#1 By: Cory Doctorow, January 4th, 2014 21:00
#2 By: daneel, January 4th, 2014 21:05
#3 By: Boundegar, January 4th, 2014 21:16
But wait - haven't we established that all welfare recipients are strapping young lads who just don't feel like working? What's all this nonsense about the elderly and disabled?
Oh, and sluts.
#4 By: AnonKopimi, January 4th, 2014 21:38
I think then it's time for the UK's subjects to identify in detail what and where this landlord shops and DENY HIM SERVICES AND PRODUCTS in return.
How hard can it be to boycott someone with that much overhead and visibility?
#5 By: Jon Sowden, January 4th, 2014 21:44
Wait, how does he know which of his tenants are on benefits - isn't that privileged information?
#6 By: Dan, January 4th, 2014 21:45
And here is the classic example of why an essential requirement for living should never EVER be subject to a profit motive...
#7 By: fuzzyfuzzyfungus, January 4th, 2014 22:07
A few of Murdoch's trusty 'private investigators' were looking for work after that whole incident...
#8 By: Stephen Frost, January 4th, 2014 22:08
The profit in this business is based on the difference between yield on rents and the percentage paid on interest. The Wilsons nearly went belly up in 2008, but were saved - ironically - by the financial crisis and the subsequent lowering of interest rates. When the Bank of England cut the base rate to around 0.5% (a record low), the Wilsons ended up paying lower interest (at around 2%). With rental yields at 5%, they were able to turn a tidy 3% profit. In real terms, that's about £300 profit per house rented.
The short version of this is that they were saved by bank bailouts. Which were funded by taxpayers. What a wonderful game the rich play with governments.
#9 By: Adam Knapp, January 4th, 2014 22:13
My reading of the article is that under the current system, the housing benefit is paid to the landlord directly by the government. See this paragraph:
Problems for tenants on benefits seem likely to get worse when universal credit is introduced. Under the scheme, six means-tested benefits, including housing benefit, will be combined into one monthly payment. Tenants on benefits will need to budget and pay the rent to their landlord themselves.
I'm not sure that my interpretation is actually true, but I know that some US states do it this way. (at least Michigan) The fact that the state pays the bills makes renting to welfare recipients much more attractive since you don't have to worry about them prioritizing rent after more immediate necessities. It would also explain why he knows who's on the dole --- all he has to do is look who is signing the cheques.
This guy is a clearly a dick (why not give these people a chance to show responsibility or its lack before you kick them out?), but I think that this universal credit idea is also a pretty bad idea.
#10 By: fireshadow, January 4th, 2014 22:17
I think that people often are required to provide employment information on apartment applications. I am not exactly sure how the UK benefit system works, but the article implies that owners were getting paid directly from the government. In the US, Section 8 housing vouchers are paid directly to the landlord.
#11 By: Stephen Schenck, January 4th, 2014 22:19
Dan Wilson Craw, a spokesman for campaign group Priced Out: This is just one symptom of a wider housing market that is simply not working in the consumer's interests.
To be fair, that can be said of many markets. That's just how capitalism rolls sometimes.
The instability and poor conditions that private tenants have to deal with would not be tolerated in any other market
Sadly, I'm not sure that's true.
#12 By: TheGlitchEcliptic, January 4th, 2014 22:57
Pretty hard - ever hear the Union term of "scabs"? In a nutshell, no matter how vile someone is, there's always someone out there who prefers profit to morals and will gladly take their money.
Even if you somehow managed to get total, unanimous boycotting by every single person and business in the region where the landlord lived, The Rich will still find ways to get products and services anywhere. The easiest answer, obviously is to send your flunkies out to do everything for you - pick up some chinese take-out, drop off the dry cleaning, pick up the kids from school, whatever. You can't exactly boycott the landlord's paid servants and help and prevent them from using your services, can you? If nothing else, you don't know who they are.
No, scumbags like this thrive because the system in place makes it almost impossible to act against them. Even if you get them arrested, they go to a private luxury jail cell, eat caviar and drink champagne, and get out early on good behavior. Meanwhile their paid goons go to town ruining the lives of everyone they can manage who had a hand in getting them arrested.
Being a landlord means you make money doing nothing. It is the closest thing there is to being a feudal lord in the modern world, receiving a portion of the labor of others simply by dint of being their ruler. The housing you own does you no good - you have no need of it, you can make no use of it. It is only worth something if people live in it. And people HAVE to live somewhere. So you simply own as many houses as possible, collect a substantial portion of the incomes of countless people, use a fraction of that pure profit to hire contractors to perform the bare minimum legally required maintainance, and pocket the rest without lifting a finger.
#13 By: Nelson Cunnington, January 4th, 2014 23:00
I'm British, on benefits, and my rent gets paid directly to my landlord. There was a period when it was getting paid to me, but I got into default so he asked for it to be paid to him and I agreed. So it can go either way, I think, but it's complicated, like everything to do with benefits.
#14 By: Nelson Cunnington, January 4th, 2014 23:04
Wait a minute, I thought all them foreigners from Eastern Europe were only coming here to live off our benefit system? Now we're being told that they're more reliable rent-payers than British unemployed? Oh, no, don't tell me the Daily Mail's lied to me again?
#15 By: Robin Doran, January 4th, 2014 23:28
Private renting in the UK can be subject to comprehensive income and credit checks and its not un-common (or illegal as far as I know) for landlords to exclude welfare recipients, in fact "No DSS" is still a common euphemism for benefits used in letting which refers to the now defunct Department of Social Security.
This behaviour in the private market keeps people in local authority housing which is still a substantial part of the UK renting market but is not well loved, has been run-down over the last 30 odd years and is over stretched.
Not a great move by this guy to effectively dump 200 families into the social system, with his clout he might have been able to work with existing local authority schemes like Private Sector Leasing model which allow private landlords to rent properties to the council for near market rate. Would be nice to think he at least tried but it doesn't seem likely.
EDIT: Didn't want to get into it in this topic but just saw Thatchers Slow Motion Housing TimeBomb and it is very relevant to this situation
#16 By: Fascinoma, January 5th, 2014 00:00
In the scabs' defense, most of them went against the union so they could survive, not so they could make money.
#17 By: Michael Smith, January 5th, 2014 01:15
Australian here. My sister is in the UK living off their welfare system. I would be fine with the UK chucking her out so she had to come back and get a job. Handouts are destroying her life.
#18 By: Rindan, January 5th, 2014 01:59
Wow there killer. That is a bit of a broad brush you are painting with. I have a land lord. I think she is rather swell. When something breaks, she merrily comes over after she is home from work and fixes it. I am saved the hassle of fixing stuff, which is nice. More importantly, if I get sick of living where I live, I can just leave. If the local economy implodes and housing prices crash, she is left holding the bag and there is no skin off of my back. She shoulders all of the risk and illiquidity of owning a home, and I get a nice play to stay at a decent rate.
There are evil land lords out there. I have had them. That, said, painting them all as the spawn of Satan is stupid. Not everyone wants to own a home and are happy that there are people out there willing to shoulder all the debt and risk of owning property who will then rent it out.
#19 By: Nelson Cunnington, January 5th, 2014 02:10
I don't know your sister, but it seems at least equally possible that the handouts are what's keeping her alive. How are the employment figures in Australia, by the way?
#20 By: nox, January 5th, 2014 02:13
Fergus and Judith Wilson: "We've found that eastern Europeans are good tenants."
That's some serious fuel for the fire.
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