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Ben Reeve Lewis Friday Newsround #264

A post from The Landlord Law Blog:

Ben on a chair[Ben Reeve Lewis has an identity issue …)

I do so much conference presentation and TV work these days and I get asked by the organisations I work for how I want them to list me.

Trouble is I don’t have a proper job and earn my living through a variety of nefarious ways but which all have some form of Housing law at their root, so I don’t really know what to say.

At dinner parties people say “So what do you do?” and all I can say is ‘Erm sort of housing stuff”.

A limp answer.

I do training for councils and housing association staff, I work as a consultant on housing policy issues, I crop up on government panels, I do freelance homelessness reviews for different councils and I even still ply my usual trade of raiding properties with Council Enforcement Officers and police, tracking down dangerous and illegal properties.

I think of myself as a housing activist but that always suggests that I attack branches of Foxtons with a brick or have a Father Ted moment, shouting “Down with dis sorta ting….careful now”.

But the bottom line is I have a passion for inequality and it works itself out in the realm of simply trying to save people’s homes.

My parents moved between home ownership and charity housing depending on the ebb and flow of their finances so I always have a soft spot for people struggling to keep a roof over their heads and the stories that catch my eye in the housing news reflects this.

The  Real Effects of Universal Credit

Which is why I was attracted to this youtube clip about the real effects of Universal Credit on people’s lives and abilities to keep their home.

This hated benefit adjustment ushered in by Iain Duncan-Smith, or as he has been called “The thinking woman’s lump of Sh*t” is devastating tenants.

Even that paragon of objective reporting, the BBC (NOT), have been on the case asking what the hell is going on, and this is in an environment where, also reported by the BBC that private landlords currently receive £9.3 billion in housing benefit.

Now IDS and his poisonous ilk have for the past few years been looking to chop the benefit bill because too much is being paid out to the feckless, lazy soap dodging scum and the work-shy, not to mention hideous Islamic, extremist nutbags, squatting the homes of world war 2 heroes.

I’m not anti-landlord at all. I know many fine human beings in the trade, Serena Burt come on down, Sandra Savage-Fisher, come on down, Arthur Klein come on down but it occurs to me that if the housing benefit bill is too high…..and it is, there are surely two ways to lower it.

Cut benefits or cap rents.

Forget the more complex arguments either way and just accept the very basic premise that this is an either/or argument at root.

Who do you side with?

Attacks on the already poor or the hardworking entrepreneurs just trying to make a living?

Each argument will take you in different directions, which will never be resolved, backed up as they are by endless statistics from a variety of left wing and right wing think tanks but all I know, from the aspect of my work that causes me to review homelessness decisions is the around 50% increase in homeless applications my local authority clients report over the past 12 months in homelessness applications that are driven by evictions of tenants under section 21 where the landlord doesn’t blame the tenants but instead excuses themselves because there are working tenants out there who can afford more….according to their friendly, neighbourhood letting agent.


Turning to Lake Como ..

Putting my righteous indignation aside lets break the mood and look at the property prospect of being a neighbour of George Clooney on Lake Como and the revelation that you too can live there for just £17,000 a year….if you live on a boat, which is roughly what I pay to rent a 1 bed flat in London.

So Lake Como it is. Morning George……Croissant? How’s the missus?

Why its shorter today

A shorter newsround this week as its late and I have to get up at 4am to raid 4 properties under warrants for a West London council where death trap conditions have been reported.

So if you are reading this piece early on Friday morning, spare a thought for me, nursing a Large Latte from Costa in a crappy, massively overcrowded and unlicensed HMO, trying to smooth the ruffled feathers of tenants woken up at the crack of doom by jack-booted council enforcement officers and police, attempting to record their complaints against their landlords, many of whom don’t even know their real name, then shooting off to conduct some homelessness review cases, adding to people’s misery.

What made me smile this week.

The prize winning joke of the Edinburgh festival “My dad celebrated my decision to apply for an organ donor card. I thought, there’s a man after my own heart”

See ya next week.

The post Ben Reeve Lewis Friday Newsround #264 appeared first on The Landlord Law Blog.

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Ben Reeve Lewis Friday Newsround #264


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