Agent responsible for PMQs UC eviction letter meeting PM’s Policy Board Chairman and Shadow Housing Minister

by Luke P

4 weeks ago

Agent responsible for PMQs UC eviction letter meeting PM’s Policy Board Chairman and Shadow Housing Minister

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Agent responsible for PMQs UC eviction letter meeting PM’s Policy Board Chairman and Shadow Housing Minister

I am the agent responsible for the letter warning my tenants of the impending Universal Credit that was coupled with their s.21 notice and a reminder that if rent is not paid on time then I will have no option but to evict, that was read out by Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs last Wednesday.

I, along with a handful of other industry figures, already had a private lunch with George Freeman, MP (Chair of the PM’s Policy Board) arranged for this week, but now he has requested a separate one-on-one discussion either before or afterwards to discuss UC further. I probably only have a 10-minute window to get across any points and was hoping for some suggestions.

I will also be meeting with Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister – Melanie Onn, MP- (the individual that passed the letter to JC) the following day. That meeting will likely be slightly longer, although I expect will be the more difficult one because she appears to be firmly of the opinion that I am ‘circumventing the law’ by issuing s.21 and even if I am not technically, I shouldn’t be able to issue notice ‘ahead of time’.

Essentially, people matter more than any business and it should be as difficult as possible for LLs to evict, because it’s not nice to be evicted when UC delays are not the claimants’ fault and because of humanity.

I have literally no idea how to tackle this logic. If it is suggested that s.21 be removed as an option, then I will be informing her of my inability to vote Labour as well as my exiting from the industry.

I don’t believe she understands the concept of free-market capitalism, nor the concept of free-choice. I am not in this industry and do not work 60hrs a week, on-call 24/7 providing 350+ homes as the second largest provider of PRS property to benefit claimants purely to be a helpful humanitarian.

I don’t believe her opinion is helped by the fact that at the age of seventeen Onn was supported by Doorstep, a Grimsby-based charity which provides housing support to young people. I’m unsure what lead to the circumstances of her requiring that support, but imagine it had something to do with a LL that is now clouding her view.

Suggestions welcome.

Comments

Steven Burman

4 weeks ago

Hi, the attitude of Melanie Onn does not surprise me. I had a similar response from Siobhain McDonagh when I raised the issue of section 24 with her. The attitude of the entire Labour party is that private landlords exist for the benefit of every benefit claimant with a sob story whether it is justified or not. Corbyn, McDonagh, Onn and the rest of their delusional 'comrades' are so far detached from reality that it would be commical if it weren't so serious. I find it incredible that these people have suddenly become 'electable' - the problem is that the Tories seem hell-bent on making a laughing stock of themselves!
I do not even consider 'DSS' applicants and I know many other PRS landlords feel the same. There is good reason for this and UC is giving greater justification for this approach,
Good luck with getting the point across! Unfortunately, I don't think any politician, with the possible exception of Iain Duncan-Smith, is willing to listen.
Actions will always speak louder than words where politicians are concerned.

Richard Mann

4 weeks ago

First point should be that in a time of families struggling to find suitable LONG TERM homes investment in the area is to perpetuated and not stifled by section 24.
LLs provide the safety support system that underlies all Council housing policies i.e. to provide a home for people who choose not to buy.
Support the PRS not bear down and crush it.
Which party wants to put up their hands and agree wholeheartedly with the torrent of ill thought policy instigated by the sacked Ex Chancellor Gideon Osbourne?

Ian Narbeth

4 weeks ago

Hi Luke
Threatening not to vote Labour or to quit the industry won't win any arguments. I would not bother making those points.
I would make a number of points to the politicians:
1. Landlords are involuntary creditors. In nearly every other area of life, if the buyer can't or won't pay they don't receive the service. Try getting credit from a supermarket for groceries. Try asking, no demanding, that any other creditor continues to extend credit after you have failed to pay in accordance with agreed terms. Apart perhaps from utility companies, it's only landlords who have to wait months to bring the relationship to an end and they may lose thousands of pounds (not a few hundred as the utility companies do). I know from personal experience.
2. Ask if there is a reason why landlords should have to bear the cost of their tenants' inability to pay. If there is not, then why do the politicians support a system that makes landlord bear that cost?
3. Explain that by not paying UC/Housing Benefit direct to landlords, the Government has made recipients of benefits too dangerous for private sector landlords to deal with. A minority, but a significant minority, of UC tenants fail to pass on the money for housing to the landlord. Not receiving the rent may cause severe hardship to a landlord and mean they cannot service their mortgage/pay themselves money to live off. Couple that with a court system that is slow, littered with booby traps for landlords and which appears to many to be biased against landlords and the Government should not be surprised landlord don't want UC tenants under any circumstances. The risk is too great.
4. Unless the Housing Associations house these tenants they will be made homeless and there will be greater burdens thrown on the public purse. It is crazy for councils to be paying for B&B accommodation whilst at the same time working against landlords who could help.
5. The system rewards bad and irresponsible behaviour by tenants. Whilst minor breaches by landlords are punishable by heavy fines and imprisonment, serious breaches of the lease and even criminal damage by tenants are ignored by the authorities. Charities such as Shelter and CAB and local councils encourage tenants to play the system and thereby hurt landlords, even if the tenant has squandered the housing money on lifestyle purchases. Do the politicians think that is fair?

Highly leveraged, highly motivated landlords are diced carrots, hit by a big unreasonable stick. The dice is cast and it is too late to wobble the table to get a better result.
I welcome agents getting involved into the argument. Where were you 2 years ago? Currently I am struggling with my mortgage broker who is also under the stick but without any voice of protest.
Chris.

Luke P

4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Chris Novice Shark Bait at 20/11/2017 - 13:34
I am a portfolio landlord with 100+ properties of my own as well as those I manage. I have been heavily involved for many more than two years, a patron of the Axe the Tenant Tax campaign and a founder member of the P118 Action Group/Landlord Union, chairman of my local landlords association and once or twice a year meet with various MPs/Ministers in Westminster. I'm not a 'late-to-the-party' agent.

Ian I will make some of the points you posted. The involuntary creditor part is particularly good and perhaps an angle that has not been considered before.

I do however fear that I may have begun the ending of s.21 in England.

dp1 Django

4 weeks ago

A simple (or simplistic!) answer would be for the council or central government to act as guarantor on the tenancies. Since they insist that the tenants should have the right to 'their own money' and can be trusted they should have no problem putting their money where their mouth is and signing as guarantor.

Luke P

4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by dp1 Django at 20/11/2017 - 13:49
Believe it or not, I am in the process of trying something like this with the LA. I do it with a neighbouring authority whose Young Persons Accommodation Team (for wayward 16-18 y/o) rent the property from me and then can house whomever they choose and it works beautifully. They provide the necessary support so that the house doesn't get trashed and the rent gets paid by the LA.

I have offered to help solve the local homeless problem by offering up my properties as they come empty, even adapting them to meet particular needs if necessary, as long as I can get an assurance that the property will be returned in a similar condition and the rent will be paid.

Dr Rosalind Beck

4 weeks ago

Hi Luke. Well done for securing these meetings. I also like Ian 's points. I would focus on the meeting with George Freeman. Labour may never get into power and their current policies against landlords are absurd. I don't think you'd lose much by taking quite a belligerent approach towards their far-left agenda with Melanie Onn - pointing out how it is the policies of the far-left - of which, ironically, Section 24 is one - which are so damaging to tenants. Section 24 is leading to rent increases and homelessness and an unwillingness to rent to the lowest paid and those on benefits. Local councils are aware of how much they need private landlords - those in central Government could learn a lot from observing what is happening on a local level. I would keep pushing to George Freeman that the single most useful thing they could do would be to reverse Section 24. They also need to sort out landlords getting direct payments of UC. The key point here is that the Government wants to encourage claimants to be more responsible with money but expects a third party - us - to take the risks of that. We all know arrears are going through the roof because of UC. The best of luck with your meetings.

Richard U

4 weeks ago

Firstly, well-done for getting this on the agenda. It's critical for the people affected by the system to have a voice.

I think you need to head off the S21 issue, if you are serious. The argument here is all about risk management.

If section 21 is not available the only possible result must be an increase in rents. Imagine a bank offering the same mortgage rate if the security was 5% rather than 30% - they wouldn't do it. Imagine an insurer offering the same premium if the excess was slashed in half - they wouldn't do it.

The same can be said for cash-flow issues caused by UC. If as a landlord you take more risk, you need a bigger security - this is either a deposit - or a rental increase. Can you imagine a supermarket not employing a security guard when theft increased from the store? And who would pay the wages? - inevitably it would be the consumer on their basket of goods. And the worst thing about this as always - the good pay for the bad.

I'd suggest the focus needs to be on UC turning tenants that you would otherwise love to have, from good into bad. It's that which is failing them - you are just another victim. After all, we all know stable paying tenants make for good business.

Dr Rosalind Beck

4 weeks ago

I would also point out how even under Section 21 it takes a minimum of 5 months but usually a lot longer to get someone out if they listen to advice from Shelter, CAB and local councils to ignore the possession order. I think it was in 2015 that private landlords lost £9 billion in rent arrears and damage and the amounts will be similar each year I assume. Whereas there are calls from ignoramuses to abolish Section 21, in fact it needs to be reviewed so that landlords can get non-paying tenants out more quickly. It would be good if Shelter et al could be prosecuted for advising tenants to ignore legal notices and/or lose any Government funding as a penalty for dowing this. It would also help if landlords were able to put the reason for eviction on the forms - the figures could then be collated on causes and this would stop idiots from calling it a 'no-fault eviction.' If they don't improve the system to mitigate landlords' losses, fewer and fewer will take on the riskier tenants at the bottom of the market.

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