[Ben Reeve Lewis on a world turned upside down …)
If you were pub crawling on a Saturday night in the south east London of my youth, the Old Kent Road was your boy.
You start off at the south in the Kentish Drovers towards the Asylum Rd, New Cross end and slowly work your way up through the Henry Cooper, disgusting red brick dive full of Bermondsey bolt heads and the NF.
Wend your way up past the Thomas a Becket, beloved of boxing fans the world over, Mohammed Ali trained there, past the Dun Cow, ex Teddy Boy hangout and now a surgery, the Frog and Nightgown, where I once got thrown out by the scruff of my neck by Lenny McLean, ‘The Guvnor’, who appeared in Lock Stock and two smoking barrels.
Finally ending up at the ‘World turned upside down’ at the Bricklayers Arms, last stop before the Elephant and Castle.
And the World Turned Upside Down is where I begin my piece this week with the news that Donald Trump has become president of the USA.
In keeping with a world turned upside down I take time out from digging a new bomb shelter to begin with where I usually end.
What made me smile this week
Donald Trump becoming president of the USA.
On the one hand the prospect of him becoming president was like the film ‘Snakes on a plane’. In synopsis form an entertaining prospect but in reality, a genuine snake on a genuine plane something definitely to be avoided.
And here we are. Don’t know if this will affect British housing apart from the distinct possibility that with him in charge of the USA, rubbing up against an increasingly bellicose Putin, that we might not have any housing or people to live in them, once he gets his wig into the Oval Office.
Landlord / tenant relations
A couple of weeks back I appeared on an NLA sponsored radio programme with the ever excellent Richard Blanco with a panel of people talking about landlord tenant relations.
Me as the token bad guy enforcement officer, a tenant and the CEO of a letting agency AND the ever excellent and well balanced Mary Latham, scrubber extraordinaire. (Mary will understand the joke)
Get me away from the crooks, people traffickers and scammers that make up my daily round and I’m not anti-landlord at all overall and I acknowledge that there are some mad tenants out there as well.
A clean argument
Evidenced this week by this strange story of a tenant who admitted a mad, frenzied knife attack on a landlord in an argument over cleanliness, in which he was stabbed to death.
Mary Latham spoke eloquently on the radio prog about different standards of cleanliness and the need for a landlord to stand back on the issue if sanity is to be retained.
The article tells us:
Detective Inspector Mark Cullimore, of Sussex Police, said in a statement: “This is a tragic case where a man has lost his life over an argument over cleanliness of the house.”
Hate on principle?
Not making light of the poor man’s murder whatsoever and I was struck, not for the first time, about the parlous situation that exists between landlords and tenants and their often hatred of each other on principle.
The rental system in this country is broken and serves nobody. I don’t hate the individuals, I hate the system that supports the inequality, which is what Donald Trump’s supporters seem to be saying.
The French winter eviction amnesty
But I was reading last week an informative article on the rental system in France which introduced a winter amnesty of no evictions allowed by law from November to the end of March
Leading me to ponder on whether or not people working in council homelessness units don’t get laid off and forced to work as elves in Santa’s grottos until the warmer weather restores them to their place as human spittoons.
Now if that seems like a renter’s paradise, balance this off with the knowledge that the possession orders and bailiff’s warrants are still stacking up during this period and come April 1st there is a mass eviction party predicted to be enjoyed by as many as 40,000.
Followed by mass eviction April
France has had its own street protests about rising rents and homelessness and this strange rule that is meant to keep people off the streets, only to see them all going out en masse come April Fool’s Day.
One critic of the policy says:
“But the state has chosen to increase, harden and ignore associative demands including that of a moratorium, continuing a grotesque policy.”
Only the French could protest by saying “A moratorium, continuing a grotesque policy”. How articulate is that?
The same article tells us that similar amnesties are in place in the USA but only from December 18 to January 2nd and imposed in Cook County by local Sherriff Tom Dart who, during the financial crash of 2008 found himself assisting illegal evictions and has no desire to do it again.
Mind you with Trump now in charge god only knows what housing polices he will introduce, especially given he made his fake millions in real estate.
Buy you go
It will be interesting to see what this much heralded “Buy as you go scheme” pans out in the chancellor’s autumn statement
The article talks of buying after 25 years renting. I presumed this is for social tenants but the piece doesn’t seem to rule out PRS tenants. Having said that, how many tenants stay in a PRS property for 25 years when there are ASTs around?
So we’ll have to wait and see how it supposed to work.
And finally, returning to
What made me smile this week,
This statement in the same Observer article listed above by Theresa May:
“May said her government would be “driven” by the interests of the “just managing … working around the clock” and yet finding life “a struggle”.
Hahahahaha if you believe that you’ll believe anything.
A cop who I was raiding a property with recently told me that he was once doing protection duty on May in thick snow at a time when Police were seeking a pay rise and one of his colleagues urinated “10%” in the snow on the bonnet of her car.
She was less than amused.
Glad to see people can still maintain a sense of humour, we’re al gonna need it in these surreal times.
See ya next week.