The London Evening Standard, reports that a controversial buy-to-let tycoon has defended his decision to ban zero-hours workers, single parents and “battered wives” from renting his properties. It explains that Fergus Wilson has also banned low-income workers, single adults and housing benefit recipients in his latest letting criteria.
It’s not my position to defend Fergus Wilson but his situation should be viewed in a wider context. Firstly, Wilson has published his rental criteria which are objective and open. But let’s consider applying for a loan, a credit card or a new job. Often in the latter case, there’s a rejection letter that is cold and impersonal, with no hint at what’s needed to be improved. In the case of banks and financial institutions, the judgement often hinges on a credit-scoring formula, rather than any sort of reflective view of the individual. It’s the same with jobs, with people being screened in or out by arbitrary criteria, like where he/she went to school, often arguing that with the right private education there’s a better social fit.
There’s a lot wrong in Theresa May‘s Britain, both economically and socially. If May wins the election, downside risks will prevail, crystallizing economic and social hardship. Landlords are being stigmatized by left-leaning media but they are offering a valuable service, when banks sits on their hands fine-tuning their credit scores, paying out fat bonuses to senior employees. And as for employment opportunities, have you ever tried to get a straight answer out of an HR professional? Indeed many so-called ‘HR professionals’ excel in the ‘black arts‘ and are by nature two-faced.
Private landlords in the UK have a bad name but legislation and pressure groups have improved matters for tenants in recent decades. The situation is much better than many foreign countries. For example, I once met a major private landlord, who boasted that he used to collect his rents in the Bronx, New York, accompanied by a bouncer, the landlord wearing a fully-licensed Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum Revolver strapped to his leg, on-show to his tenants.
The Conservative Party Manifesto 2017 is lacking detailed policy, cohesive strategy, costings and risk analysis. But most importantly, it does not give us a clue as to how May’s next government will address a collapsed economy and the resulting social and public order pressures.