Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Landlords. Kings of the concrete jungle.

I've always been pretty good at Monopoly. Ever since a learnt to play, I've been waltzing around that board, picking up my 200 smackeroo's with nonchalant grace, racking up hotels like nobody's business and throwing enough lucky dice that would have me thrown out of a Las Vegas casino.

            

Unfortunately, I've never been to Vegas.....and whilst we're visiting planet 'harsh reality', I've only been on the property market for a few months of my 35 potentially real estate owning years. Monopoly is an evil game, it seems fun as a kid....you get money to spend that feels like real money...you get to turf adults out of their houses onto the street whilst you laugh and count your winnings. That's what they are, "winnings". When you give your landlord your hard earned cash every month, you're effectively saying, you won, again! It's the perfect training scheme for any prospective landlord. Monopoly is as morally bankrupt as the person who ends up throwing the board and whatever lies upon it across the room in a massive strop.

In writing this, that's fundamentally what I'm doing. I'm having a paddy, a rant, a metaphorical lobbing of a board game. 
My main beef isn't so much to do with landlords (although I've never had a decent one), but the system. Let's face it, as much as the rent brigade placate themselves with nuggets of consolation prizes such as; if your boiler breaks down, it's the landlord that fits the bill or "I'm free to live wherever I want!".....the fact is, we'd all love our own homes. Rented accomodation always feels temporary and when making improvements, you always feel you're lining someone else's pocket in the long term. I mean, owning a home is temporary, everything is, we're all going to die and vacate whatever property we're in at some stage. 

However, if you're single, a lone-parent and have no savings. Your chances of getting on the property ladder are minimal. It's a market that lends great support to the widening gap between the rich and the poor. It divides communities and created a 'new money' class. This culture of buying up properties and gaining portfolio's does nothing but create problems. All the talk of house prices coming down during the recession and how it boosted the chances for first time buyers was nonsense. The prices were so inflated that even with the drop, you still needed a huge amount of money for a deposit. 

This might sound bitter, but you're not going to get a homeowner speaking out about how unfair it is. I understand that alot of people worked hard to save and end up in the position they find themselves in, that's great. But for every one of those, there's someone else who has worked equally as hard but for whatever reason, now finds it impossible to even get there hands on a single approved mortgage, nevermind multiple home-ownership.

There seems to be this feeling that if you missed out on the home-owning gravy train, well that's just tough titties. I love it when home-owner informs me that I'd be much better off buying a property than renting...."you do realise it's dead money", they'll say....no shit! The smugness baffles me, it's like some of them think they're property tycoons, they're not, they were in the right place at the right time.

Then you've got those programmes, you know the ones. There's the one where people want to buy their dream holiday home, or are maybe looking to emigrate.....as they walk around the properties, finding little issues to niggle about and talk themselves out of buying said property, I find myself wanting to strangle the greedy little ungrateful shits. Property porn does my box in. Then you've got renovation programmes where a pompous landlord has managed to get his hands on yet another property he/she can "do up" so they can "do over" another poor rent-peasant, it nags away at me. Don't they realise the damage they're doing? Can you only see the problems and the morally correct way of doing things if you have none of life's little luxuries. On this basis, I'm proposing that all the forward thinking jobs, should go to people who have nothing. 

It reminds me of working at the Royal Mail where internal job's were given out on the basis of seniority, not suitability. Now, anyone I've ever spoken to about this can see that it's a warped, unfair way to do things and leads to the wrong people being employed for the job. Ask anyone that prospers from it and they'll blindly, and blissfully, tell you that it's "the fairest way". As soon as you become a member of the section of society that prospers, no matter how unfair the system is, you accept it. I'd probably be the same, I'm actually grateful to be able to see so clearly, although, in the harsh reality, it gets you nowhere!

The only way forward is to regulate the industry, just like companies that monopolise a market are. The problem is that the governments only do this when it's in their interests to do so. The Royal Mail was only subjected to this as it was a struggling business at the time, owned by them. Allow other businesses like TNT to basically steal contracts from them, whilst the Royal Mail still had to deliver it, force RM to downsize and maximise profits, therefore making the company seem a more attractive proposition when it came to privatising. They're doing the same with the NHS now. It's all greed. 

So, in essence, a landlord is no better than a profit obsessed global corporation. Why does one person need more than one home? It drives up house prices, deposits, stamp duty, rent....it's not healthy, only conducive to a fractious society. I know what the bottom line is....."that's life"........"the strongest survive" etc....but really, is that the epitaph of our existence? I know that might be getting a bit deep when we're only talking about owning a few "bricks and mortar", but it's not. 

A home should be exactly that, a home. A place where families can enjoy solace, love, laughter, freedom and equality. The last thing it should be is a nest-egg of winnings for somebody else.




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