But instead of solutions we know will work, MPs have offered up a reversal of our basic constitutional settlement: that what is ours is ours until and unless we’re compensated for its removal. Telling a bad landlord that he must come up to code is fine. Not allowing her to rent a house out that doesn’t meet code is also fine. Stealing the house ain’t.

We certainly have housing woes; rents are high. One answer is to have government do less by liberating the planning system. The other, apparently, is to reverse the outcome of the English Civil War so that the state once again has monarchical rights over property. How strange that it’s the House of Commons coming down on the wrong side of this.

13 thoughts on “Elsewhere”

  1. Well said. The prospect of having your flat stolen by a greedy council, possibly with the connivance of a feckless tenant, will persuade yet more landlords to sell up, leaving others to raise rents further.

    We already have penalties for rogue landlords; what’s needed is more enforcement, not more laws. Otherwise we’ll end up with the American system whereby everyone is guilty of something, and the authorities get to choose who they want to prosecute.

  2. Andrew M

    Not quite fair to the Americans. Not only are you guilty of something but the penalties are so absurd that you are always going to take the deal rather than risk 150 years in jail and bankruptcy (though I guess they then pay food and lodging ).

  3. Most of those reading this blog will agree that having an ample choice will limit the suffering on those exploited. So the solution to any exploitation of tenants is to increase the supply of houses and flats to meet demand.
    Any law that permits some local authority bureaucrat to steal your house will *reduce* the supply of flats available to rent [if you don’t believe me, just ask whether a shortage of houses in the South-East will cause prices to rise so it will make sense to sit on an unoccupied flat rather than risk its theft by the the local authority if you let it out]

  4. “confiscate properties from those landlords committing the most egregious offences and whose business model relies on the exploitation of vulnerable tenants”.

    “Yeah, they were going to grab my house, but it turns out the renter down the street was more egregious than me . . . I was just more egregious.”

    “Wow. They almost got me too. Turns out I was just expoiting tenants, but they weren’t vulerable.”

    Question: has there ever been a tenant who didn’t think they were vulnerable?

  5. Not sure about Engeland, but in the US, local governments are financed by real property taxes. Fucking with property ownership would be a catastrophe, potentially bankrupting towns or counties. As bad as LVT is, it keeps the government from messing with ownership.

    Some years ago, when I was president of my Home Owners Association, I learned that resisting the HOA was virtually futile. Judges were paid by the county, the county got it’s money from property taxes, HOAs worked to protect property values, judges knew where their money came from.

  6. In UK we’ve how public sector abuse and extend use of laws with eg RIPA and the Proceeds of Crime Act.

    This proposal is insane.

    Landlords should able to offer for rent whatever they want and market (tenant) will decide.

  7. The thing is, if such a law were enacted the vast majority of landlords liable to be caught by it would not go under such British names as Smith and Brown………….

  8. “I’ve recently found out that SCOTUS can bound laws for vagueness.”

    Yeah, that’s what I was going after in my post.

    ‘most egregious offences and . . . exploitation of vulnerable tenants’

    By being vague, they could be applied to any set of facts. This is one of the most egregious examples I’ve ever seen. The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee should be embarrassed. Seppuku pending.

  9. @Gamecock
    Local government in the UK is mostly financed by property taxes – the problem is that we don’t know that it is.

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