I’ve been to parties like this too

Today’s housing crisis means strangers are now sleeping two to a bed

More seriously:

The effects of overcrowding often include mental health problems, stress, respiratory and sleep disorders. Children’s educational and emotional development can be severely inhibited. Overcrowding is also strongly linked to family breakdown. Meanwhile, Conservative MP Philip Davies was happy to stand up in parliament this week and argue that legislation to force landlords to make homes fit for habitation was an unnecessary burden, despite the fact that, according to Shelter, 250,000 homes don’t meet this standard.

Cracking down on rogue landlords

Sorry about this dearie, but you don’t supply more beds to sleep in by reducing the number of beds that someone can put into a house. That’s just not how it works. Nor do you increase the amount of housing by trying to insist that landlords must spend more on such housing as exists. That’s simply not how supply and demand work.

16 thoughts on “I’ve been to parties like this too”

  1. I read (Possibly in the Sunday Times…) that 11% of private lets were “sub-standard” or some such. It is highly unlikely that taking action against landlords will increase overall supply of housing, is it? More interestingly, the same applied to 5% of local authority housing too. So who are you going to prosecute? And how are they going to be immediately re-housed?

  2. Reading through this piece – I notice the numerous mentions of immigration, both official and unofficial throughout the article and on that basis we should certainly follow her advice……

  3. Tim, can you please write a “housing for dummies” guide and pass it to the likes of Shelter, the PM, and the Chancellor ?
    Basically the CHancellor LIED in parliament when announcing his interest taxation changes for landlords. When he said it would not affect tenants, he was either telling a complete porkie, or he was exhibiting complete ignorance of basic economics … Oh, perhaps it was just incompetence rather than malice then !

    I had never put rents up for sitting tenants in the 14 years I’ve been in the business – but I have now. If the Chancellor is going to put costs up, then rents are going up to suit.

    He also LIED when he said that landlords are at an advantage over home owners. Well that’s not true.
    In cash terms, I actually make a loss on my lettings business – in effect my day job pays the capital repayments on the mortgages, and the rent just about covers the interest and other costs. Ignoring capital repayments, return is somewhere under 1% – yes, even with today’s interest rates I could get a better return selling up and putting the money into savings accounts !
    So I hope for (long term) capital gains – but unlike a homeowner who will pay absolutely no tact whatsoever on capital gains on their home, if I sold up now I’d be fleeced for 28%. Never mind that the flat I’ve owned has taken 14 years to not quite double in value, and in those 14 years I’ve never had anything to use my CGT allowance on, all that counts for nowt and HMRC will take a “tidy sum” if I sell up.

    This is only the latest, what with all sorts of rules and regulations imposed on those that obey the law – and ignored by those who don’t. Most of the recent landlord bashing red tape has been more of the “we can’t enforce the rules, so here’s some more that we won’t have the resources to enforce” in the misguided hope that making something that’s already illegal illegal again will make criminals stop doing the already illegal stuff !

  4. What housing crisis?
    I’ll believe housing crisis when I see shanty towns on Hampstead Heath.
    There’s a lack of housing at a price meets the desires of those aspire to particular housing. F****g tough. I aspire to one of those private jets, (Actually a prop Cessna would serve, if anyone wants to subsidise me) But markets are denying me. Boo-hoo.

  5. @Simon
    ” in effect my day job pays the capital repayments on the mortgages, and the rent just about covers the interest and other costs…..So I hope for (long term) capital gains”

    It’s this makes me so antagonistic towards the buy-to-letters. By getting a mortgage from the banking (credit creation) system, Simon’s taking advantage of his creditworthyness to outcompete homebuyers in the housing market. I’m all in favour of entrepreneurship, but where’s the actual investment? From what i see of people in the game, it all pyramids from quite a small initial stake. Where is the risk carried? If there’s a change in the nature of the game – Osborne’s abolition of mortgage interest allowance could be one – the player can be forced out & the property have to be put on the market. Enough of this & you’ll see a property crash. All the loans are secured against the value of the properties. None of the players will have the dosh to cover their debts & it’ll be another BoE rescue operation.
    Sorry, but no. You want to invest, do it with your own money. We don’t get loans to build up share portfolios. Or not at mortgage interest rates, anyway.
    None of this is increasing the supply of housing. It’s just diverting some of the cost of housing into the pockets of those with marginally higher access to the credit fountain.

  6. “So I hope for (long term) capital gains – but unlike a homeowner who will pay absolutely no tact whatsoever on capital gains on their home, if I sold up now I’d be fleeced for 28%”
    Same as if you had had capital gains on shares why should that be a problem?
    Home owners don’t really benefit from house price inflation as when they sell they need a new home, you can sell your BTL and invest in something else.

  7. bloke in spain,

    We don’t have visible shanty towns because the police & local authorities are swift to clear up any breach of planning laws. Instead we have a curiously English version of the shanty town, hidden in our back gardens: beds in sheds.

  8. Overcrowding is also strongly linked to family breakdown

    Bullshit. I’ve been to some pretty poor places in the world where there are several children sleeping in each bedroom, and they don’t seem to have the same family breakdown rate as dear old England where – according to divorce courts, anyway – children simply must have a room each in central London.

  9. @Andrew M
    Even curiouser, there was a shed erected in the lounge of a flat in Whitechapel, I think it was, reported in the Standard. On the rental market for £500 p/m?. But is this the sign of a housing crisis? Or the desire to participate in the trendiness Brick Lane. it’s like saying there’s a Caribbean holiday crisis.
    IanB used to talk about “clustering around the money cannons”. So the ones seeking the largess are shouldering aside their weaker brethren. it’s what markets do, isn’t it?
    One forgets, the purpose of cities is commerce, not accommodation. It’s why they exist.

  10. bloke in spain,

    There are beds-in-sheds in places like Slough and Southall, so it’s not really analogous to a Caribbean Holiday Crisis. As others (perhaps you?) have pointed out, it’s not normal for e.g. a 30 year old teacher to be flat-sharing for several years – nowhere else in Europe would people stand for it. (Although plenty of them do stand for it when they move to London.)

    For most people, the standard response of “why don’t you move away from London?” is still valid though.

  11. One forgets, the purpose of cities is commerce, not accommodation. It’s why they exist.

    I had to make the same point a few weeks ago when Paris had a “car free” day. Somebody said how lovely Paris is without cars. I said that a city without cars would not be a city any more, it would be a ghost town.

  12. a 30 year old teacher to be flat-sharing for several years – nowhere else in Europe would people stand for it.

    Does anywhere else have national pay bargaining?

  13. Bloke in Costa Rica

    “it’s not normal for e.g. a 30 year old teacher to be flat-sharing for several years – nowhere else in Europe would people stand for it.”

    You mean like Italy where married couples still live with parents because they can’t afford their own place?

  14. @ Tim Newman
    I’m pretty sure Russia did before 1989. Consequently the academics in Novosibirsk all had nice flats and dachas (wooden huts on their allotments where they could spend weekends outside the city, not “country houses” as the British understand the term, often with a sauna).

  15. I’ve certainly not pointed out “it’s not normal for e.g. a 30 year old teacher to be flat-sharing for several years “. I read the ads in the lettings section of milanoncios. 30’s plus teachers are commonly advertising for flat-shares. It’s one of those jobs where the sharers prefer to be sharing with the same profession. Nurses are another. And another profession I can think of 😉 So they state what they do in the ads to increase responses.
    It’s much the same in paruvendu & vivastreet, in France. You any idea what it costs to rent a flat in Paris? If you can find one?

  16. Yay! Let’s evict people from 11% of properties because they’re “substandard”. If people are paying to live in them they must be acceptable to at least some people. I had a lodger in the 1990s who moved out of the room I was charging £40 for because he found a house for £50. I walked past it (fairly quickly) – it was a stinking hovel. But, by the market’s standards it was of acceptable standard as demonstrated by somebody chosing to hand over money for it.

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