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 Chris @ Possession Friend

16:52 PM, 14th February 2017, About 5 years ago

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

I think that's probably made my day. Well done.

by Ian Narbeth

10:07 AM, 22nd February 2017, About 5 years ago

I attended the "Fixing the Broken Housing Market" session with Gavin Barwell on Monday 20th. On the plus side he is working hard to tackle the housing crisis. On the minus side he trotted out the Gaulke line about unfair competition with first time buyers and that the OBR confirmed that only 1 in 5 landlords would be adversely affected. When I interrupted him on the last point he sheepishly acknowledged that the affected landlords had far more than one in five of the nations rental properties. He is also well aware of the problems of s24 but it is not his place to comment on tax policy. Mr Barwell said he was looking for allies and I made the point that for the next four years many landlords will be more concerned about whether their businesses will be destroyed than about helping the Government.

The lady sitting behind me, a left wing councillor gave a speech saying she had no sympathy for landlords and that making money out of peoples' homes was "immoral". I spoke to her afterwards and explained that for corporate landlords clause 24 made no difference. She was genuinely surprised when I told her that landlords could be taxed at over 100%. I got no more grief from her after a 30 second explanation.

I think landlords need to keep on at their MPs and their local councillors and to tell their friends what is going on. People need educating and they need to be told repeatedly that Clause 24 is going to do the opposite of what the "Tory" politicians claimed for it. It will lead to greater homelessness and increased rents and will make it even harder for young people to buy their first home. It will benefit nobody except the banks and large corporations.

by Whiteskifreak Surrey

10:39 AM, 22nd February 2017, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Narbeth" at "22/02/2017 - 10:07":

Thank you for the update, Ian.
I was looking for that in the other thread, Meet The Housing Minister.
It is a pity that he is still repeating Osborne's and Gauke's Mantras: 1 in 5; level playing field - which we all know is a nonsense.
I am going to write to my MP again, she has not been sympathetic so far.

by Dr Rosalind Beck

10:50 AM, 22nd February 2017, About 5 years ago

The 1 in 5 argument is in fact ridiculous - even if 'only' one in five of a distinctive group suffered a gross injustice, how can that be used as an argument in defence of its fairness? And if Barwell agrees that more tenants will be affected than that - does he think it is fair for 20% of landlords and 50 or 80% of tenants to suffer adverse consequences? Also, if they argue that the injustice is acceptable for 'the greater good,' then this is not the case as how can increased rents help first time buyers to save for a deposit? When they say that we are in competition with FTBs for the same homes, then they can be referred to the LSE report which pointed out that it is rare that landlords and FTBs are after the same properties.

by Tobias Nightingale

13:01 PM, 22nd February 2017, About 5 years ago

What I find somewhat comical is regarding business rates they are saying (I think) 80% will see no difference or possibly a cut in rates, sounds similar to their mantra of only 1/5 LL will be effected by clause 24.

by Whiteskifreak Surrey

13:38 PM, 22nd February 2017, About 5 years ago

Actually the government might even be somewhat correct:
80% of tenants will be affected by consequences of Section 24 (20% might not be).
Twisted 1:5 ratio.

by Mark Shine

21:13 PM, 22nd February 2017, About 5 years ago

Ian given that HMT & the govt controlled media are still so tight-lipped about it, I doubt the lady sitting behind you was the only person in the room not to have realised that S24 (combined with the reduction of corporate tax rate to 17% by 2021) actually incentivises corporate BTLers to substantially increase portfolio size.

by Dr Rosalind Beck

23:46 PM, 22nd February 2017, About 5 years ago

I am thinking about the fact that even Barwell is now hanging on for dear life to the 1 in 5 argument - a bit desperate I think and he will also know that as he's not thick.. I came across this quote which might be useful:

'“Of course, the aim of a constitutional democracy is to safeguard the rights of the minority and avoid the tyranny of the majority. (p. 102)”
― Cornel West, Race Matters

So the 'justification' of it not mattering if only a 'minority' of landlords are affected seems to contradict 'the main aim' of a constitutional democracy. Perhaps others can find other suitable quotes we can send him...

by Ian Narbeth

10:30 AM, 23rd February 2017, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Shine" at "22/02/2017 - 21:13":

My point exactly which is why I encourage landlords to spread the word about s24.

With respect, Rosalind, I think we need to be careful about sending Mr Barwell or other MPs quotes illustrating how daft they are. They are daft but nobody (least of all an MP) likes to have it pointed out.

Landlords should make the case that it is unfair that anyone - even if it is 1 in 5 thousand let alone 1 in 5 landlords - should potentially be subject to tax at over 100%. We must explain that the tax is already hurting the people it was designed to help, and that incorporation is a way to avoid it in the future. We should point out that the tax causes massive complications for individual landlords and requires them to spend money on fees to try to re-arrange their affairs. This sucks out money that could have been spent on improving the housing stock. The only people who may benefit are large corporate landlords and the banks who can increase their margins. Did the MPs realise that they were voting to support these groups and to hurt their own constituents who are tenants? Tel your Tory MP that you will call him or her out as untruthful at the next Election if he/she claims that the Conservatives are the party of low taxation.

by Dr Rosalind Beck

13:39 PM, 23rd February 2017, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Narbeth" at "23/02/2017 - 10:30":

Hi Ian.
Yes, what I'm really trying to do is find the philosophical objections to the concept of justifying an action by saying it only applies to 20% (or any other percentage) of a group. I think that line of reasoning would appeal to Barwell as I think he is a cut above the others. I want to hone in really precisely on exactly why this cannot be used as a defence of the Treasury policy and so am looking at finding quotes from any eminent sources which make this point lucidly.

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