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Letter to the BBC:

Well done to Catrin Nye for exposing the misery of tenants, the plight of Social landlords and Private landlords.

There was a little more emphasis on Social landlords, and the fact that government funding is going towards assisting claimants of Housing allowance for Council – Local Authority Housing as a priority (not private landlords), wasn’t picked up.

The knock on impact of Council Tax for all residents could have been calculated – even any reductions in Council services because of their income shortfall could have been touched upon.

The reason for this message is that Universal Credit is actually affecting everyone, including working families paying their Council Tax.

There were in the majority if not all the examples in the programme, failures by claimants to attend Job centre interviews regarding their claims (and in any fair system, some sanction should be expected) There was no explanation for these missed appointments.

A point where sympathy, of which there is considerable, weakened for some of the claimants portraying hardship (which there isn’t doubt) is that keeping a larger breed of dog, or large tropical aquariums, whilst other claimants mention difficulties with electricity bills, isn’t really congruent.

The interview with MP Alok Sharma wasn’t very forceful but despite this, he could be seen to squirm.

All said, the underlying aim of Universal Credit isn’t criticised. For any tax-payer, it would be ludicrous to suggest benefit claimants should be better off on benefit than in work.

However, until Universal Credit is working as intended (and there is a long, long way to go, if that ever happens), immediate relief (Direct Housing payment) without destroying the principles is required in a speedier and greater number of cases.

I spoke with some Department for Work and Pensions Universal Credit staff who said that where Direct payment was made, it was being reviewed after 3 to 6 months as a maximum, with a view to restoring full Universal Credit payment to the claimant (who are hardly likely to have recovered from arrears which caused the direct payment)

A follow-up programme of an hours duration is required.

Confirmed by Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA) – but its not just ARLA – no other briefings from anyone representing landlords!

As landlords are being encouraged and its not been hard to condemn rogue / criminal Landlords, so to should agents censure those that charge the highest and most unjustified / unreasonable fees.

Whilst in no way supporting the total ban, you could see the impetus for the legislation as the industries bodies being unable to ‘keep its own house in order’

…for energy improvements

LED bulbs, loft insulation – yes, absolutely agree its a landlord’s duty.

But Floor insulation – for the whole ground floor of a property to be dug up (tenants accommodated elsewhere for some weeks) isn’t going to be done for £3,500.

I really would like to use whatever builder Heather employs though.

Of course the chancellor could have helped this situation in the budget by re-introducing Landlord’s Energy Saving Allowance (LESA) – (don’t think Phil and Heather are on speaking terms!)

Not a lot of legislation or Government proposals of much practical use in the Property Redress Scheme (PRS), but here’s one of the very few that will actually help the majority of good tenants and actually facilitate landlords to take ‘more of a risk’.

Because its not understood, that evaluating and taking risk, is the business a landlord is in to the tune of six figures.
(Whilst other Government proposals are to cap deposits and grant longer risk periods, read – Tenancies)

So John McDonnell proposes that a countrywide scheme would ‘prevent rogue landlords switching Local Authorities’

How do Rogue landlords ‘switch Local Authorities” then?

Do they sell up their sub-standard property in one area – purely because licensing has been introduced, and buy another property in a ‘non-licensed’ area?!

Not a lot going on ‘between the ears’ is there?

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