Ashford Council Bans Two Landlords For Asking Too Many Questions

Ashford Council Bans Two Landlords For Asking Too Many Questions

10:13 AM, 12th October 2016, About 6 years ago 10

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Ashford Council Bans Two Landlords For Asking Too Many Questions

Ashford Council has banned two people from meetings designed to encourage private landlords to provide housing for benefits tenants. Allegedly the two people were banned for asking too many probing questions, both are portfolio landlords.

The landlords will remain nameless but one of them told Property118 “The ban will not prevent us attending for we are made of sterner stuff.”

He went on to say ….

“I went to a landlords meeting in Swale (North Kent, Thames estuary area) last night where the local council patiently explained how the benefit cap was going to affect tenants. Trying to convince landlords to house capped families by saying that they would be able to find money for rent (on circa £385 per week?).  I do not have property in that area but a colleague who does told me that they are housing these families in bed and breakfast for the six week statutory maximum and then moving them to “permanent accommodation” for two weeks and immediately back into bed and breakfast for a further spell, and so on ad infinitum.  Universal Credit was brushed aside as only affecting a very few people.  A BIG problem is looming because of many ill conceived government policies.  Section 24 was not even mentioned as this did not affect the council.

In addition to all the bed and breakfast costs the council had a team of at least three just dealing with benefit tenants and the affects of the caps.  They were proud that they had managed to find ‘jobs’ for sixteen so that they could avoid the caps, they skirted round the question of what sort of jobs.”


Jon Pipllman

12:53 PM, 12th October 2016, About 6 years ago

I am expecting this to be a significant problem in other areas, not just Swale

The number of PRS properties available within the limits that the government is prepared to fund will, surely, decline

The bill for temporary accommodation is going to increase as will the number of 'workrounds' that councils will need to implement in order to keep qualifying people and preventing homelessness = on the streets

Repealing S24 wouldn't undo it now imo. The disconnect between state funding and market rates has already grown too large.

A significant number of people are going to end up spending a significant period of time in B&B type accommodation. Where that is families with kids, it is particularly unpleasant to contemplate, but it is going to happen.

However it plays out, it is going to be a blight on the lives of many for much longer than it should be.

What a mess.


13:02 PM, 12th October 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jon Pipllman" at "12/10/2016 - 12:53":

Too true

UC plus capped HB plus s.24 plus politicians vilifying LLs over how much HB is paid to them = perfect storm

The Governemnt has made its bed now..........................................

Unfortunately a lot of innocent people are going to suffer as a result.

Luke P

13:32 PM, 12th October 2016, About 6 years ago

My concern about this story is not the impacts of the subject matter so much (we all know what they're likely to be), but that Ashford LA is trying to ban those asking difficult pertinent questions.

Jon Pipllman

13:59 PM, 12th October 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Luke P" at "12/10/2016 - 13:32":

I would rather hear the council's side of the story before jumping to any conclusions on that personally.

Luke P

14:08 PM, 12th October 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jon Pipllman" at "12/10/2016 - 13:59":

I doubt they are likely to give that.

What I do know is that these two are portfolio landlords (thus likely to be reasonably informed), attended a meeting (demonstrating they like to keep up-to-date with issues) and using the knowledge that I have not heard a single person -landlord or otherwise- say how well a Council runs an area...particularly when it comes to housing.

I'm content that the bulk of the story is correct, the LA were trying to convince PRS landlords to take a risk (that many have already spotted and are actively avoiding), these two were pointing out the obvious (much to Ashford's annoyance) and so banned their attendance.

Denise G

16:32 PM, 12th October 2016, About 6 years ago

which Asford (Middlesex or Kent)?

Mick Roberts View Profile

8:34 AM, 13th October 2016, About 6 years ago

I just about got banned & not invited back a few years ago for similar thing, & I was actually asked to come to tell the HB staff & Landlords what WAS ACTUALLY happening in the real world with HB claims.
And the HB staff din't like 'my truth'.

Jonathan Clarke

10:36 AM, 13th October 2016, About 6 years ago

I can believe that . They don`t mind the odd gentle probe to show they are listening to their customers but try becoming too precise and revelatory about the true nature of the after shocks of their policies means you have to be shut down. Their power base starting point is that they are the parent / teacher and we are the child. They want us to ask searching questions like any good parent does but if you show you have a better handle on some subjects and enter criticism mode then they shut you down, ban you and tell you not to be cheeky and go to your bedroom . They are fearful of their own cosy `this is how we done it for years` status quo being dismantled by us the minions .

Their whole culture has to change in my view to become an equal collaborative one with landlords to make progress. But that will take a generation and even then only if they truly positively engage. There is no real signs of that with my council. Some individuals within are much better than others though. Some councils are much better than others. Change has to come from the top though.

I regularly have a constructive whinge and I`m sure I get put in the `too awkward` box. They eventually invited me to give evidence at a housing allocations meeting. It was a political bunfight between Tories / Labour / Lib Dems / Independants Councillors and paid Council Officers . Each had their own agenda trying to get the upper hand . I got them all snapping at each other. They always say they want to work with me but when push comes to shove they simply do not deliver. They said my evidence was very useful and would love to integrate me more and invite me back etc etc . It never happened . Half of them are no longer there, having resigned , ousted from power, moved jobs , moved councils or retired hurt.

I feel sorry for them though. They are under resourced and overworked. The government dictates the rules and they have to work with the impossible. The ones that work in the Homeless section cannot cope. They are battered and bruised themselves by the system and are so worn down and exhausted that they lose any enthusiasm they may have had once on appointment of making a constructive difference to peoples lives. They become embittered . The only one I found to have any spirit left was the minute taker, scribbling away. They have no axe to grind with anyone it seems and are very able peacemakers between the warring factions. I thought . I could do with a P.A. like that

Steven Burman

11:31 AM, 13th October 2016, About 6 years ago

For the PRS the reality of government policy has been obvious for some time, even prior to Osborne's ill-conceived, daylight robbery of private landlords. Unfortunately, Local Authorities continue to bury their heads in the sand in the hope that, if they ignore the issues, they will go away. They continue to be blindly loyal to their paymasters in Whitehall even though they are perfectly aware that choas looms! It is time for the PRS to recognise that, despite our best efforts to force common sense to prevail, the sh*t is going to hit the fan and we are going to cop the lot if we don't take cover!

It is no surprise that local authorities want us to house UC/HB tenants as they are clearly incapable of doing so themselves. This may well be a symptom of government policy but it is not the responsibility of the PRS to carry out the dirty work for local authorities. They need to stand up and be counted.

We have done our best to try to make central and local government see sense but to no avail. It is disgraceful that those who stand to lose the most are not landlords but our tenants with those on benefits likely to be hit the hardest. However, we are not to blame!!!

It is time for the PRS to baton down the hatches and wait for the inevitable choas to ensue. Only then will there be any chance of policy makers seeing sense (but don't hold your breath!).

money manager

8:45 AM, 15th October 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Steven Burman" at "13/10/2016 - 11:31":

"It is time for the PRS to baton down the hatches and wait for the inevitable choas to ensue.". Chaos will ensue when those providing such accomodation batten down the hatches, migrate their properties to private tenants, and pass the baton back to the Councils.

Otherwise, I agree.

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