? It’s a wonderful opportunity to bring money into the bank accounts of the shareholders of P&O. What the hell do I get out of it? Or any of us for that matter?
Including the crew……who, as Frazzy assured me were almost exclusively from Goa and Pakistan, a tradition with P&O going back decades, the reason being that by a quirk of employment law they can pay them 75p an hour, but hey ho.
Housing is my remit, not an increasing anger at greed or unfairness in society as whole.
Creative house painting
A Brighton landlord this week took a creative approach to the interpretation of a letter from the local council telling him and other house owners in the street to “Make sure their homes are neatly panted”.
The landlord, who was not named, invited local graffiti artist AroeMSK to paint a lurid mural on the house of a tattooed Queen Victoria, a British Bulldog, London Underground trains and a picture of Beachy Head.
I sit back in glee waiting to see how the planning department are going to deal with that one and I’m firmly with the landlord on this.
I’m a great fan of innovative ideas generally and particularly in housing so I read with interest a piece on 24 Dash about New Charter Homes using government health funding to promote cooking and healthy eating skills amongst it’s tenants
They offer cookery classes and £50 worth of cooking gear which first time tenants often find difficult to afford.
I can see the value of public health and the importance of weaning people away from pouring cash into the hands high street chain ‘Subway’s’ £2.75 an hour ‘Apprentice Sandwich Artists’, but I cant quite see why this is the role of a social landlord.
Dr Alison Tedstone of Public Health England said:
“Social Landlords are important players in local communities and are in a unique position to support their residents to eat a healthy balanced diet and ultimately improve health.”
The notion perplexes me somewhat as I have been having dialogue with public sector mates for some time about what exactly social housing is these days and who it is for.
Is the guardianship of healthy eating a credible role for them?
I’m genuinely open to be convinced of something I’m missing.
Chickens and housing
Mind you, New Charter were the organisation in 2011, involved with and ably covered by Nearly legal at the time [quite my favourite NL post – Ed] when they couldn’t evict some chicken keeping tenants for breaching the ‘No pets’ rule because chickens and rabbits are permissible on residential land under the Allotments Act of 1950.
Statute trumps contract!
So maybe this is simply a convoluted way of getting people to eat the problem rather than face lengthy court proceedings.
At a recent event for Renters Rights London, run by Rosie Walker we discussed the possibility of a mass chicken protest among tenants rights activists.
So if your tenants start scratching the ground and clucking, watch out…..its politics, not fowl play……badda bing badda boom.
Property Industry Eye drew my attention to the recently launched trip advisor style website ‘Rater Agents’ which came on the market in January to counter the supremacy of ‘All Agents’ and they admitted that in their opinion 12.5%of the reviews on their site are written by the agents themselves to improve kudos.
CEO of Rater Agents Mal McCallion pronounced:
“Rater Agent stands for trust and simplicity and we want everyone coming to the site – agent or their potential clients – to know that the reviews which they read on there are genuine ones”.
Now, call me an old cynic but I wonder exactly how they assure this and if their altruistic concerns are as genuine as they first appear, in fact I immediately think of the classic Bill Hicks Rant on marketing, “The sincerity dollar:
“Oh, you know what Bill’s doing, he’s going for that anti-marketing dollar. That’s a good market, he’s very smart”.
I don’t often cover housing law in this column these days because for the last year or so I’ve swapped my legal books for a stab vest and you are more likely to see me chasing people traffickers down an alley than wearing an un-ironed Hawaiian shirt at an emergency hearing in front of Judge Brooks.
But a Shelter article dusted off my legal brain and piqued my interest on an Equalities Act defence to possession proceedings
As a result of Akerman-Livingstone (Appellant) v Aster Communities Limited (formerly Flourish Homes Limited) (Respondent) , landlords, both social and private will have to persuade a court that eviction of a disabled tenant will have to be shown to be proportionate and necessary.
Prior to this Supreme Court decision disabled tenants had no more defence to possession on the basis of their disabilities than any able bodied tenant.
Now, thanks to a unanimous verdict, there is a defence.
Shelter round up the bullet points in the following way:
“In particular, judges considering a defence to a landlord’s possession must give attention to:
1. the landlord’s aims in taking the step to evict the tenant/occupier;
2. whether or not there is a rational link between the landlord’s aim and the proposed eviction of the disabled tenant;
3. whether evicting the tenant is no more than is necessary to achieve that aim; and
4. whether the eviction strikes a fair balance between the landlord’s aims and the disadvantages caused to the disabled person.”
“It will mean they have the opportunity to put forward a detailed case, and unless the landlord can justify eviction, the Courts may refuse to make a possession order, when previously it would have been all but inevitable.”
What made me laugh this week
In a word…..Clarkson hahahahahaha
See ya next week