emperor: (Phoenix)
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posted by [personal profile] emperor at 02:47pm on 20/07/2013 under , , , ,
Meet the Landlords (available on iPlayer until the evening of Thursday 25th) is an interesting but depressing look at the private rental sector. Perhaps inevitably, it gives us stories of things going wrong, from the self-styled "HMO Daddy" with his £26M housing portfolio and army of unhappy tenants to the single mother with cancer who no-one will house (and her local council saying they won't house her until the baliffs have thrown her onto the street), and a couple of people who have rented out their own home to discover that eviction is a time-consuming and stressful business.

I was alerted to it by the housing law blog Nearly Legal, whose take on it is here. What struck me is how desperately we need a decent supply of social housing again. I concur with them, though, that it's worthwhile viewing.
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gerald_duck: (Duckula)
posted by [personal profile] gerald_duck at 02:56pm on 20/07/2013
Being cynical, when things go wrong in the private sector, everyone starts clamouring for a public solution, and when things go wrong in the public sector, everyone wants it privatised.

I'd take the view that homes are small, discrete, independent lumps of service provision that are ideally suited to the public sector: it's easy to have competition even within one street and the economies of scale aren't so great.

Is the problem not simply that UK (especially English and Welsh) law in this area needs a significant overhaul? Landlords need better protection from unscrupulous tenants and tenants need better protection from unscrupulous landlords. In Switzerland, renting is far more common and they seem to have far fewer problems: if the central heating breaks down I get the impression the state will hunt down the landlord and make them pay your hotel bill until it's fixed. Conversely, I remember this tale of what happens when you move out.

Similarly, in Sweden the process of buying a house is rather more straightforward than it is here because, by law, the vendor gives you a one-year warranty. Suddenly, there's no need to check every last fixture and fitting works before agreeing to buy.

Here, tenants fear that if something breaks they'll have a horrible time getting the landlord to fix it and landlords fear that if the tenant stops paying it'll take months and a small fortune in legal fees to evict them. This creates a kind of market for lemons in both directions.
posted by [identity profile] parrot-knight.livejournal.com at 11:34pm on 20/07/2013
Thank you for the link - this is a blog I hadn't seen and I'm glad it deals with leasehold issues too. (I'm a leasehold flat owner with a largely relaxed small ground landlord; my parents own the leasehold of the flat in which my sister lives, and that belongs to one substantial London landlord and is managed by another, neither of whom follow the sector's best practice and who have managed to take vast amounts of money from leaseholders while holding on to enough flats in the block to prevent the right to manage being taken up. Meanwhile the building declines.) I've grown up with social housing given that it was my father's career, and have followed attempts by government to centralise and/or run down provision. Expanded social housing and clearer and expanded legal rights for private tenants of all kinds are necessary.
pm215: (dragon)
posted by [personal profile] pm215 at 01:46pm on 21/07/2013
I had an idea recently that you could use expanded social housing in combination with Right To Buy to attack the other housing problem, ie that they're hugely overpriced. If you expand social housing a lot, and allow (at similarly increased volumes) longer-established social housing tenants to buy under an RTB type scheme at prices definitely lower than market rate, then (a) this effectively transfers wealth from people in a position to buy houses to those longer-established tenants, who are presumably on average further down the economic scale and (b) hopefully adds enough extra housing supply to the market to actually cause prices to stop going up so insanely.

It's probably totally half-baked though.
posted by [identity profile] wellinghall.livejournal.com at 06:14pm on 21/07/2013
I have an unusual perspective on this, as I grew up in two different tied cottages; no rent was payable, but my parents did not own the house, and continued occupation of the house depended on continued employment.


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