Newsnight’s biased anti-landlord coverage!

Newsnight’s biased anti-landlord coverage!

14:28 PM, 8th February 2017, About 7 years ago 28

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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

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Dr Rosalind Beck

8:54 AM, 16th February 2017, About 7 years ago

I just received an email from the BBC asking me to let them know what the inaccuracies and bias consisted of. As I explained these fully in the letter to them I don't know why they are asking again. It seems inefficient (or possibly incompetent) that I should be asked to do this again. So what I have done is give them the link to the open letter here, suggesting that they can then also read comments from other affected parties. So if anyone has anything further to say about the Newsnight coverage, this is a good opportunity to do it.

Ha! And now I have received a 'failed delivery' message from the address they sent the email from... They don't make it easy. I now have to send it via their contact form and the last time I did that it wasn't allowing me to save the text within the relevant box. Are they perchance trying to subvert their own complaints system? If anyone has an email address for them that works can they give it to me as I will lose the will to live if I have to go via the contact form again.

Richard Mann

9:25 AM, 16th February 2017, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Dr Rosalind Beck" at "16/02/2017 - 08:54":


Call the BBC directly by phone in support of your letter.
0207 743 8000
Used to be the number.
Tell them you wish to log a complaint.
It gets recorded against the programme.

They take complaints pretty seriously because even if one complaint gets recorded it is reflective of a percentage of population.
So 100 complaints could well be representative as 100,000 viewers for example.
They know that a vast majority of viewers will not call in.
So, when someone does it could well be that thousands have the same opinion.

Lodge a complaint against the programme.
And follow through with your email.
Hope this helps

Dr Rosalind Beck

10:06 AM, 16th February 2017, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Richard Mann" at "16/02/2017 - 09:25":

Thanks, Richard. Will do. And obviously if any others can also do this that would be great.

Dr Rosalind Beck

13:06 PM, 16th February 2017, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Richard Mann" at "16/02/2017 - 09:25":

Hi Richard and others. The BBC are making it ridiculously difficult to make a complaint. The number you gave Richard is no longer in operation so I googled it and found this number: 0370 010 0222
It is an automated service and tells you not to leave personal data as it is just for 'comment' although on the internet it states it is for 'complaints.' I have left my email address and asked that they give me a functioning email address for my complaint, adding the reference of my complaint. It's like pulling teeth.

Richard Mann

21:03 PM, 16th February 2017, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Dr Rosalind Beck" at "16/02/2017 - 13:06":

Oh Rosalind, I'm sorry to hear this.
The procedure should of course be very accessible and straightforward after all this is " service " provided on behalf of the public. To inform and educate I believe was there MO
I haven't seen this programme yet
I'll see if I can find it in due course and try to contact the programme producers via the complaints system procedure
Thank you Rosalind as always

bhrat Kapur

16:53 PM, 28th March 2017, About 7 years ago

Hello Dr Rosalind Beck

Sorry to disturb you.

I had contacted the european competition commission in regards to Clause 24 as it gives an unfair tax advantage to corporate landlords and hurts individual landlords badly.

They have come back to be after almost a year and I wanted your help in taking this application further. Please can you send me your contact details.

I have already forwarded them “The ROS Report” but I think the case is at critical point and it can help our cause.

I have sent similar emails to others (chris cooper and steve bolten) and waiting their response on this.

I can be reached at

Bhrat Kapur

Dr Rosalind Beck

17:21 PM, 28th March 2017, About 7 years ago

Hi Bhrat. I sent you an email earlier today, but you may not have seen it. I've been in touch with Chris and he said that he has sent a response to the letter you received. I have seen the letter sent - it clearly points out how the EC has not understood the complaint properly and it explains the truth of the matter. Fingers crossed and well done for your efforts. Landlords across the country will be grateful to you for this. All the best.


21:36 PM, 28th March 2017, About 7 years ago

I think that your complaint is worth pursuing. Is it currently live with the BBC or pending your response to clarify the "what the inaccuracies and bias consisted of"?

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