Letter to Gavin Barwell Housing Minister

Letter to Gavin Barwell Housing Minister

10:27 AM, 8th February 2017, About 5 years ago 57

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Dear Mr Barwell,Gavin

I noticed in your appearance on Newsnight last night that you said the main cause of homelessness was the ending of a private tenancy.

In fact, it is important to keep explaining to people who say this (you have clearly picked this up from the anti-landlord rhetoric of Shelter and the like) that:

1. The vast majority of private tenancies are ended by tenants

2. By far the main reason for landlords serving notice is breach of the tenancy agreement, notably by not paying the rent and by damaging the property.

If an employer sacks someone who has been stealing from them, is it the employer or the employee who is to blame for the latter’s actions?

Ditto landlords; we are not responsible for tenants whose behaviour leads them to be evicted. In fact, if you check the figures you will find that Housing Associations evict more than private landlords do and yet no mention is made of them ‘causing homelessness’ (a bizarre accusation to make of any housing provider).

I would appreciate it therefore if you can refrain from making this misleading statement again. You will appreciate how landlords were dreadfully scapegoated by George Osborne for the country’s housing shortage when, in fact, without us the housing shortage would be so much worse; if we hadn’t risked our own savings and used them as deposits and taken out BTL mortgages to fund the provision of new homes to rent and the conversion and rehabilitation of decrepit housing over the last few decades, things would have been a lot worse.

It is rather sickening to have none of our contribution recognised but instead to constantly have aspersions cast in our direction.

This has to stop.

Yours sincerely

Dr Rosalind Beck

 

It would be good if other readers could also write to Gavin Barwell.

His email address is:  gavin.barwell.mp@parliament.uk



Comments

by Adam Lawrence

9:34 AM, 9th February 2017, About 5 years ago

Excellent stuff, punchy and to the point. I can't believe in 2017 that the need for the PRS, government, CAB, Shelter, NLA (and property 118) to work TOGETHER is not being recognised. Pathetic.

Great work Dr Beck.

by Paul Temple

13:18 PM, 9th February 2017, About 5 years ago

Reading through all of the above I've realised we're trying to make our point using their rules. We need to get a bit asymmetric about this. My thoughts are still forming so forgive me if they're incomplete but I put the idea out there as others may be able to expand in ways not thought of by me.

All the people slating landlords are using the media to do so as they, in many senses, control it. But that’s the old way and we don’t have much voice there and can’t provide ‘evidence’ to back our case.

So, how about we use the modern method of getting the message out? You Tube is easy and free – every time you have to evict or take action against one of your tenants video the whole thing – do a narrative to your phone and show you inspecting the property, put your side of the argument as you’re about to go into court and then do another bit after the court’s decision, talk about the lengthy delays.

(Start taking video of a property the day you rent to a new tenant so that you can show the before/after shots; might also make the tenant think twice…)

Put it online and start putting links to it from Twitter, Facebook and any other element of social media you can think of. If you’re an online reader of a newspaper then make comments under one of the many ‘scum landlord’ articles and put links in there too.

Add the links to letters sent to MPs; use 'clickbait' tactics to get them to look at it "I would appreciate your thoughts on the incident that occurs at minute 3 and 10 seconds from the start of the video...".

Should we start a whole YouTube channel about what some tenants do to our property? Multiply the number of landlords by the number of incidents per year and even if we only capture 10% that will be one significant lump of evidence that can’t be ignored.

It’s unlikely to catch on immediately but over time…

by Layla .

18:56 PM, 9th February 2017, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Paul Temple" at "09/02/2017 - 13:18":

Thats a good idea, should I ever have a problem tenant I will do just that.

by Whiteskifreak Surrey

9:04 AM, 10th February 2017, About 5 years ago

by Rachel Hodge

9:11 AM, 10th February 2017, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Whiteskifreak Surrey" at "10/02/2017 - 09:04":

Excellent article.

by NewYorkie

14:48 PM, 10th February 2017, About 5 years ago

He's a child! I've just written to him under the heading:

Please, you must stop your constant and ill-informed, 'cookie-cutter' scapegoating of private sector landlords

Dear Mr Barwell,

I noted in your appearance on Newsnight last night that you said the main cause of homelessness was the ending of a private tenancy.

In fact, it is important to keep explaining to people who say this (you have clearly picked this up from the anti-landlord rhetoric of Shelter and the like) that:

1. The vast majority of private tenancies are ended by tenants;

2. By far the main reason for landlords serving notice is breach of the tenancy agreement, notably by not paying the rent and by damaging the property.

If an employer sacks someone who has been stealing from them, is it the employer or the employee who is to blame for the latter’s actions?

Likewise with landlords. If a tenant doesn't pay his/her rent, and I still have to pay my mortgage and significant other costs, now significantly exacerbated by s.24, I have the right under law to remediate the situation. Otherwise, I have to sell and the tenant is evicted with a black mark against their name, making it almost impossible to find future housing. Landlords are not responsible for tenants whose behaviour leads them to be evicted. In fact, if you check the figures, you will find that Housing Associations evict more than private landlords do, and yet no mention is made of them ‘causing homelessness’ (a bizarre accusation to make of any housing provider). Housing Associations are not exempt just because they are 'social'!
Therefore, I would appreciate it if you would inform your dialogue on this matter; you are the Housing Minister and should fully appreciate the implications of this, and refrain from making this misleading statement again.

You will appreciate how landlords were dreadfully scapegoated by George Osborne for the country’s housing shortage when, in fact, without us the housing shortage would be so much worse. If we hadn’t risked our own savings and used them as deposits, and taken out BTL mortgages to fund the provision of new homes to rent, and the conversion and rehabilitation of decrepit housing over the last few decades, things would have been a lot worse. Unfortunately, as a direct result of s.24, they are about to get a lot worse, and it will not affect only 1 in 5 landlords, as the political mantra goes.
Just as one small example, I had been providing a flat for rent in London since 2004, when I had to move for work and then bought somewhere bigger with my partner. My tenants included young Polish families, graduates just starting out on their careers, and professionals requiring accommodation as a result of having to move for work. But, because of the constant scapegoating from politicians such as yourself, and charities such as Shelter, and the worries about s.24, I recently sold up. Now, the apparent perceived wisdom is that the properties sold by landlords who can no longer continue, will allow first time buyers access to the housing ladder. No, it won't! My flat was bought by an older couple who had sold their family home, bought a place in the country, and wanted a London pied á terre. 2 bedrooms suddenly removed from the private rental sector in an area of huge demand! And if it hadn't gone to them, it would probably have been snapped up by one of the large Ltd housing companies with the buying power to deprive first time buyers, and who you have, irrationally, exempted from s.24. Or, it could have become a holiday let on airbnb, a major concern in London, which again, you have irrationally exempted from s.24.

It is rather sickening to have none of our contributions recognised, but instead to constantly have aspersions cast in our direction.

This has to stop!

Yours Sincerely,

Lou Valdini

by Arnie Newington

15:12 PM, 10th February 2017, About 5 years ago

Good letter Lou however if you give it a day then I am sure you will see someone on http://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/index.php?/forum/22-house-prices-and-the-economy/ comparing you to a serial killer or some other type of evil personified.

Unfortunately these posters warped view appears to be shared by the Treasury.

by Dr Rosalind Beck

16:17 PM, 10th February 2017, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Lou Valdini" at "10/02/2017 - 14:48":

Good work, Lou. Some nice additional points.

by Appalled Landlord

0:22 AM, 11th February 2017, About 5 years ago

I have sent the email below to Gavin Barwell, and copied in my MP and Liz Kendall MP.

Dear Mr Barwell

Even Shelter does not claim that landlords cause homelessness.

http://england.shelter.org.uk/campaigns_/why_we_campaign/tackling_homelessness/What_causes_homelessness

This is split into 3 sections. Shelter draws a distinction between what the causes are and what homeless people say they are::

Personal causes of homelessness
Structural causes of homelessness
Reasons given by homeless people for being homeless

Personal causes includes rent arrears

Structural causes includes housing policies and lack of affordable housing

Reasons given by homeless people include loss of an AST. But the real causes will be found in the first section, including rent arrears.

Kind regards

by Dr Rosalind Beck

9:24 AM, 11th February 2017, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Appalled Landlord" at "11/02/2017 - 00:22":

Great. AL. We need to ram this one home that the loss of an AST in the PRS is not the 'cause' of homelessness. I also think we need to work on a succinct statement against the 'only 1 in 5 landlords will be affected' argument as this is constantly churned out as a pseudo-justification.


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