Last night we saw one of the biggest scumbags in Britain tell Channel 4 News how unfortunate it was that Conservative party led restrictions on housing benefit means that he has to evict benefit claimants from his properties and put them at risk of homelessness.
“Screw the battered wives! I want my rent!”
Even though his victims include women who had been battered by their partners and would now face the choice of returning to live with the perpetrators of those assaults or to become homeless.
- Between the 500,000 Britons being forced to use food banks to feed their families, the forced mass movement of the poor from London and other more expensive cities, the bedroom tax and now the enforced homelessness caused by evictions from the private sector – welcome to Conservative Britain a home fit for everyone as long as you are not poor, young or disabled.
I say, end this catastrophic government and compulsorily purchase properties at cost from these heartless greedy landlords so that our nations citizens can have the housing that they need and deserve. No private individual should be able to own a property ’empire’ when British citizens are forced on to the streets.
The following is the story as reported in Saturday’s Guardian newspaper:
One of Britain’s best-known landlords has issued eviction notices to every tenant who is on welfare, and told letting agents that he will not accept any more applicants who need housing benefit.
Fergus Wilson, who with his wife Judith owns nearly 1,000 properties around the Ashford area of Kent, has sent the eviction notices to 200 tenants, saying he prefers eastern European migrants who default much less frequently than single mums on welfare. He says the move is purely an economic decision and points out that private landlords are running a business.
“Rents have gone north, and benefit levels south,” he said. “The gap is such that I have taken the decision to withdraw from taking tenants on housing benefit. From what I can gather just about all other landlords have done the same. Our situation is that not one of our working tenants is in arrears – all those in arrears are on housing benefit.”
A key factor for Wilson and other landlords is that it is impossible to obtain rent guarantee insurance for a tenant on housing benefit. This type of insurance is sold to landlords and is designed to cover the rent if the tenant stops paying for any reason.
Another issue Wilson raises is the number of tenancy applications landlords receive for each property.
“Tenants on benefits are competing with eastern Europeans who came to the UK in 2005 and have built up a good enough credit record to rent privately. We’ve found them to be a good category of tenant who don’t default on the rent. With tenants on benefits the number of defaulters outnumbers the ones who pay on time,” he said.
“Single mothers on benefits have been displaced to the bottom of the pile; sympathy for this group is disappearing. There aren’t enough places for people to live.”
Dan Wilson Craw, a spokesman for campaign group Priced Out, says he is dismayed to hear Wilson’s announcement: “Evicting tenants because you’re suddenly upset about new government policies is unbelievably heartless, and could lead to more people deciding not to claim benefit for fear of losing their home, and sinking further into poverty,” he said, “This is just one symptom of a wider housing market that is simply not working in the consumer’s interests. The instability and poor conditions that private tenants have to deal with would not be tolerated in any other market.”
Wilson’s decision comes after figures from the National Landlords’ Association published in December, which showed that the number of private landlords letting to people on benefits has halved to just one in five.
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.
Universal credit started to be introduced in April 2013 and it is predicted that all claimants will be moved to the scheme by 2017.
The Wilsons shot to prominence in 2006 when it was revealed that they had built up Britain’s biggest buy-to-let empire, sometimes snapping up a property every day in the early part of the decade.
Wilson is not the first large-scale landlord to raise concerns about low-income tenants. Last month Kevin Green, a landlord with more than 700 properties in Wales, said he may stop letting to people on welfare.
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- Public Accounts Committee says Iain Duncan Smith’s Universal Credit project is guilty of “shocking failures in management” and is an “unmitigated disaster” (imincorrigible.wordpress.com)
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- Grant Shapps should reconsider his ill-informed UN ‘bedroom tax’ outrage | Aoife Nolan (theguardian.com)
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