30 Jun 2011

The shocking truth about Britain's housing crisis

I was 23, it was my first job – running a day centre for homeless and vulnerable teenagers underneath St Anne’s Church in London’s Soho. The New Horizon Youth Centre was an open door project, young people would wander in and out at will. I had lived a privileged life, what I saw of poverty and homelessness in London’s West End has informed my life ever since.

Yes, teenagers died in squats in those days. Many slept rough in theatre doorways. Others lived in substandard hostels, and still more were the victims of callous landlords.

Although I have remained engaged with the project in the years since, making Channel 4’s Dispatches – which goes out next Monday (8 July) at 8.00pm – has proved for me a shocking eye opener.

A homeless man sleeps outside a department store (Getty)Forty years after I gave up my job at New Horizon, I had no idea that such widespread abuse and exploitation still plays such a role in the private rented sector.

This month I have spent hours in flats and houses in which you would not leave a dog for an hour. I have smelt the dank fungi that leaches its way across the walls of a two-bedroom flat in Rochdale and wandered between rows of garden sheds to the West of London in which rafts of men live two, three, and four, to a shed. At night you hear the voices in the dark, see the chinks of light through the boards, hear the clank of cooking pots as they prepare supper at the end of a working day.

It perplexes me that society can be so consumed with the state of education and health provision in Britain, and yet turn so active a blind eye to the true state of where people actually live.

The housing charity Shelter estimates there is a shortage of a million homes in the UK. Shortages push better-off people further down the housing chain to squeeze the vulnerable out of the bottom onto the streets. Britain today has a housing crisis on a  level with that at the end of the Second World War and yet is building fewer homes than at any time since First World War.

Into this void have stepped the “Landlords from Hell” – the title of our Dispatches on Monday. It is a shocking and upsetting watch. But one I urge you to undertake. There is no register of landlords, no record kept of who is running all those buy-to-lets. Local authorities dare not inspect many establishment for fear that they will have to re-house those inside – they have nowhere to re-house anyone.

The Government’s own figures reveal that 40 per cent of ALL housing in the private sector is in “poor condition”.

And this is the 21st Century.

Watch Jon’s trail for Dispatches here – where you can also share you own housing horror stories with the programme.

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94 reader comments

  1. Saltaire Sam says:

    Great piece, Jon.

    If instead of invading other countries and maintaining useless nuclear weapons, the government invested in a bousebuilding blitz, it would not only create much needed jobs for builders etc, it would bring down the cost of renting. In the long term it would help the economy.

    But, of course, they won’t do it. After all, these are merely the people you step over when you come out of the opera.

    1. adrian clarke says:

      Saltaire i see you want to spend more tax payers money on house building.Perhaps it is the money we could save from cutting back on state pensions or perhaps you want the government to borrow more until we lose our credit rating because we can not repay our debt.Areas in Leeds that started building houses for rent(private) ripped off the private buyers and now those building works are stopped and in dispute.
      Would it help the economy?At what cost?
      If you want to get more affordable housing why not do away with the human rights act, remove the foreign nationals who have no right to be here except for that act.You would immediately free up thousands of houses for rent.
      As for invading other countries ,look who got us into Afghanistan and Iraq.Not that Cameron is any better over Libya.
      Getting rid of nuclear weapons is fair enough but the savings would only come in the distant future to an amount not yet committed and in a still uncertain world make us more vunerable to threats of those that have such weapons and that includes our European allies.

  2. nameless says:

    I have been a landlord and have seen my property deteriorate from a pleasant middle class home to little more than a scruffy in need of decorating and repair house in less than three years. The tenants in my experience do not look after the houses.Yet all mine came with recommendations and references. Neither do they clean in many instances.

    I have had experience of tenants absconding while owing back rent. Some landlords are ethical but not all tenants are.I now have to consider whether it is worth considering hiring a solicitor to try to claim back rent from someone who is probably not going to be able to pay. Or alternatively suing the management company for negligence.

    1. john dickinson says:

      i thougnt the landlords used part of the rent to
      maintian the property. after three years wear and tear routine maintenance is a nessesity

  3. margaret brandreth-jones says:

    Our age group is familiar with the song ‘ The streets of London ‘ but as you quite rightly comment it is a widespread problem which impacts globally.

    How can we bear to see children of 3&4 live on the streets, beg for food anywhere? How can we bear to see the homeless huddled under a bridge in cardboard under the snow? how can we turn a blind eye to the flute player sitting on a sack with his dog by the side ?How can we throw squatters out of supposedly uninhabitable accomodation onto the streest in ice to die of exposure? The answer is we can’t.This is where the landlords come in , but if we make it impossible for people to have rented rooms or houses which they can afford ( and remember there are many landlords who are too living on the bread line ) then more and more folks will be living on the street . There has to be sensible moderation.

    I myself at the age of 34 was thrown out of my middle class 5 bedroom detached house alone , without an income and with 2 children 5 and 6 and in debt. The debt was incurred by the actions of a collective of criminals .I had to pay the price and could not and cannot get justice
    It could have been me . 25 yrs later I remain traumatised

    1. Mmmm says:

      I’ve never seen children of 3&4 living rough on the streets of London.

    2. margaret brandreth-jones says:

      Another person who cannot see and read properly ” impacts globally”

    3. Gary says:

      Times are hard and if you do not have any means of support they are even harder. The mark of a person lies in their ability to weather these hardships. People who have never experienced hardship should frankly put up and shut up.

      I have myself been evicted from a property. I was fortunate to get a council run apartment. I have been in it for the past 15 years now so I have been lucky.

      The dearth of available council run houses is what is the major driving issue of this piece. Without available houses where are the low paid and unwaged supposed to live? Capitalistic ond corporate greed are what is to blame. Why do the councils need to sell of land and houses? Is it to pay for fatuituous council wages and bonuses? The public sector used to be lower waged than the private sector, but they had better remuneration in the form of pensions and job security. Why do they need to earn the same as the director of ICI now?

    4. Sharron Morrison says:

      You would be surprised by the age of people in London living on the streets. Poverty isn’t something that only happens in third world countries. It is happening here too. When people cannot afford to pay their bills and feed themselves, that is poverty!

  4. Robbie says:

    Fantastic post Jon. I’m glad someone is speaking up for the badly housed – you’re right, not enough people are outraged about the state of housing. I look forward to watching the Dispatches programme next week!

  5. adrian clarke says:

    If the figures are correct,and not just made up to appall the viewing public,then the statistics are horrendous.
    I must say in our area i haven’t seen it,though i dare say there are some rough sleepers.As for housing,who is to blame?Those that accept substandard conditions , the government or unscrupulous landlords.Maybe in the South, London in particular there is a lack of housing,but up here further north there is a scandalous waste of housing.I recently saw .driving through Mansfield a whole row of Victorian terraced houses boarded up and presumably waiting to be pulled down.I am sure that given a modest amount of monies they could be made habitable.I understand that if houses remain unoccupied for a fairly short length of time Councils now have the right to take them over and rent them out.
    If as you suggest private landlords are ripping off their tenants and failing to maintain standards then they are clearly in breach of regulations and should be prosecuted.If nothing is being done then the overseers of standards are clearly not carrying out the task they are there for .

    1. Mudplugger says:

      A well-placed finger-on-the-button there, Adrian.

      The ‘housing crisis’ owes its origins to the continuing obsession with a few major cities, especially London, to where people are drawn, despite its whole infrastructure being inadequate for the population volume.

      If government led the way by taking the work out to where the workers are, rather than always dragging the workers to the work, we would have a far better balanced nation, socially and economically. We would also optimise its key resources, while save vast amounts of time, money, congestion and pollution, from which all would benefit, including the polar bears !

      Instead, some idiot wants to build a big super-fast train set, so that they can get yet more folk into the magnetic South East just a few minutes quicker, while spending many untold billions in the process. It’s blind strategic madness.

    2. unnamed says:

      I assume by big super-fast train set, you are referring to ‘cross-rail’
      I commute into London everyday to work and it is soul destroying being squashed under the arm-pits of a stranger every morning. I can’t get work back home in Northern Ireland so I had to move to London – why aren’t there more jobs where the land is to build houses?

  6. Roger Titcombe says:

    Your normally astute bull**** detector is slipping.

    1. Public Sector pay and pensions are much higher than private sector.

    This is because the private sector contains far more minimum wage and part time jobs, huge numbers of which accrue no pension rights at all. A much higher proportion of public sector jobs involve people with higher level qualifications and where contributory pension schemes are universal. This is therefore a ridiculous comparison that I was suprised to hear you make.

    2. Public sector pensions are paid for by the taxpayer.

    Indeed they are. So are public sector salaries. What point is being made here?

    3. Public sector pensions are unaffordable.

    This is an actuarial question. Either a scheme is in balance over long term projections or it is not. The government is refusing to disclose the actuarial calculations. In the case of the teachers’ pension scheme, which was reviewed and settled between the government and the unions in 2007, it was agreed that on present predictions the reformed scheme was in actuarial balance. It was further agreed that if the predictions changed as a result of unforseen longevity or any other factor then teacher’s contributions would rise to bring the scheme back into balance.

    This is therefore not about increased costs to the taxpayer, but about an ideogical decision that the scheme is too generous; ie public sector workers deserve worse pensions that will cost less and will thus result in savings against the national deficit.

    4. Private sector pensions have been so degraded by employers raiding the pension pot, high charges for poor performance and hopelessly optimistic stock market projection as to be almost worthless, so if they shat on us then it is only fair that public sector workers should be shat on too so that we are all in it together.

    Is this a serious argument?

    Hoping for better coverage of this issue.

    1. Gary says:

      These are valid and very good points.

    2. margaret brandreth-jones says:

      Yousee the problem not only is the private sector , but the public sector employeers to quote you have been ” shat on”.

      Being one of the more highly qualified ex public sector employers who is being used and abused by both public and private sectors , i know a little about being stuck in the middle.

      It is generally a case of .yes you are right.. if I have been wronged and have had to forgoe my pension and public sector salaries then you should too. I must admit i feel this, having put a whole lifes work into the NHS , to be cheated by those who want to keep us down, whilst the youngsters wo have put very little into the sytem get the benefits .its called injustice

    3. Tom Wright says:

      By better I think you mean more favourable, not more accurate. The Fact Check Blog on this issue was nothing short of excellent.

    4. adrian clarke says:

      Roger whilst i agree with much of what you say,it obviously acknowledges that the public service personel ,paid by taxes are better paid than the private sector paid for by results and sales.Thogh the higher level of qualifications overall is ver debatable and i have seen no data to support the statement.
      As for contributary pensions the private sector worker makes a much higher percentage contribution.
      Gary far from being good points they are a corruption of facts
      The fact that public sector pensions and salary is very relevant when it is paid for by the private sector ,who you appear to suggest are of much less value than public sector workers.
      To base anything on 2007 when the Labour party was creaming the rewards of a rampant financial sector is preposterous and not comparable to 2011.
      The private sector pensions were not degraded by the employers but by GB with his tax theft of such pensions.

    5. margaret brandreth-jones says:

      I apologise; my ability to write in these boxes does not improve.Of course I was an employee in both public and private sectors and did not have those exhalted positions of being an amployer.

      Never the less there are those out there who have been working for NHS pts who have left at 55yrs with £72,000 and £15, 000 PA incomes, have not had to have the adaptability, of working everywhere and know a little about everything, have not taken the responsibility for their clinical management, being allowed the support of team members, have had 7-8 weeks hols / PA ,whilst there are many more like myself who have improved themselves, clinically, academically and have given service via the private sector using the public service employees to take a profit out of them, thereby rendering pensions to almost absolutely nothing.

      Perhaps having been in this position, the teachers and other public service employees will just think how lucky they are. As far as performance , dedication to the service and patients ,we have to compete to exist. I have done that excellently , but come out a pauper without staining anybody elses character and merely defending my own. This is the arena of service.

    6. Gary says:

      Roger. When I was working in the private sector for a large company that had recently floated and was hence worth lots. I was offered a pension; it was, to be quite honest, a rip off. I was told that I would need to pay almost a 3rd of my pre-tax salary towards it and the remainder would be topped up by the company which amounted to about a 1/4 of my take home salary. When you couple this with the cost of commuting and the cost of living at the time, albeit not as harsh as today. It amounted to a slap in the face by the pension & private company.
      Needless to say, the company got greedy and lost the contract, I was made redundant, and as the pension was a binding non-transferable one I would have lost out had I opted for it.
      Public pensions on the other hand are not subject to non-transferable status and when you change jobs you can take the pension with you.
      Most of the problems lie today in the way that the pension funds have been managed since the start of the 1980s. A statement that was made to a young neighbour of mine when asked if he wanted to start a pension was that he would need to save >£250,000 in the course of his lifetime. he only earns <£11,000, he couldn't afford it.

  7. Tom Wright says:

    The Housing Crisis has existed since the disestablishment of the monasteries and can be seen in the Elizabethan Poor Laws and the Victorian Workhouse. The current heightened state of the crisis has two main drivers:

    1. State funding of landlords via housing benefit. The Buy to Let sector should be dismantled via tax, first by a massive increase on stamp, and then by a similarly massive increase on the sale of BTL property. Its immoral. Private landlords are parasites, they are getting rich off the taxpayer, plundering the poor and inflating sale prices – they’ve effectively chopped off the first 8 rungs of the property ladder. They destroy disposable income – something we need critically for economic recovery – all our money goes on rent or the mortgage.

    2. The massive level of immigration – on every calculation unprecedented in size in our country’s history. I imagine this particular elephant in the room won’t be aired this evening for fear of CH4 being labelled as racist. Britain has more people per square mile than any other nation in Europe.

    Will your documentary look at causes along with the heart-rending pictures?

    1. adrian clarke says:

      Tom though i am not sure it is the total answer at the risk of being called racist , the first to be housed should be british nationals and i am afraid many foreign nationals should be deported and could be if we opted out of the human rights act.Not an act that protects British human rights but one that makes certain lawyers very rich,at our expense

    2. anniexf says:

      Tom, I couldn’t agree with you more. I’d be very interested to know how many private landlords in total are NOT indigenous English/British – my guess would be the majority – and what percentage of the Landlords From Hell are of foreign descent.
      You are right – it’s the subject no-one wants to tackle in case we offend people or fall foul of the Race Relations Act. I could relate personal experiences, but this is not the place; however I do feel strongly about this subject.

    3. gorgonchops says:

      Well said Tom….
      I`m surprised the “R” word as not been aimed at you….day in & out the problems within UK society seem to me to be directly linked to the uncontrolled mass immigration we have experienced these last few decades…
      We have allowed people into this country who have no loyalty,civic duty etc towards the indigenous people & in some cases they conspire to actually blow us up…
      So letting pregnant woman live in a slum,while charging a hefty rent is nothing to these people….
      our prisons,young offenders homes,hospitals,work places along with our housing stock are creaking under the weight of these people…..
      & in my opinion channel 4…BBC ..itv…et al
      have conspired to stay schtum for a quiet life….
      Well done chaps..now you can keep yourselves in work reporting on it !!..see you down Julies`
      nice work if you can get it!!!

  8. Patrick W says:

    Any chance of perhaps using something like this as a springboard for a properly regulated rental market? Proper regulation ought to bring rents down – kick out the “Buy To Let” people and release thousands of properties back onto the market for purchase. Make it so that rents compete on price with mortgage payments and you can use that to keep in check house prices.

    Yes tenants can be bad. Landlords can be rubbish too – and lets face it, a professional couple paying out twice per month than their home owning equivalents for a one bedroom flat are probably more financially stable than the mortgage payers – Yet according to the Credit Agencies Tenants aren’t worthy! Which is quite frankly, stupid.

    So regulate the rental market. Get rents down. Kick out Buy to Let’ers and perhaps even ban holiday homes. Because this country is too small and overcrowded to have houses sitting empty except for two weeks of the year. What’s more, it’s killing villages in Cumbria and the South West.

    Perhaps we ought to take the “Car” equation when pricing houses too. It’s because of the car and peoples easy ability to travel that prices are so high in rural areas. Not 30 years ago.

    1. Mudplugger says:

      Buy-To-Let is not inherently wrong, it’s just a means by which some ordinary folk have decided to become ‘landlords’. Some of them are very good landlords, some not so good, but that’s no different from other forms of ownership.

      Where Buy-To-Let created problems was because it encouraged private people to ride the property price boom without their understanding that all such booms end in a bust. The liberal availability of BTL mortgages fed that growth. Once interest rates start to rise, many BTL landlords will start to suffer and the whole house of cards may crumble.

      But rent regulation is not the answer – there’s no reason why housing should not be a standard market-place where supply and demand are matched organically. The flaw has been in the past decade when the Government willingly paid vastly over the odds in Housing Benefit – this fuelled rent-price rises which then all tenants had to pay, which itself fuelled the Buy-To-Let growth as more people saw an opportunity to profit from this distorted market.

      If the current governmnet sticks to its guns and caps Housing Benefit, within 2 years the market will have returned to reason, which benefits us all.

    2. Gary says:

      Mudplugger. If the rents are capped, how do the people pay for the extortionate rents that are being charged. The fair rent assessment has done little to nothing to regulate the rents of private landlords. It is they who are taking the money not the tenants. Bring back council housing, don’t sell them off to the unscrupulous landlords.

    3. Mudplugger says:

      Gary – what is capped is the maximum amount the state will pay in Housing Benefit. If the benefit recipient tenants then can’t pay the amount the landlord seeks, either they leave or he reduces the rent. But because all benefit tenents will have the same cap applied, and there are not enough non-benefit tenants available, then the landlord will have to accept less or see his property empty and earning him nothing. He will get the message – some cash is better than no cash.

      It’s a game of poker in which the previous government always blinked first, thus allowing landlords to charge pretty much whatever they wanted. The new government is holding a different hand and, if it resistes blinking, then real market-forces will bring rents down very quickly, not only for benefits tenants, but for everyone else. Game over.

    4. Gary says:

      I hear what you are saying, but when you factor in the cost of maintainence involved in renting out accomodation, the landlords will still be looking to make at least 100% profit on top. And thus ensure that the rents are kept artifically high.

      The fair rent assessments are now based on the housing market, which is held at an over the top level by estate agents and stupid lending practices by the banks.

      There needs to be a different criteria for the setting of rents.

      When the average family of 3 or 4 are renting and are on a low income, capping of the rents allowance that they receive whether they are working or on benefits will not help them. The availability of suitable & affordable housing is very small in relation to the number of families looking to rent especially when they are in no position to be able to buy.

  9. Will Tucker says:

    Thank Jon – really important issue and good to see that the passion you write with on homelessness in Shooting History hasn’t left.

    Does the report cover the wierd situation that council tennants have permenent tenancy even once they can afford to move into perfectly good private accomodation which means that homeless people and people in terrible private are excluded from good social housing?

    1. Gary says:

      Council tenants do not have permenent tenancies now. The tenancy expires when they leave or buy the property.

  10. Meg Howarth says:

    There’s no housing shortage, only housing injustice. Seems there are around 700,000 empty homes nationally at any one time – neither lived in nor rented out, which apparently equates to the numbers on waiting-lists. A major factor pricing residents out of London – where house prices are even a capitalist obscenity – is, according to a senior housing academic, corporate landlordism on a huge scale, making the average second (only) homeowner look like the small fry s/he is.

    The UK’s housing situation won’t be solved until we have a tax on land (LVT) and an end to multiple ownership. LVT will help reduce prices & end speculative land-/property-banking. It’s also the only fair & unavoidable tax there is – land can’t be hidden or off-shored. In Greece, LVT would make prob make cuts unnecessary.

    Am delighted to report, via Twitter, that homelessness charity Thames Reach has today expressed support for LVT & restriction on multiple ownership. Hope Shelter will do the same.

    House prices apparently increased by an average 400% under Blair (’98-08) but in one of my borough’s north London streets they’ve multiplied 12-fold since mid-80s.
    UK house-price inflation must end now. LVT can help

    1. adrian clarke says:

      Meg,if you own your own house you must be delighted with a 12 fold increase.If you rent i suspect the increase is nowhere near that.
      I support LVT ,not because it is the panacea you seem to expect but because it will stop much tax avoidance.It will make little difference to house owners or renters.Infact if it is not introduced correctly it could have an adverse affect on private rented property.House prices rose because we were living in a financial wonderland created by the bankers and GB.
      As for Greece i , probably like you have no idea as to land title.
      As for the suggested restriction on multiple ownership how does that in any way increase the homes for rent.The empty properties is a different matter as i have previously blogged

    2. Patrick says:

      I wonder if all those perfectly good Victorian Terraces blighted by Prescott’s “Pathfinder” scheme are still sitting empty in Birmingham and Manchester? Plenty of journalists and writers pointed out how these could be cheaply and easily refurbished for a quarter of the cost of “demolish and rebuild.” Last I heard, the whole project had stagnated leaving the houses to deteriorate further. A scandal really. It’s unfortunately the level of thinking and activity in Government housing policy. The biggest trouble with the Pathfinder project of course, being that it was no more than a back scratching exercise between the Government and Building Developers.

  11. Peter Stewert says:

    During my time in Edinburgh I was blessed with great landlords in buildings (while not perfect) that I was glad and encouraged to make in to some sort of a home. I don’t think landlords in the proper old Rigbsy fashion are the biggest problem.

    Almost every terrible story about housing I hear will contain the words “property management company” at the top of the sentence. There isn’t a home owner or tenant that hasn’t said those words ad not finished up talking with a head-shaking sigh.

    We need more liveable housing and that likely means (strangely) more regulation, to ensure housing is fit for people rather than being built to fit in as many people as possible per square inch (this ain’t Hong Kong). I’d like to also make the most of existing houses and buildings, because it’s cheaper than starting from scratch and because I just don’t like a good city going to waste one building at a time.

  12. FionaFirman says:

    One person comments on how badly tennants behave but I believe that to be nothing compared to the appalling behaviour of landlords. I have a reasonably paid job and live in good housing but I can only just afford this. Landlords demand thousands of pounds on advance fees for checking in and checking out and hold back deposit for anything. Working in the housing sector as a support officer I have seen some dire conditions where people are completely at the mercy of high rents for squalid homes. There is no other option as house prices are too high and housing association/council houses are to few. I wonder how a person like myself moves forward to take action?

  13. Philip says:

    By and large homeless people and those at the very bottom of the housing ladder don’t vote. So their needs have been ignored by politicians. Yet rotten housing contributes to a massive problem of under-achievement & social/economic stress which feeds into costs for the NHS, education, crime, soaring benefit payments. We need a holistic approach, largely locally-based, where public money isn’t distributed into little pots marked “health”, “education”, etc, but is available to pump-prime support for vulnerable people in ways that are most appropriate to them, ideally with local people being encouraged to help make it happen, rather than rely on the State bringing in people from outside to do it for them. But as this sort of approach doesn’t create good PR headlines, we’ll continue with grandiose schemes that get nowhere.

    1. Tom Wright says:

      Nonsense. The usual view on the bottom of the housing ladder is social housing, followed by rented housing. Since houses now cost stupid amounts of money, and first time buyers are getting older and older, the number of electors at the bottom is getting bigger every year. Soon it will be a majority – more than one generation unable to afford their own homes, stuck in high cost rental accommodation that leaves them needing housing benefit to survive.

      One upside of the recession of the early 90s was the housing crash. Sure prices have fallen in this recession – but not crashed. My house is still worth more than I paid for it 7 years ago: if this was ’92, I’d be lucky if it had 50% of the value – why? BUY TO LET – the propping up of house values via housing benefit, which is a massive social evil.

      Many bought second homes to rent out because they expected their private pensions would be worthless. So many in fact that the practise has artificially propped up the market. We need pension reform, not BTL.

  14. Ray Turner says:

    Exploitation is to be found wherever you look in the UK, not just in the housing sector.

    Look at the insurance industry for instance…
    And the Banking Industry.
    And the Legal profession.
    And the Energy industry.
    And the Telecoms industry.
    And HM Treasury…

    Its how the UK thinks these days. Wherever you look, somebody is finding ever more inventive ways of exploiting the population…

    I’ll make a point of watching your programme on Monday and maybe exchange tweets.

  15. Aaron Asphar says:

    A really humane article: I think we could write an equally pertinant one about the plight of our old today – over 50% of over 75s living in abject social isolation (76% of women over 75). For me the absolute negation of a few here is a complete inictment of the whole.

    1. Gary says:

      Be careful. The Governments’ next “Big Idea for the Big Society” for the elderly is “Compulsory Euthanasia” for those over 65, unless you have a personal worth in excess of £10Million.

      Orwellianism is just round the corner!

    2. Tom Wright says:

      In reply to Gary: in general, globally, it is ‘progressive’ parties that are in favour of euthanasia (they call it the right to die) and ‘conservative’ parties that are opposed.

      The elderly in the UK are abandoned not so much by the state as by their relatives. Their relatives abandon them because they have been encouraged to believe that the state is responsible for their care. We’d never, ever, countenance doing that with our children, why do we think differently for our parents?

      I, like many small ‘c’ conservatives will welcome the day when I take in my elderly relatives, look after then, and see to their care and dignity in old age. What will you do? I suspect you will blame the State.

    3. Aaron Asphar says:

      Tom, you ideot, why are relatives abandoning relatives? Have we suddenly spawned a generation of innately evil relatives or has the emotional-social cohesiveness of social life been butchered by social ‘progress’? Conservates with a small C have no C – no clue. But they consume allot of C – culture: for them its a psychotic discourse within which to hide from life. Everything stops at the superficial skin: the relative. They are being-thus-and-not-otherwise stupid, nothing to do with the vast social order within which the’re constituted to become – idiots.

    4. Gary says:

      Tom missed the point I made by a mile.

      If the retirement age is raised to 66 or 68 and “Forced Euthanasia” is btought in for people aged OVER 65. Think about it!!!.

      You pay for a state pension fund and are then unable to claim it!

  16. CWH says:

    I thought after the Rachman scandal all those years ago that legislation had been brought in to regulate the rented sector and landlords.

    If it is no longer protecting people then clearly it is time to revisit it and make it fit for purpose.

    1. Gary says:

      It was called the fair rent assessment system. Landlords have to prove the reason for the rent increases if they are above inflation levels.

      They get around it by charging extortionate rents in the first place then any rise in rent is pretty much accepable.

      I’ve had this happen to me, fortuneatly the courts sided with my case and the landlord was disbarred from running rented accomodation for someting like 2 years or so. They were forced to use a letting agency on all of their rental property. I don’t think they are letting any more. It was over a decade ago.

  17. geoffscameras says:

    I too agree that the behaviour of landlords is a major problem and one which needs looking into. Most tenants with a problem tend not to turn to their Local Authorities or even the Housing Ombudsman or other ‘system’ networks because it is simply a game which the tenant will lose in real terms as the offending Landlord will be gently punished with a blow from a feather duster because the Landlord is powerful and the tenant is not.

  18. Vanessa W. says:

    As a professional Landlady, I am totally shocked and disgusted at the LL’s featured in this article and at how unprofessional “Landlords” give respectable LL’s a bad name.

    I endeavour to provide my clients (tenants) with quality, comfortable, clean, and safe accommodation. All our houses are maintained and fitted out to high standards and repairs are attended to within 24 hours. I respect my tenants and serve them to my best ability. I do not buy any property that I would not consider living in myself – yes, I apply that personal benchmark to my business.

    As always, it’s the minority – both tenants and Landlords – who give others a bad name.

    A programme about “Landlords from Heaven” wouldn’t get any ratings though … ;)

  19. Aaron Asphar says:

    “As always, it’s the minority – both tenants and Landlords – who give others a bad name.” To be honest I think its disgusting that anyone should profit privately from the poorest sections of society for their most basic needs. It is barbarous I think. It is umbearable subjection for many tenants – from personal experience of my neighbours living in rental accomodation tenancy is frequently accompanied by depression and alcholism. This is the denied and repressed experiences that have no voice in the political or social debate. Indeed people feel compelled to hide such symptoms of social violence.

  20. Hampden Mitchell says:

    Vanessa, “Landlords from Heaven” would get top ratings in the USA.

  21. asif hussain says:

    how about ‘ tenants from hell ‘. i am a landlord and all my tenants, trash the houses, dont know how to use a dustbin, cant fill a simple housing benefits form, buy everything on credit, and then abscond to the next available property.

    1. Gary says:

      Aren’t you allowed to vet the tenants prior to exchanging contracts? (And I don’t mean neuter.)

    2. Meg Howarth says:

      Why are you a landlord, Asif? And how many houses do you ‘own’, or have mortgaged?

    3. J Mark Dodds says:

      Give up being a landlord, do some work for a living instead of exploiting people you have no respect for.

  22. Aaron Asphar says:

    Asif: the problem with your point is that you give one side of a dialectical problem: and that onesidedness is, if you ask me, the other side of the problem: a money grabbing greedy society that negates and denies the needs of the poor and then apprehends it only in its matured form which they then call ‘evil’, ‘wrong’, ‘inately bad’, as if such people burst out spontaniously from what was a far more cohesive society 50 years ago. Its the instrumentalist, egoistic psychology that dominates all political life through which they strip out the particularity of human experience and instead call it good or bad, but I say it was actual before it was good or bad and you need to understand that.

  23. mike says:

    It is a scandal that these private property management companies can rip off the government and charge huge rents for the less well off in society , the Rachman syndrome is alive and kicking in 2011 and in London . I know of a company who are raking it in treating their tenants like crap and leaving them to live in terrible conditions , the quicker there is a law passed to curtail these bandits the better , nobody should profit by causing misery to others!!

  24. J Mark Dodds says:

    Jon, you might like to look at what happens in the tied pub industry – everything you find in the domestic housing market is the same with pubs and the Landlords behave just as badly but, because it’s business, they always go for the tenant and bankrupt them.

    It’s why pubs are in the sorry state they are in all over the UK

  25. nameless says:

    Now we have a proposed benefits cap of 500 pounds a week. Thank goodness.

    Why should a family on benefits receive more than many working families? If living in an expensive rental area, then perhaps moving should be considered. A two bedroomed house can be rented for 70-80 pounds a week in some parts of England and they are reasonable homes. As for the illustrated example, I was shocked to see the number of pairs of shoes that this mother was able to afford. My children had one or two pairs of shoes at any one time plus boots and I was working.

    I wonder why she was permitted to stay on welfare.Volunteer work is not a substitute for wage earning. If she has time to volunteer she can work.

  26. Meg Howarth says:

    House-price inflation is bad for our country, Adrian. It makes homes unaffordable, particularly for the young and those on average wages (the vast majority). It’s in the interests only of the parasitic banks/mortgage lenders and the land-owning elite. Mrs T saw home-ownership not as the best way for human beings to find the shelter which, along with food, clothing – and love – is an essential precondition of every life but as a bulwark against ‘Bolshevism’ (her word).

    To be dazzled by the idea of bricks&mortar increasing in ‘value’ is to be blinded by fool’s gold. Some individuals may benefit financially, but the social/economic effects are disasterous: borrowing against the myth that property prices only rise has contributed to the financial bubble of recent years.

    I hope tonight’s Dispatches won’t distract from the UK’s underlying housing problem: an outlook which sees property as investment; multiple home-ownership; & the failure to tax unearned income through LVT (house-price inflation results from increased land prices, not those of bricks&mortar). Privileged land ownership has no place in any decent society.

    Pricing others out of decent housing demeans us all.

  27. adrian clarke says:

    Meg any inflation is bad for the country as it puts up costs.Yet that is the way of the world.You could say by the same thinking that Unions are bad for the country as they put up wages.Banks are certainly bad for the country as they lend money at extortionate rates to people who can ill afford it.Eggs are bad , red meat is bad .Living is dangerous.
    What life do you want Meg?One where the state rules us ,tells us what we can or can not do?
    Life ain’t easy but i’ve survived 67 years of it ,very happily on the whole.I do not crave material possessions,but i believe our representatives should govern according to our wishes not their own or so called consciences.I couldn’t care less whether i own or rent,as long as i have somewhere to live.
    It is time some sanity was bought back to living.
    Get rid of the EU ,much of health and safety,the human rights act,the compensation culture.Return illegals or foreign criminals to land of their origin.Lock up our own criminals , make prison a place no one wants to go.Execute murderers and we might have a better country to live in

  28. Meg Howarth says:

    ‘Why should a family on benefits receive more than many working families?’

    Many families on benefits are also working families, Nameless. It’s the extortionate levels of rent that push them on to benefits. NB no point in moving to cheaper housing areas if there’s no work available.

    Not surprised you’re confused as Grant Shapps and DWP are doing little or nothing to correct this myth. It suits their ideological agenda of bashing the less well-off while ignoring the tax avoidance/evasion antics of their friends and class-allies. Government currently planning to attract more mul-tinationals to UK by easing their tax conditions to the tune of £1bn: http://ind.pn/lJRv89. (Non-payment of tax is a large part of Greece’s current financial meltdown.)

    Divide and rule amongst the non-elite majority of the population is in the interests of governments only. We should avoid it if we want a better society for ourselves and our children. A good home for all is a basic human necessity, not a luxury.

    Adrian: re panacea for obscenity of UK house prices – have never suggested LVT tax on land is a panacea for anything, but the absence of same feeds and encourages the growing inequality gap.

  29. Gorgonchops says:

    Jon…back in july 2007 Panorama…”immigration…how we lost count”
    lifted the lid on the terrible conditions people were living in in west london…this is very old news son….perhaps you missed that edition…
    nevermind,highlighting it now can be very useful to bash the tories…I suppose “lifting the lid” now, is better late than never….please try & catch up….

  30. Patrick says:

    The biggest tragedy is that programmes like this are made every ten years or so, and very little changes. It never will either without the rental market being brought to book.

    1. Gary says:

      gotta agree with you on tnat one.

    2. gorgonchops says:

      Patrick….for all their concerned words & unblinking stares to camera these media types care not one iota….
      as you state, these stories raise there heads every 10 yrs…in this case, 4 years, they re hash these issues over & over again…..”hard hitting”…..”thought provoking”
      “disturbing images”….roll up!! roll up!!…
      The “phone hacking” debacle is just a thin end of a wedge that taints all self satisfied…careerist media types…along with our politicians & by all accounts, police…..
      what a grubby place we find ourselves in…..

  31. Aaron Goldsmith says:

    No surprise to see Channel 4 come up with more rubbish. Panorama and Dispatches have long since given up any pretence of being serious documentaries and are instead quite happy with their current role as dumb-down, blatantly sensationalist and one-sided left wing propoganda. I see this page is full of the usual muppets spouting semi-marxist bile about the evil land-owning elite and parasitic banks, frothing at the mouth.

    There are good tenants and bad tenants, just as there are good and bad landlords. There is great protection towards tenants, in fact its massively one-sided. As a country, we have a VERY small private rented sector compared to pretty much every other Western nation. In fact, in every country i’ve been in, renting is the preferred route and not from useless councils either – from the private sector. No hand wringing guilt trips there, this seems to beh a uniquely BRITISH hangup, along with the jealous, hatred and bitterness towards all entrepreneurial endeavour. Such a small minded negative nation we live in. Me? i am a landlord, i own nearly 200 properties, pay £100,000s in tax, and i create dozens of jobs. Probably the antichrist to you lot… ;-

    1. Aaron Asphar says:

      Dear Aaron Goldsmith. Let me tell you, dividing the actual between itself and “bad”, “negative”, and excising the latter, is to excize the half of reality that contributes to a mature and independent sense of the world. Those who habitually negate the “negative” as you do thus take off in egoistic abstraction from the real lives everyone else has to live. It is a painfully dissolute way of being my friend – I research psychoanalysis and critical theory and personally feel this dispossition, very much linked to this empty, compuslive, assimilative behaviour,is incompatable with happiness or a sense of a wholeness life. Indeed this is essential to drive the self-effacing strivings of an egoist. You are vulnerable always to the reality (negativit/nihilo) you run away from, which must include also your own self because it is after all your own experience, your life content, and therefore you become eternally haunted by the nihilo you left behind. The hollowness of its empty space is the emptiness that drives the pathological striving of the egoist. If you ever have to confront this nihilo, you confront yourself as this hollow egoist, this self running away from self: not nice.

    2. Saltaire Sam says:

      Aaron, you are not the anti-christ. Just a rather boastful chap who seems to think that because he has achieved some success that the rest of the world should sit back and applaud.

      But if you would stop polishing your halo for a little while, and tuck your smugness away in a bottom drawer for a bit, you might like to consider that not everyone shares your good fortune, some through lack of effort, some through lack of ability, some because that’s the cards life has dealt them.

      Of course there are bad tenants; and of course there are exemplary landlords – you might even be one.

      But you don’t have to be a left wing propagandist (a badge incidentally I wear with some pride) to look at last night’s programme and think that no one should be expected to live in the conditions that we saw.

      You may have grown up believing that the only thing that is important is than mine is bigger than yours – in your case, tax payment – but some of us think there are more important things in life and one of them is that the powerful should not exploit the weaker, which is what we saw last night.

  32. Aaron Goldsmith says:

    @ Meg Howarth
    “Mrs T saw home-ownership not as the best way for human beings to find the shelter which, along with food, clothing – and love – is an essential precondition of every life but as a bulwark against ‘Bolshevism’ (her word).”

    Yo may be surprised to know that the Right to Buy was a Labour idea that Maggie hijacked as she knew it was a vote winner.

    1. Meg Howarth says:

      Labour the party of the petty bourgeois property owner, so wouldn’t be at all surprised if RTB its idea. But evidence, please, to back your claim. Well-known that it supported/supports RTB but reckon many will be surprised to learn it introduced it.

      What’s your view of an LVT tax on land?

  33. mike says:

    Aaron Goldsmith , can’t all be like you can we , you do miss the point totally , this programme was about slum landlords and the suffering of people , lets hope you run your business in a proper manner , treating tenants with respect and paying your staff decent wages ? if that is the case ? then a sugar cube for you . Labour, Conservative ? does it really matter who did what?

    1. adrian clarke says:

      Mike you are right ,it doesnt really matter what ones political persuasion is ,except it does colour ones beliefs ,thoughts and actions.
      My own opinion is that the left tend to be envious of success and believe we should all be equal , though it is clearly unattainable.
      Yet in the search for so called equality they pass ridiculous legislation , that left wing councils slavishly enforce.I believe the Tories at least try to give equality of opportunity which is a totally different concept.
      Yet there ia a lot wrong with both ideologies.I didn’t see the programme last night but from Saltaire’s blog it reads as if a lot of illegality was shown.If so why isn’t the law being invoked?
      As for Aaron Asphars reply it explains why criminals are let free to reoffend,why families slip under the net of associated services like Social services and even the Police who use psychoanalysts,psychiatrists and the rest who believe they can analyse others

  34. GS says:

    Congratulations on last night’s Dispatches programme. I hope Channel 4 will continue to focus on this issue. The tiny number of prosecutions of landlords seems to be another indication that local authorities are neglecting their basic core functions in favour of more exciting pet projects.

    Grant Shapps didn’t exactly inspire confidence when he suggested it is a tiny percentage of landlords who are rogue. Far from the case in my opinion.

    The system is dysfunctional and has fuelled the property boom, with housing benefit lining the pockets of private landlords and tax credits effectively a subsidy to employers who don’t pay a living wage. If people work full-time they should be paid enough to be able to support themselves decently without having to claim credits or benefits.

    1. gorgonchops says:

      “The tiny number of prosecutions of landlords seems to be another indication that local authorities are neglecting their basic core functions in favour of more exciting pet projects”. ……..In the case of Slough/Ealing “sheds for beds” how can the local authorities act ?…
      this would “lift the lid” on a very large “can of wriggling worms”…
      theyre are probably 1000s of people living like this….the immigraton authorities would be over run….so much easier & cheaper to ignore it & hope it goes away…
      personally I`m more interested in the motives of a media (& presenter who stated hes worked in the housing sector for 40 years!!) that seems to be allowing these issues to stay hidden away & only confront them when someone shouts very LOUDLY….
      ie The Times…..cover up of asian grooming gangs…another old story going back to 2001…
      this story…..Panorama….july 2007…
      & off course the continuing black on black murders in London…3 over the weekend, that I know….perhaps Jon & Co will address these issues in 2015…dont hold your breath though,
      might raise difficult questions that channel 4,BBC et al only explore in other countries….

  35. A Midland Accredited Landlord says:

    There is clearly no place in society for bad Landlords however these are the minority and without Landlords offering their houses to rent the country would be a mess.

    The legislation is already weighted heavily in the tenants favour and the person in your video housed the vulnerable. As another Landlord said a searchable database of evictions and court decisions would quickly enable Landlords and Tenants to weed out the bad minority and empower them to make better decisions. National Registers would only be used by good Landlords as bad one’s wouldn’t apply. The chap in your documentary certainly wouldn’t have been allowed to achieve charitable status.

    I’m a Landlord and bad tenants are a big fear and can force businesses to collapse – study the LandlordAction website for some real world examples. Most of us are housing tenants to a high standards are accredited and study all aspects of housing to be the best we can. Please don’t join Shelter’s antil Landlord Hate Campaign by not offering a balanced arguement and an accurate representation of how many bad landlords are really out there. I have had my properties trashed by bad tenants(but these are the minority)

    1. Aaron Asphar says:

      “There is clearly no place in society for bad Landlords however these are the minority” – says the landlord. Whose asking the tenants? Even legitimate landlords prophet out of the poorest sections of society whilst depriving first time buyers starting a new, more secure life. This may be legal but it absolutely depends on you negating the ‘legal’ distress of those really struggling to survive in this money market for our basic needs. We’re slaves to landlords, us poorest in society, paying their rent as we sink sideways or else further and further down, particularly in these economic times.

  36. Aaron Goldsmith says:

    :-D When i mention frothing at the mouth, out it comes… Pavlov’s dog – excellent stuff!

    @ Aaron Asphar – ooooookay… thanks for the free psychoanalysis. Can i get of the couch now? i have a strong desire to stroke your little beard. Amazing that you can know a stranger so completely from one small post. Well done you! The post is infathomable to someone as intellectually challenged as me… but i’ll read a few books and come back to you when i’ve deciphered exactly what it is you said. PS – my nihilo asked me to tell you he thinks you are TERRIBLY clever!

    @ Meg Howarth – yes those Labour folk have lost their roots and betrayed the proletariat haven’t they. But i’m more interested in how many copies of the Communist Manifesto you can hold in your mouth at any one time. My bet is three, but i could be wrong. Certainly enough to obscure your view of my post, where i said quite clearly that they nicked the idea of RTB from Labour, NOT that Labour introduced it! ;-) As for evidence, i can’t be bothered, you can chose to believe it or not.

    @ Mike (+ All). Point taken. I apologise if i came across boastful. It was not my intent. I am a nice guy really :-)

    1. Aaron Asphar says:

      Aaron Goldsmith. “Amazing that you can know a stranger so completely from one small post” – it was easy. A human being evokes critical and utopian deviances in relation to normative values e.g. law, good/bad and so forth. A dissolute egoist merely asserts the normative code,, hence altogether lack both humanity and subectivity. In other words society, language, systems, social history, plays them like a harp, and produces a man with a portfolio – a painfully average tune.

    2. mike says:

      Aaron Goldsmith , no problem :) im a Londoner i respect your success , i have personal experience of a bandit landlord , well management company in London , and i know full well that there are many decent landlords and management companies out there , if your a decent guy who looks after his people , staff & tenants alike ? your cool with me , lend us a fiver haha …… :)

    3. adrian clarke says:

      Aaron Asphar if you believe that guff
      “A human being evokes critical and utopian deviances in relation to normative values e.g. law, good/bad and so forth” there is no wonder on the words of the likes of yourself and others we allow raoists,murderers and other criminals free to commit further similar crimes.
      I do not know whether you are dissolute but certainly an egoist

  37. Aaron Goldsmith says:

    @ Saltaire Sam – nice name:-)

    I may have come across as boastful, thats not the intent, so apologies.

    Yes the programme highlighted lots of wrongdoing by landlords and terrible injustices and hardships suffered by some tenants. There’s no doubting that. Its also a very dumbed down and poorly researched documentary designed to shock and appal, reinforce stereotypes and get the ratings up.

    An example: they tackled “Sell and Rent Back” poorly. Its been legislated against for over a year. There are very harsh financial and even custodial penalties. Only one company is regulated to provide this nationally. The documentary COULD HAVE taken this massive opportunity to show people the law – and save many from considering offers from firms who continue to flout the law.

    My own view from personal experience is that the vast majority of landlords are decent people who are aspirational and try to make a very difficult ‘profession’ work for them whilst also giving good service. I for one provide far better accommodation than the local council, and treat tenants with more dignity, respect and higher levels of service. I know because i have been told so on many times. A boast? YES!

    1. mike says:

      Just read that … Well done Aaron , keep up the good work.

  38. molly says:

    Landlords, the difference between you and your tenants is that you clearly have choice!
    If you have bad tenants and you feel you are unable to hang around for long term capital gain or if you can’t offset your costs arising from bad tenants, then make your living another way!! I have never met a poor landlord yet! Don’t expect anyone to feel sorry for you, take responsibility and look after your customers and their neighbours!

  39. peteyf23 says:

    I would like to nominate Glaredawn, a private firm who lease properties to the council in which to home would be council tenants. The council in question is Castle Point BC in Essex, and although we have since moved the wounds are still raw and I would be very keen to justice served. They are slippery little denialists though. Similar to the featured properties in the report we had serious damp issues and mould. Whilst I was in hospital (unrelated) my partner had to live with a collapsed ceiling for three months in what was supposed to be our son’s bedroom. This room also had no exterior renderings and the breezeblocks were visible in condensation and black mould lines. Glaredawn would never return calls and the blame would be passed to the council who returned it straight back to them. They must have been in cahoots together though and its disgusting that the council sponsored them and allowed it happen in their name. If work was eventually carried out it would be at the cheapest cost possible cheap plastic vents installed, or holes drilled in order to fit vents but then left open never to be completed. These are just some of many issues that were raised. And we lost many personal items through rot, that we were told was our fault by Glaredawn and backed by the council. Glaredawn would also tell the council that we never placed a complaint when in reality we had placed many. This continued over five years and we have many letters and emails saved. We were in the process of talking with the Ombudsman when we were finally moved to a more suitable property but I still feel people need to be made to pay.

  40. Saltaire Sam says:

    Interesting piece on Newsnight last night about the consequences of cancelling the Pathfinder programme in midstream leaving places like Stoke on Trent in a complete mess.

    Once more comfortably off MPs with their second homes paid for by the state make arbitrary decisions with heeding the human misery they are creating.

    1. Meg Howarth says:

      Once again, Sam, very well-said. The second-home culture has to end.

      Have to say, though, that Commons rising to the occasion re phone-hacking. Home today and able to watch debate live.

      If Aaron Goldsmith is reading this, I wasn’t intending to say that Labour introduced the RTB scheme, merely querying in different words that the the idea was theirs/ie they ‘introduced’ it. Apologies for sloppy editing, but ‘tempus fugit’ and don’t always have time to re-read.

  41. Aaron Goldsmith says:

    “Aaron Goldsmith. “Amazing that you can know a stranger so completely from one small post” – it was easy. A human being evokes critical and utopian deviances in relation to normative values e.g. law, good/bad and so forth. A dissolute egoist merely asserts the normative code,, hence altogether lack both humanity and subectivity. In other words society, language, systems, social history, plays them like a harp, and produces a man with a portfolio – a painfully average tune.” Aaron Asphar

    @ Aaron Asphar – wow! i had no idea people like you existed in real life. Fascinating! well, this ‘dissolute egoist’ is bowing out, the weather is far to hot here to be stuck below decks, stuck in a particularly drab episode of Frasier. Adieu!

  42. Pobinr says:

    On several occasions in some of my properties mould has started to grow on the walls. One tenant swore the flat roof was leaking as the cause.
    The real cause = he never opened windows to air the place. He dried his clothes in the flat etc etc. When he moved out I re decorated & no probs in the 3 years since.Same with another of my places. The tenants moved out& no problems since. So in each case the mould was ‘tenant specific’.
    Mildew only survives on pure water namely condensation from the tenant’s activities.
    Rising damp carries salts that kill mildew so mildew usually indicates it’s not due to a problem with the building.
    Yet according to the programme I should be prosecuted for mould due to condensation caused by the tenant’s lifestyle !
    How about a programme called ‘Tenant’s From Hell’.
    My friend let out a place. The lay about work shy tenant didn’t pay rent for months then moved into a newly refurbished council flat at our expense still owing thousands in rent at our expense.
    That’s you & me the taxpayer !
    Sorry Mr Snow but your programme was very biased & conveniently overlooked certain facts so as to paint the worst possible picture of landlords.

  43. Elaine says:

    Yes it does need a more balanced approach – no-one is best served by a series of over-hyped ‘landlords from hell’ then ‘tenants from hell’ horror stories. The previous demonising of landlords led to many people keeping property empty as they were afraid to rent it out, and the shortage harmed tenants. A balanced programme showing the problems experienced by both sides, plus some solutions, plus educating people on the law and a well- presented case for a national register would be the ideal. (would it get the ratings of a hype approach?)
    The issue of damp in typical victorian brick terraces is a real problem – they often have thin brick walls with no cavity, and there is currently no support for providing external insulation (cost, £10k – 15k). Tenants are often unaware that this means careful minimising of steam (cooking, clothes drying, ventilating bathrooms etc) plus extra heating which they may not be able to afford. Pobinr is right – damp is more often caused by lifestyle than leakage. Encouraging tenants to blame landlords instead of taking simple steps to sort the problem themselves harms tenants more than landlords and sets everyone up for more problems in the future.

  44. Kombaya says:

    Banana republic uk, whats new?

  45. pauline dunlop says:

    I have read many of your comments and feel one needs to focus on the issue of the programme which was about the poor housing conditions and the lack of respect for people living in them
    yes of course we have tenants from hell but this is not what the programme was about.
    my neighbours rent of a housing association in northern ireland and for over 5yrs await repairs on the flat.
    a leaking velux window left the bedroom floor and ceiling in damp conditions which adds to the already damp conditions in the building
    rogue workmen carry out cosmetic work paid by the association who never come out to inspect what they have paid for. needless to say the work is shoddy and after a short time needs more work.the housing association is almost impossible to deal with and treat these tenants with no respect at all. i have decided to take their case on board because they are so vunerable.
    Can anyone tell me who i turn to for help.
    Yes of course there are good landlords and bad tenants and yes i feel rents are to high some landlords have a monolopy on the housing market
    respect compassion and more love is needed in this world and less greed.
    any suggestions on how i help my neighbour
    thanks

  46. S. Genovese says:

    Greed! It’s all about GreeD. And GREED is not good. So much for honesty! Respect, such a high price to pay to receive some respect in return. No guarentee! No security! In my current residency I have the Landlady from hell and tenants from hell. A great accord! No pitch-forks, red garments and blood-lusts. But remember, not all that glitters is gold, rough edges maybe made sharpe, silence awakens even the deaf.

    “All that is gold does not glitter,
    Not all those who wander are lost;
    The old that is strong does not wither,
    Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
    From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
    A light from the shadows shall spring…”
    J. R. R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings

  47. David Rigby says:

    So as I recall, Grant Shapps told you he was “going after” landlords from hell.
    But sadly not in today’s trumpeted Housing Strategy…

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