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Election time – will change come?

Every time we think we might be getting closer to getting back to a more normal life in the UK, something else happens to upset the apple cart again, says Frances Burkinshaw, but could things change?

Frances Burkinshaw

Link to Lettings feture

We have had months and months of upset and unrest over Brexit; it finally looked like agreement might be reached but no – not yet.

So instead of agreement we will now have a General Election on December 12th. By the time The Negotiator is dropped through your letterboxes that date will be closing in on us. There will be serious decisions to be made as to how we all vote.

Votes will be cast in various ways. Some will vote the way they and their parents before them voted; some will vote tactically; some will vote simply on the issue of Brexit; some will vote based on the manifestos of the parties and the promises the parties make on general issues such as the NHS, schools, housing etc.

How will you vote?

I do believe that Brexit will be the main issue that people vote on. Remainers will probably vote Liberal Democrat and leavers will vote Conservative with those voting Labour probably not knowing what the future will hold for Brexit.

Government – look in the mirror! Accept what you see and put your house in order before attacking ours!

The trouble with a general election is that one shouldn’t be voting on just one issue. Once the government is in power it will decide on all the other issues affecting our lives, not just the one which seemed important at the time of the election.

Therefore it is important for us all to consider more issues before making our decision as to which party to vote for.

Lobby shout, lobby!

We, in the residential lettings industry, have many ‘gripes’ with government. We know that there are many issues that need to be addressed. We need to lobby our favourite candidates to help them to understand the importance of our industry to the whole housing market.

Frances Burkinshaw image

Frances Burkinshaw

It is known that people who shout the loudest are heard the most. That has been seen recently with the climate change protesters who have roused the nation and gained so many followers. They even won their case against the police over the arrests in October. In our industry, Shelter and Generation Rent have been shouting very loudly trying to get the law changed with regard to Section 21 Notices (and other issues). They call those notices “no fault evictions”. This terminology has only recently been coined by such organisations and gives completely the wrong impression of the reasons most notices are served.

Good, honest landlords and agents have not been shouting loudly enough. Perhaps we should climb on top of the rooftops and shout loudly that the housing crisis in this country is not of our making and therefore we should not be made to suffer.

Without doubt some tweaking of the Housing Act and other legislation may be needed but my plea to the next government is “please consult us properly and actually listen to what we say.” Believe it or not we actually know what we are talking about. Many of us have been in this industry for tens of years; many of us knew what it was like when we worked under the Rent Act 1977. The introduction of the Housing Act 1980 and Protected Shorthold Tenancies paved the way for the increase and availability of rented accommodation in this country. Please, don’t undo all the good work that has been done over the years.

And lastly…

Organisations such as ARLA, RICS and the NRLA represent hundreds of thousands of professional landlords and letting agents. Yes, they are in business and they hope and expect to make a profit. Is profit really such a dirty word? Making a profit does not mean that you turn into a multi-millionaire overnight; it means that you work hard and make a decent living; you give others employment and you provide much needed, quality housing for others.

Yes, there are rogue landlords; yes, they must be stopped. That does not need more legislation, it needs funding for local authorities. There is legislation which is not used to full capacity due to lack of funding. Then the industry gets blamed again.

The next Government – look in the mirror! Accept and understand what you see and put your own house in order before attacking ours. Find the necessary funding for local authorities and give them the chance to root out the bad apples in our society and leave the good ones to flourish.

Frances Burkinshaw is an experienced independent trainer available nationally for in-house or group training.
01892 783961 or 07887 714341 or frances@ivychimneys.co.uk

December 5, 2019

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