Monday, 4 July 2011

The New Rachmans

God Bless John Snow and Dispatches. On this 4th of July a major TV broadacaster looks at Landlords from Hell.

Criminals masquerading as charities brazenly explaining to our undercover reporter how to evict a tenant ilegally- and get away with it. Migrant workers stuffed into garden sheds, children living with mould and damp, the flagrant abuse and dishonesty is al to believable in my experience.

The chilling truth about Meridian Trust- one of the landlords featured- is that up to 80% of their income is Housing Benefit. That's right chum, it's you and me that's footing the bill.

There are extensive powers to regulate landlords. Most of them lie with Local Authorities, yet on average they prosecute less than one landlord a year. To do so costs money, and with the cuts in

Caroline has been living in a council flat for three years. Her property is rife with mould. Poor design ensures that her flat is not well ventilated. Basically, if she kept her windows open all winter the problem might be better, so she has to pick between pnemeunia and allergies produced by mould spores when deciding what's best for her kid.

Caroline's support worker Ricky puts it like this. "Your'e there half an hour and it's like trying to breathe underwater."

The Council's Enviromental Health Officers can't compell their own employer
to carry out works, but they can serve a "shaddow letter" on them, as if they were a private landlord, and (in effect) shame them into taking action. Not surprisingly, this never seems to happen.

Britain's housing stock is ageing and inadequate. A thicket of laws set up tto guard against this are not enforced by cash-strapped Councils.

What a good time to cut Legal Aid for housing cases!

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