Back seat driver?….Never!
I suffer from that peculiar man disease of being adamant that I can read maps and know at all times exactly where I am, shouting down my partner patiently sitting in the passenger seat whilst getting completely lost.
And it doesn’t stop there
This arrogance also stretches to in-car GPS systems, who I refuse to believe if it contradicts what my super senses are telling.
Hence the ironic nickname I was once given by a girlfriend, “Marco Polo” and why it took me an hour and a half last Wednesday to get from Birmingham City Centre to Solihull, about 5 miles away despite my TomTom virtually shouting at me.
Only the truly deluded can drive past Edgbaston Cricket ground 3 times saying “Oh that looks familiar” and not get the message.
The return of rent controls?
I was doing an EHOs conference in Brum with David Smith from Antony Gold and the RLA when he whispered in my ear that Jeremy Corbyn had announced that Labour would be looking at rent control. David had been pulled out of the conference to comment on Radio 4.
Penny Anderson wrote the first piece I read on it for the Guardian in which she yelled aloud “Thank Christ”.
“We need rent controls, and we need them quickly. Imagine the loud and joyous carolling across the land when it actually happens.”
Penny offers up several reasons why and also states that unlike Chicken Little the sky won’t necessarily fall.
No disrespect to Penny but I would have expected her to say just that, the same way I would also expect me old mucka and property investment specialist David Lawrenson over on Lettings Focus to say the opposite.
“But Mr. Corbyn does not need to go back to research the old days of rent control – which spawned the career of notorious criminals-as-landlords such as Peter Rachman in London. “
Despite being on opposite sides of the fence David and I actually get on well. I’ve even presented at a few of his landlord investment events and spoke to him a couple of weeks back but I’m not convinced about the Rachman analogy there, or the comparison with the general housing situation of the past.
Not much has changed
I don’t know what the situation was with rent control in the late 50s and early 60s when cuddly Uncle Pete was plying his trade but I do know there were loads of migrants coming into London that other people wouldn’t rent to, which is exactly the same situation as now, in fact, the problem for migrants is even enshrined in legislation through the right to rent.
Also, people oppose rent control precisely because it makes being a landlord less financially attractive, whereas a free for all does exactly the opposite and attracts organised criminals into the field in order to make a killing, in the same way as Deadwood and Tombstone of the 1870s. A lot of money to be made and nobody to stop you.
We had more social housing back then
Back in the days of rent control, there was also a large social housing sector. When I worked in night shelters we were virtually giving flats away to street drinkers who spent their DHSS grant for white goods on booze and went back on the street.
In response to Corbyn’s announcement, the Tory Communities Secretary Sajid Javid kicked off their conference announcing that private tenants will be given rights to crack down on rogue landlords and agents
“The Government will also bring in new laws requiring all letting agents to be registered, ending current rules that allow people to operate in the role without qualifications or professional oversight.”
Tory Government wanting regulations?
About 3 years ago I recall Cameron responding to calls to regulate letting agents as a distraint on trade in a free market that wasn’t going to happen, now the Tory government are openly referring to giving renters more “Power to challenge rip-off fees”.
So at what point did the benefits of a free market economy morph into a rip-off?
When you realised voters were swinging the other way perhaps?
As Groucho Marx once said:-
“These are my values. I hold to them firmly. If you don’t like them I have others”.
Javid added for the crowd:-
“Everyone has a right to feel safe and secure in their own homes and we will make sure they do.”
Well thanks, Numb-nuts, enforcement officers have been doing this work for decades without your help actually.
The sweaty one shouted in outrage:-
“For too long, tenants have felt unable to resolve the issues they’ve faced, be it insecure tenure, unfair letting agents’ fees or poor treatment by their landlord with little to no means of redress. We’re going to change that.”
Suddenly the Conservatives are on the side of tenants. Forgive me if I’m a little cynical.
Does this mean they will all be voting for Karen Buck’s Bill at the second reading?, ably outlined on Nearly Legal
First time out it was talked out of time by a couple of landlord Tory MPs and the second attempt was voted down twice when attempts were made to jemmy it into the Housing and Planning Bill and lets not forget what it is, a simple call to make it illegal to rent out properties that aren’t fit for human habitation.
Is that so radical or onerous?
Lets hope, post-Grenfell and now that the Tories are all for the people, that they will champion the Bill and wave flags in support of renters everywhere.
A fitness for human habitation rule would prevent people like Gerry Fitzgerald from creating shanty towns in his back garden.
Mr F, a neighbour of Arsene Wenger, constructed a bunch of sheds to house 120 Eastern European migrants, netting him around £40,000 a month in rent to add to his construction business millions.
The reporter spoke to some of the residents and were told that if anyone complained they were immediately evicted. Understandably people shut up.
So let’s hope, now that we have a shiny new, tenant-friendly government that this sort of thing will never happen again.
What made me smile this week.
Two things actually, purchasing a knife sharpener that actually works and that has allowed me to rescue several old kitchen knives from the scrap heap.
And discovering the excellent Buckwheat Zydeco a fantastic blend of funk, gospel and Zydeco that has somehow missed my radar for about 40 years.
See ya in a fortnight…..
For the start of my last 3 Newsrounds, after which you can all relax at my often cheeky landlord taunting political rants