11:26 AM, 30th January 2017, About 4 years ago 28
In an article for the Northamptonshire Telegraph Councillor James Burton was reported as below:
“The problem is one that has affected councils across the country, and Cllr James Burton (Con, All Saints) says it is not one members are taking lightly. He said: “Homelessness is happening throughout the country, not just in Kettering. It is a huge issue at the present time.
“I believe Kettering is coping and it is on the increase, there’s no doubt about that, but we have reasons for that. “We know what the reasons are and we are putting things in place hopefully to manage with that.”
Cllr Burton said one of the main reasons is people being evicted by private landlords. He added: “What they’re doing is getting people on a lower rate out and getting people on a higher rate in.”
“It’s all to do with business, but unfortunately it puts a strain because they’ve got nowhere else to go so they come to us.”
Click Here to read the full article
The Letter I wrote in response to this is copied here:
Dear Mr Burton.
It has been drawn to my attention that you have suggested that rising homelessness in Kettering is caused by private landlords evicting. Unfortunately, you have not given the reasons why this would be so. Because you have not done this, it implies that private landlords just like to evict, or as some people suggest, that we do so in order to replace tenants with others who can pay more, as we are greedy people. In fact, the main cause of landlords evicting up till now has been when tenants have broken their tenancy agreements, often by not paying the rent and/or damaging the properties. Most professional landlords like myself have never increased rents for tenants in situ or evicted good tenants who abide by their tenancy agreements.
You will also find, if you look into this more deeply, that the real causes of homelessness are things like drug or alcohol dependency; that is, homelessness is not ’caused’ by landlords, even if they have to evict tenants. To blame landlords for evicting tenants in breach of their agreements is rather like saying that it is an employer’s fault if she or he sacks someone who has stolen from them. This constitutes a kind of infantilisation of people and encourages the abrogation of their responsibilities for their own behaviour (and, as usual, the displacement of this responsibility onto landlords).
However, I will acknowledge that landlords are now in fact starting to evict tenants in order to raise rents; this is generally a new development as it has not been in our business interests to have unnecessary churn, which leads to voids, contrary to popular stereotype. Landlords are not, however, raising the rents in order to pocket the proceeds, but rather to pay the potentially infinite tax rates which will apply from April 2017. If you are not au fait with Section 24 of the Finance (no.2) Act 2015, I put the link here to my comprehensive report on it. You will find it enlightening and will see how this measure is going to prove catastrophic for levels on homelessness in this country.
Dr Rosalind Beck
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