Newsnight’s biased anti-landlord coverage!

Newsnight’s biased anti-landlord coverage!

14:28 PM, 8th February 2017, About 6 years ago 28

Text Size

newsnightTo whom it may concern.

I watched your programme last night and must point out firstly an error that was made.

In the introduction to the film shown, Emily Maitlis stated: “in this next film we meet three individuals, each kicked out of their private lodging when things got tough…”

In addition to the unprofessional and inflammatory language (‘kicked out’), in fact the first ‘individual’ profiled had been evicted by a Housing Association after her partner went to prison. So she was not evicted by a private landlord at all; she was evicted from ‘social housing’. The euphemism ‘things got tough’ is also highly unsatisfactory as it hides much more than it reveals. I will unpick what this is really likely to have meant below.

The reason that it is important to not allow things like this to go unchallenged is that every opportunity seems to be taken at the moment to scapegoat landlords and even blame them for homelessness – and this vilification of landlords has led to highly destructive attacks on the sector which are going to exacerbate the housing crisis (I can give you reams of information on this if you require – in fact, I will paste the link to my report on this below).

I have written to Gavin Barwell, as his comments were also very misleading. My letter has been published as an open letter (see below). I would like you to read it to see what was wrong with how both the producers and he misrepresented landlords and made the programme very partial and biased.

The producers were in fact guilty of some very lazy journalism – in that no-one asked the women tenants who featured in the film for the specific reasons for and details of their eviction.  Neither did anyone ask the Housing Associations and/or private landlords who had evicted them, why they had done so.  It is highly likely that they were evicted because of arrears and/or damages. That is the overwhelming reason for evictions both from the private and social sectors. The producers should have asked the private and social landlords for evidence – such as the court documents showing the arrears and damages (which usually run into thousands of pounds as it takes a minimum of 5 months, and often a lot longer, to evict anyone in the UK).

The fact that this was not mentioned made it look like the tenants were poor, blameless victims and once more aspersions were cast on the ‘nasty private landlords’ even when it was a Housing Association that evicted them!

Finally, it would also have been more balanced if you had had a representative of private landlords as aspersions were also cast by the panel of three tenants about the unaffordability of private rentals, with no-one giving the landlords’ viewpoint. They were also all from South London. Please get a more balanced profile in future. I thought Newsnight was supposed to be a national programme, not one purely relevant to South London.

Can you please follow this up as a complaint and let me know the views of the producers on this and how they will make amends. I suggest one way to go about this would be to have a long piece looking at private landlords’ viewpoints for a change.

Yours faithfully.

Dr Rosalind Beck


Today I launch my comprehensive report on Section 24 of the Finance (No. 2) Act 2015

Today I launch my comprehensive report on Section 24 of the Finance (No. 2) Act 2015


Today I launch my comprehensive report: Section 24 of the Finance (No. 2) Act 2015: “the unjust legislation that will make the UK housing crisis much worse.” I would like to thank all of those who have contributed to this report, which I hope will have a significant impact in our campaign to reverse this… Read more

Share This Article



14:20 PM, 9th February 2017, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Richard Mann" at "09/02/2017 - 11:07":

Amen to that! Without people like Dr Beck, Mark Alexander and Neil Patterson, we would be floundering in a sea of abuse, misinformation and outright skullduggery! I am so disillusioned with GB, the government, Brexit, taxes, charges etc etc - wish I was young enough to follow Mark to Malta! Happy days .........

Richard Mann

15:28 PM, 9th February 2017, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "CazT " at "09/02/2017 - 14:16":

I'm sure Mark would welcome you whatever your age with a glass of chilled something...
And btw ditto with all the other feelings you have about the state of the nation...

Gary Dully

2:44 AM, 10th February 2017, About 6 years ago

I was watching BBC 1, the 'This Week' programme and they said this weeks white paper on Housing is useless and placed private landlords as part of the problem again, and blamed the larger builders for land banking.

So that's just about all the folks that provide housing, well done the BBC,for not finding out the root causes.

What a bunch of lazy bastards!

2 million + landlords, should be able to get a few homes sorted, but they have declared war on us instead.

Dr Rosalind Beck

9:16 AM, 10th February 2017, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gary Dully" at "10/02/2017 - 02:44":

Yes, Gary, I accused Newsnight of 'lazy journalism.' But I would like to call them lazy bastards (which they are; you are right), but I have to keep it polite. That Liz Kendall (had to just look up her name) after Question Time last night repeated the same nonsense about homelessness being caused by tenants being 'kicked out' by private landlords. I didn't bother to rewind to get the exact wording. Idiot. I'm going to write to her now to put her straight using my letter to Barwell as the basis - the bit comparing an employer whose employee steals from him/her not being responsible for the fact the employee gets the sack. That particular phrase about us 'causing' homelessness. Yes, the people who provide housing cause homelessness. Even if we do kick out some waster, another tenant then moves in, so we don't add to the homelessness figures. We just try and get a decent tenant who pays the rent.

Dr Rosalind Beck

9:29 AM, 10th February 2017, About 6 years ago

Just sent this. In case anyone else wants to put her straight, the email address is:

It took me about 5 minutes to write, so it is worth doing I think.

Dear Liz
As a landlord campaigning against the Government's anti-landlord policies and as someone who is on the receiving end of countless criticisms from politicians and the media, most of which is so lacking in evidence that it is nothing short of scandalous, I would like to correct one point that you made when discussing the White Paper with Andrew Neil last night. Gavin Barwell made the same mistake on Newsnight this week, so to save time I will give you the link which explains why you should not be saying that private landlords cause homelessness. A point I did not make to Barwell, which I would like to add is that if I as a landlord evict someone (I only ever evict for non-payment of rent and/or damage to my property, but in reality it is always for non-payment of rent and I discover all the damage later), when I evict, I then re-house, so I don't add to the statistics of homelessness. Empty second homes might not get used, but I invariably have full occupancy on my properties, playing an important part in the provision of housing in this country. The link to my comments to Barwell is below. I hope that you will follow the same advice I gave him.
Yours sincerely
Dr Rosalind Beck

Letter to Gavin Barwell Housing Minister |

Letter to Gavin Barwell Housing Minister |
Property118 Forum for Private Landlords


11:00 AM, 11th February 2017, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "CazT " at "09/02/2017 - 14:20":

I am young enough to follow Mark overseas at the age of 71, although to Cyprus rather than Malta. Leaving on 10th March. Thanks G Osborn your tax take will be that little bit lower.


13:48 PM, 11th February 2017, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Bill Williams" at "11/02/2017 - 11:00":

Nice one Bill, lol and I am younger than you, but perhaps not as fit? I have spent my life moving from one country to another and finally settled back in the UK. If I had the benefit of a crystal ball back then, I would probably have stayed away!! Good luck in your new country and I sincerely hope all goes well for you. Nothing I like better than to see Georgie boy losing some tax!! ???


14:17 PM, 11th February 2017, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "CazT " at "11/02/2017 - 13:48":

Thanks for your response, also spent my life moving around the world as an engineer. I'm not particularly fit, Having had 2 heart attacks since age 47 and major surgery over the years, also diabetic amongst other problems. However health care in Cyprus and Malta is covered by the NHS. Just submit the right forms.

Dr Rosalind Beck

16:03 PM, 11th February 2017, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Bill Williams" at "11/02/2017 - 14:17":

Ha! the Exchequer is going to miss out on millions - the savings on CGT will be enormous for many who move away. They didn't put that into their calculations (idiots!)


13:35 PM, 15th February 2017, About 6 years ago

I've just watched this and yes it does have a very left wing BBC bias.

But I think the crux of the problem is that the welfare state is always going to fail when people abuse it and until we accept this then there is no solution. Surely the welfare state is entitled to expect people to try and help themselves in order to mitigate their hardship. Everyone there contributed to their housing situation. My views on the examples shown are ....

Yes going to prison is going to jeopardise your employment prospects, your income prospects and ultimately your housing situation. It's meant to be a punishment for the offender NOT a punishment for the tax payer. Don't be a criminal or marry one.

Yes single parent families are going to have about half the income of a 2 person family. It's simple maths and nothing to do with entitlement or any other left wing crap.

Living with an unsuitable overcrowded housing situation is not going to be helped by having another baby, Poor people can't afford expensive things. She said she'd lived there 3 years but had a new born baby.

A couple with no kids earning good money CAN afford to buy. They just need to drop their expectations and settle for something a little less posh. It's called economics / market forces.

It's a bit like an alcoholic wanting a new liver, a smoker with lung disease, or an obese person with joint problems. The welfare state needs them to help themselves before it can help them, they need to stop drinking, stop smoking, stop over eating. Poor people just need to work more and save more.

Getting on that first rung is always hard. In all countries and for all generations. You can always drop your expectations and work harder though if you want to. Or you can just moan. That teacher should come and live where I live. Not too trendy but less than 2 hours commute to London, you can buy for about £80k. That's easy for a couple on full time min wage doing a bit of overtime and with a couple of years savings behind them. But she expects to buy a place on her own without any saving and in the most expensive city in the world.

We need to stop molly coddling this new generation and toughen these little snowflakes up a little bit. Take responsibility and use common sense people.

Leave Comments

In order to post comments you will need to Sign In or Sign Up for a FREE Membership


Don't have an account? Sign Up

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now