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


by H B

9:53 AM, 11th February 2017, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Arnie Newington" at "10/02/2017 - 15:12":

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

I wouldn't be surprised if some of them had infiltrated organs of the state just to further their unjust and demented war against landlords.

by Denise G

19:19 PM, 11th February 2017, About 5 years ago

I e-mailed Gavin Barwell yesterday too. No response as yet

by Rod

20:02 PM, 11th February 2017, About 5 years ago

He should take a look "Nightmare Tenants' on tv as it's very true, I've been there!

by Chris @ Possession Friend

20:52 PM, 11th February 2017, About 5 years ago

I've emailed him a copy of Ros' letter, adding -
" The public has a right to expect more informed and educated comment from their Housing minister. "

by Michael Barnes

23:08 PM, 11th February 2017, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Dr Rosalind Beck" at "11/02/2017 - 09:24":

"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."

The following is a suggestion, but the numbers need to be checked (the summary is my attempt at 'succinct'; the preamble is to justify the summary):

Let us assume that the 1 in 5 statement is correct.
That is 400,000 landlords; that is a lot of people.
This will include those landlords with large numbers of let properties (50 to 200+); these are precisely those landlords for whom the tax increase will wipe out all profits; an average of 10 properties per affected landlord is probably an underestimate, but we will go with it.
That is 4 million properties affected.
Many of the properties will be occupied by families or be HMOs, whilst others will house a single person. An average of 2 people per property is probably an underestimate, but we will go with it.
That is 8 million people living in affected properties.
These landlords will need to increase rents to pay the tax or sell the properties to avoid bankruptcy; selling will in many/most cases require vacant possession.
HMOs will be non-viable for most people, so will be converted into flats for sale reducing the number of housing units available.
So 8 million (or more) people will fave rent rises or be evicted and have the expense of finding a new home.

The total housing units will fall as HMOs are converted to flats for sale; local authorities will be required to find accommodation for those displaced.
8 million plus tenants will be disrupted and face increased costs either by rent increase or finding a new home following eviction due to S24.
4 million plus properties will be affected by S24, potentially leading to localised property price crashes when they are sold.
400,000 landlords will be affected by S24, either bankrupted or forced to sell properties to avoid bankruptcy.

That is 8.4 million people financially disadvantaged by S24.

by Old Mrs Landlord

0:18 AM, 12th February 2017, About 5 years ago

Michael's conservative calculations show the dire effects on tenants and rental property availability if the "1 in 5" figure is accurate. However, there is more than anecdotal evidence that it's far from accurate. The NLA's extrapolation of research of their members reveals a figure of 440,000 landords pushed from the 20% to the 40% tax rate. That's more than 1 in 5 of the estimated two million landlords nationally before we even start to consider those who are already higher rate taxpayers and may be taxed to the point where all or more than all their profit disappears. These of course are the ones with the highest number of tenants. How have politicians got away with parroting this ridiculous "no effect on rents or rental availability" propaganda for the last eighteen months? It defies simple arithmetic. And how can the general public harbour such malice against landlords while all the research shows most tenants are happy with their homes and their landlords? Quite baffling.

by Jennifer Aniston

13:31 PM, 14th February 2017, About 5 years ago

Received a very unsatisfactory response to my letter from Barwell in which he asserted that we are all a little too thin skinned. Nice of him. I thought you may find my final response amusing. I'd love to think he read it but I suspect not.

"Dear Gav

Thank you for your response and your suggestions on how to cope with the current and continual onslaught on the private rental sector landlords, of which I am one. I will now begin the process of developing a thick skin. Your suggestion was most useful and gratefully received.

I will assume that, as a career politician, you have already developed a skin thicker than a crocodile's backside and won't mind if I return your kind gesture of a suggestion or two as to how you might manage your own future financial security. It's only fair I think and you can thank me later.

As I'm sure you already know, why wouldn't you? On 10th February Prime Minister May met with a career landlord and senior campaign supporter, Gill Alton who, laden with real facts, not the '1 in 5 landlords will be affected' kind of facts that have no basis in fact, but real facts of the type that can be verified by financial and housing industry experts and history (specifically Ireland, 2009) and had, what she describes as, a very productive meeting. She was met by a Theresa May that was very receptive to what she had to say and confirmed that she is now considering her position on the government's approach to private sector landlords. But, as I say, I'm sure you already know this.

Please rest assured my advice is not based on the collective opinion of politicians as ruthlessly ambitious machiavellian shapeshifters; as a private sector landlord, I am more than experienced in the frustrations of being publicly and unfairly maligned and misrepresented as a money grabbing heartless negotiator for the purposes of exploitation (one thick skin on order, thanks again). No, my advice is purely motherly and based on the fact that, in truth, I cannot resist a babyface and am keen to ensure that, in order for you to maximise your career potential in Prime Minister May's next cabinet re-shuffle, you prepare by broadening your reading on the housing subject and have a little bit more in your arsenal than a '1 in 5' quote and a couple of Shutterstock photographs of some Dickensian children living in squalor (which you can probably download for free from the Shelter website but don't tell them I told you). And to help you along the way I have attached a taster report for your consideration although it does include a rather impressive bibliography which will point you even further in the right direction. Although, if your computer is not able to open the attachment, Prime Minister May already has it so you could always ask her to share.

Thank YOU for your time. And good luck with your career. We are all watching with great interest........... through our fingers.............. with one eye shut.............. from behind the sofa.



by NewYorkie

13:47 PM, 14th February 2017, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Pamela Potter" at "14/02/2017 - 13:31":

Wonderful. He probably still lives with his parents! Although, of course, he will have a piéd a terre in one of the most expensive parts of London, at our expense, and which he will sell at vast profit when he leaves politics. He certainly won't want to turn it into a BTL!!

by Dr Rosalind Beck

13:58 PM, 14th February 2017, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Pamela Potter" at "14/02/2017 - 13:31":

Well done, Pamela. It all helps. Personally I don't think he is like the other politicians and I think he fully realises that the '1 in 5' stuff is nonsense. I think he is very uncomfortable with the kind of thing that comes easily to the other politicians (lying through their teeth etc.) That is why I think it is good to keep going on to him about it, to beat him into submission, so to speak. He must have had some influence in getting the Cabinet to shift away from the pure owner-occupier focus, and we now need to get him to shift further!
Re the calculations above, this has also been done by Gareth Wilson some time ago. Perhaps someone can put the link here so that everyone can see Gareth's thorough coverage of this aspect?

by Jennifer Aniston

14:12 PM, 14th February 2017, About 5 years ago

I didn't really write it expecting it to have any impact whatsoever, I don't know the first thing about Gavin Barwell but was in devilish mood and I thought being told to thicken my skin was more than a little insulting when the impact of this is so devastating to so many.

Keep up the good work everyone. Keep the pressure on!!

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