Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Feeble standard email reply from my MP

I sent my (Conservative) MP an email re Generation Rent's campaign against no fault evictions and received this feeble reply:

Thank you for your email of 17th November regarding the Generation Rent campaign on restricting evictions. I understand the points you raise.

I have read the proposals from Generation Rent and I agree that all tenants deserve to feel safe in their home. The nature of renting means many tenants do not have as much long-term security as they may wish and I would encourage tenants and landlords who favour longer tenancies to use the Government's model tenancy agreement. Longer fixed-term tenancies provide more stability for tenants and also means that they do not need to pay fees to renew a tenancy.

The two months' written notice a landlord provides before taking possession of a property can be used by a tenant to find alternative accommodation (1). This notice provides landlords with the flexibility to manage their property, however, it is important that people and [sic] not being made homeless because of this.

Most tenants are satisfied with their accommodation (2) and this is testament to the fact that the majority of landlords are hardworking(3) and responsible. They provide safe and decent accommodation and understand the needs of their tenants.(4)

I look forward to the publication of the White Paper on Housing and will bear in mind the points you raise during the course of my Parliamentary duties.

1) Not long, is it, especially if the landlord doesn't pay you your deposit back until long after you've left, if at all.

2) Are they? I doubt it, most are pretty unhappy with having to hand over a large sum of money each month.

3) "Hardworking"?? She's having a fucking laugh.

4) Landlords do just enough to ensure the money keeps rolling in, that's about it. Replacing the odd fridge is hardly evidence of some genius insight into "the needs of their tenants".

I wonder, is the standard email reply from Labour and Lib Dem MPs just as inane?


Rich Tee said...

You're wasting your time. I learned that years ago. They will always take the side of the landlord. It requires massive social change, probably only when the young renters of today turn 40 and are still renting.

My main reason for possibly voting to stay in the EU was that would be the best way to get more tenancy rights, because the EU would eventually pressurise Britain to introduce continental-style tenancy laws. But I didn't actually vote in the end.

"Most tenants are satisfied with their accommodation"
I don't know where they get this from but it is trotted out every time. Firstly, tenants are often frightened to complain in case they get evicted. Secondly, they may be satisfied with the accommodation physically, but dissatisfied with the terms of the contract, so which is he talking about? Thirdly, tenants may be conditioned to expect little. When I tell people about tenancy rights in Germany they are often shocked and didn't realise how much better it could be.

Steven_L said...

I wonder, is the standard email reply from Labour and Lib Dem MPs just as inane?

Civil service correspondence officers don't discriminate, they will happily draft replies for any MP. Whether opposition MP's choose to refer correspondence to the dept concerned for an official reply / choose to use what they get back, is up to them.

But perhaps your MP has efficient staff who have drafted their own reply?

Bayard said...

1. I thought the DPS was supposed to sort this out. Am I surprised it hasn't? No.

2. Most people are unhappy about having to hand over a large sum of money every month, be it rent or interest on a loan. Still, I'd be interested to know the basis of that statement. It could be true, or it could have issued from the lower mouth.

3. Well the majority of landlords may be hardworking, but so what, they are not working hard at being a landlord. Responsible? - see above.

4. You don't know that "Landlords do just enough to ensure the money keeps rolling in," any more than, I suspect, your MP knows that "Most tenants are satisfied with their accommodation", or do you have evidence?

"When I tell people about tenancy rights in Germany they are often shocked and didn't realise how much better it could be."

Do share. When the UK tried giving tenants more rights with the Rent Acts, it was a disaster for everyone except the lucky few who were already renting. Incidentally, I think that it was the Rent Acts that stopped the middle classes renting and so produced the association in the public mind between renting and poverty, hence fuelling the aspiration to own and sowing the seeds of home-ownerism.

Mark Wadsworth said...

RT, agreed.

SL, I'd still like to see replies from MPs from other parties.


1. It doesn't, the last deposit I got back was about six weeks after the tenancy ended. A lot of people don't get it back at all because the LL claims deductions for dilapidations. My previous LL was a total c*nt and I got nothing back.

2. People are equally unhappy paying money to a bank each month or to an ex-wife. That is quite simply true. People know when they've been conned.

3. I have been a BTL-LL it is an absolute doodle , it requires no hard work. Fact.

4. See above. LLs do the bare minimum, there is no point in doing any more than that.

And Georgism Lite was not a "disaster for everyone" it kept rents and house prices down and meant that most people were either owner-occupiers (with an affordable mortgage) or had a secure council tenancy. It might have been a disaster for private landlords but fuck them.

You appear to have misunderstood what Home-Owner-Ism is. Wanting as many people as possible to be owner-occupiers or secure council tenants is not in the Home-Owner-Ist manifesto.

mombers said...

'Most' private renters may well be 'satisfied' with their accommodation but I'm sure they would be much much much more satisfied if they were paying non-profit (note not subsidised) rates to a council instead of three or 4 times that in London or to a lesser degree in other parts of the country

Bayard said...


3. You misunderstand me. I was saying that LLs may work hard - at something other than being a landlord - but so what? It's the same crap as the "hardworking families" meme.

4. Well yes there is. It's a bore and expensive finding another tenant (OK perhaps in London they are queuing up to rent your property, but I bet the rental agents are still sharks), so a little extra goes a long way towards retaining a good tenant.

"You appear to have misunderstood what Home-Owner-Ism is"

Possibly, but one of the features of HOism, AFAICS is the "tenants are scum" meme. The glorification of rentierdom inherent in HOism would not have got such a foothold if many of the ruling classes were themselves tenants and on the receiving end of it, IMHO. See also the classic argument for making private education illegal (aka "abolishing public schools").

Bayard said...

"And Georgism Lite was not a "disaster for everyone" it kept rents and house prices down"

Not for everyone, agreed, I should have been more specific. It was a disaster for those who wanted to rent. It's not much good to a would-be tenant rents being cheap if all the rental properties are occupied. Waiting lists didn't just spring into being after RTB was introduced, they were already there.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B: "… one of the features of HOism, AFAICS is the "tenants are scum" meme. The glorification of rentierdom inherent in HOism..."

Correct on both counts.

When we had Georgism Lite, the sub-text was that tenants are normal people who should be given a leg up with rent controls etc. As we are agreed, that restricted supply of rented homes but made it ten times easier to buy. So tenants became owner-occupiers as is every Englishman's natural born right.

One of the many insane contradictions in HOism is "tenants = scum, landlords = gods" meme. That is like looking down on prostitutes/punters but lauding pimps, it is like looking down on drug addicts while applauding the business acumen of drug dealers.

Back in the day, private landlords (typified on screen by Rigsby) were seen as pretty sleazy people a bit like door step lenders or pimps. Or in real life, Rachman and so on.

Bayard said...

"but made it ten times easier to buy"

Well, no it didn't. The difficulty of borrowing money to be able to buy was the key thing that kept land prices down, that and interest rates at normal to high levels.

"Or in real life, Rachman and so on."

The Rent Acts, like so much legislation for a perfect world, did nothing to stop the really bad landlords, who seem to have simply ignored the law. Remember Nicholas van Hoogstraten? All they did was make life difficult for the better, law abiding, landlords, most of whom sold up.

Rigsby was a resident landlord who rented out rooms in his house to lodgers AFAICR. ISTR you suggesting that taking in lodgers was a Good Thing.

Rich Tee said...


German tenants do a probationary period (I think it is six months, it may be a year) then they can sign a lifetime contract. Once they have done that they are free to treat the property as their own eg. put their own kitchen in etc.

This is why 50 per cent of Germans rent their whole life. They can treat the property as a proper home without worrying about being turfed out at short notice.

DBC Reed said...

Which is why I oppose the Beleavers:I would rather European politicians had more control over our way of life as in the German example you cite .(Perhaps Mark with his perfect German can organise some very necessary subversion by representatives of this better system?) Our way of life consists of Homeownerism and endless making excuses for it and providing meaningless diversions from its crap manifestations.Giving Brit politicians more CONTROL would be to pile disaster upon shambles.