Four people have come to us this week angry and desperate – all facing eviction due to their landlords’ circumstances changing.
I sat with one in a café where he worked. He’d been given a few hours to move and the agent was rehoming his belongings into another house as we spoke; another who had been given 24 hours notice but didn’t know why; a young lady who I met on a course and whose landlord had neglected the flat for so many years that he decided to sell rather than repair; and another lady with 3 children whose landlord was returning from abroad.
All the circumstances leading to this point in their lives differed but brought about the same feeling – anger, dismay and trying to cope with life and work whilst dealing with an unknown future. They also all said they felt as though they had been “traded” like commodities, disposed of as they no longer suited their landlord.
I’m pragmatic, believe change is good and you can’t have it your own way all of the time. Sometimes life bites you on the bum and you have adjust to whatever is thrown at you, but that’s easy to say when you have a safety net, good credit history, flexible work and no requirement for a support network. All of the above cases are economic migrants or in receipt of housing benefit – re-establishing their equilibrium will take a while. They’re not stupid, illegal, immoral or prone to criminality – just a whim to someone else’s change of mind.
But, hey, I’m not innocent in all of this – one of my single mums’ has been told that, under the benefit cap, her rent allowance will reduce from £115 pw to £25pw in two months’ and saw no reason that I shouldn’t accept this drop. The agents (if you need a fantastic, reasonably priced agent in Sunderland or Newcastle, email me) have carried out an income/expenditure sheet with her, and her Child Tax Credit and Income Support along with the new Housing Benefit are plenty enough for her to stay in the property but she’s adamant that it’s not her issue.
Wednesday found me collecting a tenant with toothache outside of a doctor’s who had refused to see him. He’d been to the doctor as he has a heart complaint and his Romanian doctor had advised seeing the doctor before the dentist so the drugs required for dental surgery didn’t kill him. We spent an hour finding a doctor willing to take on new patients and explaining the difference between private and NHS dentists. He’s a lawyer in Romania and a carer in the UK and found our healthcare system incomprehensible.
So it’s a complicated new world we’re heading into (or always been in?) in terms of solving the housing crisis. I thought I had some answers but I don’t except, landlords, keep your noses clean, don’t be greedy, help your good tenants, cast off ANYONE taking advantage of your good nature and maintain your integrity. If you can do all this you are unlikely to become outrageously rich through renting property. If these values are too much, you can always follow the Trump methodology of business.