The interests of tenants and landlords are in direct opposition. Tenants need secure homes with low rents and which are well maintained. Landlords however want to charge the highest possible rent for the least possible work and be able to throw a tenant out of their home the second they get a better offer.
This means that you cannot claim to support both tenant’s rights and landlord’s profits. You have to pick a side. And we know which side the new Housing Minister Brandon Lewis is on because the register of MP’s interests tells us. He’s a fucking landlord.
Lewis was first appointed as Minister of Housing in June 2014, replacing parliament’s nastiest, slimiest MP Kris Hopkins. He was re-appointed by David Cameron last week where he wil continue his work ensuring the UK has one of the most expensive and least regulated private rental sectors in the world.
One of his first moves has been to introduce legislation banning local authorities from introducing licencing schemes for landlords – such as the one recently developed by Liverpool Council. In future any council which wants to introduce a scheme that affects more than 20% of privately rented homes will be forced to go crawling to central government for permission.
It is astonishing that you need a licence to drive a mini-cab, open a pub or work as a security guard, yet any old crook can set themselves up as a landlord. The only entry requirement is money. These are bastards who have a key to our homes, and whose actions, or lack of action can devastate our health and even place our lives at risk. Is it any wonder that landlord abuse, from sexual harassment, to violence, to illegal eviction to simple neglect, is rampant in the UK?
According to Housing Minister Brandon Lewis only a small minority of landlords are ‘rogue operators’. Yet almost anyone who has rented privately will have tales to tell of bullying, theft, discrimination, harassment and often criminal negligence. Even landlords who remain within the law can hike rents, evict without reason or charge eye-watering fees and deposits which exclude many people from any housing at all. The private rental sector is broken beyond repair and Lewis has no plans to change that. In fact he intends to continue making money from it.
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