Councillor landlords

Every councillor has to complete a Register of Members’ Interest form. These are stored for inspection online at http://www.southend.gov.uk/downloads/download/794/the_register_of_members_interests.

These forms are completed so as to counter any allegations of bias in our proceedings. (Interests are also separately notified at each meeting for individual agenda items).

I have a particular interest in rental properties – Milton has the highest rental sector of any ward in the borough of Southend-on-Sea.

Anyway, in discussions about landlords, development, HMOs, etc., it is pertinent how the following question is answered: Any land in your authority’s area in which you have a beneficial interest.

The following councillors are multi-property owners:

Independent
Brian Ayling
Marimuthu Velmurugan

Liberal Democrat
Mary Betson (spouse)

Conservative
Maria Caunce
David Garston
Jonathan Garston
Stephen Habermel
Roger Hadley
Georgina Phillips (spouse)
Ian Robertson (spouse)
Lesley Salter

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7 Responses to Councillor landlords

  1. And your point?

    Anyone owning more than one property is a [...] and should not be a councillor?
    These councillors are responsible for [...] conditions?

    A (private) rental sector is accepted as important by all but the most statist socialists, so presumably there is nothing wrong with “landlords” per se. What has to be important is whether the properties are safe, up to standard, represent reasonable value for money and whether tenants are treated reasonably. Will a later post give this information?

    Councillors have to earn a living; it is perhaps unfortunate that some rich councillors may “earn” a living without doing very much, but as long as they pay their taxes … Some landlords do actually work hard personally maintaining / converting their properties and surely deserve the “fruits of their labours”. We may not like it that many(?) landlords are subsidised by state subsidies – but that surely is the fault of numerous governments. Some “multi-property owners” may be renting out a single house or a holiday let; others may have huge property portfolios. Possibly a later post will give clarification?

    So why is this particular occupation of councillors so worth listing?

    It reads to me a bit like trying to make politicians look bad by association with a bogey word: “landlord”. I think the deputy leader of the Labour party has a word for that.

  2. Helen Hargreaves says:

    It is interesting Outsidethemarginals because in 2012, councillors voted against introducing a system of selective licensing in the Borough after an 18 month public consultation. This proposal was designed to tackle the issue of unruly landlords by making them pay up to £600 per property for a license before they could rent it out.
    If significant numbers of councillors are landlords of multiple properties, then they had a vested interest in the policy not being adopted!
    Parts of Milton ward are blighted by some unruly landlords who were obviously never going to sign up the voluntary system of SEAL which seemingly only the good landlords have signed up to.

  3. So if the issue is specific councillors not declaring an interest, let’s see for the 2012 vote:
    Councillor’s name:
    Listed as Landlord in register of interests? (Y/N)
    Interest properly declared at the time? (Y/N)
    Vote for or against – or abstained?
    Number of enforcement actions taken against them as landlords in 3 years before vote.
    Signed up to SEAL? (Y/N)

    Now that would be interesting, we may even see that some of those listed in the original post are paragons of virtue! On the other hand if they are truly “unruly landlords”, specifically “name and shame” them rather than just appear to condemn them for merely being multi-property owners.

    (Declaration of interest: not a landlord and never have been. Have been a private tenant.)

  4. jayman says:

    Most landlords are vile parasites who rely on the state to subsidise their investment through ‘landlords benefit’ AKA working tenant ‘housing benefit’. the private rental housing sector should be organised and regulated in the same the banking sector is following the financial crash. Landlords should have adequate financial liquidity to underwrite their debts (mortgages). For many landlords. letting their properties is an unethical way of protecting their properties from short term negative equity, ensuring their mortgage is paid whilst creaming off the top as their personal spending money. They are the Worst benefit scroungers in our society and they form the largest house price rigging cartel in the UK. The private housing sector requires urgent regulation and rent price caps.

  5. Irene Grubb says:

    I cannot help but wonder how many of the councillors who own rented property, will or have joined SEAL, if they (councillors) have not joined SEAL, can they give reasons? As the idea of SEAL is a council lead idea, what reasons have they got for not joining SEAL?

    Alan

  6. Judith Codarin says:

    Interesting to read these comments, and I can see where the concerns come from. I am the Secretary for SEAL, a private working landlord, and am happy to give you some insight to the development of SEAL. Hopefully with your strong opinions , you will be active with us in making our rental areas more pleasant for all our residents, whether they live there or walk through these streets on their way to the town centre.
    Many of the Councillors listed are watching the progress of SEAL through attending our meetings when they are invited. We assume they will help in our future actions to improve the areas they represent. See tomorrows press for news on the SEAL lead Street Blitz Campaign, we hope to get a lot of help with this, and while searching for a horrible heap of dumped rubbish for the Echo photographer to photograph us against,we all came to realise the town is looking a lot better than when the Selective Licensing Consultation was in progress. So this focus is already working in some way.
    SEAL agreed with the aims of SL, except that it was unfair to charge the majority of reasonable landlords £600 per property for the ignorance of the few. So we offered to work with the Council to use our expert knowledge, alongside that of the Council Experts to develop new ways of dealing with Anti Social Behaviour, property condition and street scene, all relating to rental property.
    What has evolved is a more confident way of managing and maintaining property, a network to support landlords who sometimes do not know where to get help, avoiding evictions for some tenants, guidance on street scene, complaints about property often dealt with by SEAL, help to the police through our network. This spring we are doing our first Street Blitz, getting all the Experts and businesses together to find and approach the very difficult issues that seem to be so difficult to resolve, mostly to do with multi-occupancy.
    The business of renting is changing fast, property associations which were run on a shoe string, are now becoming very active and professional, so before presuming numbers and percentages these bodies actually have researched issues and have them to hand. The National Landlords Association, Residential landlord Association, UKALA, ARLA, and several other bodies are immensely useful with helplines and various best practice examples for the new industry to follow.
    What we have concluded is that the problems are with the old school landlords, who have operated for decades, and have not yet caught up. The SEAL awareness campaign should be giving them a fright into protecting themselves or their clients by raising the standards of their property and their management.
    I know I am not alone in thinking Essex people are great, and together we can sort this out, let’s get on with it, the ball is already rolling , lets keep it going until we have got a great pattern to share. All the Councils in the UK are keeping an eye on this as it is such a cost effective and fair possibility. We know we can make it into a certainty with everybody cooperating.

  7. Irene Grubb says:

    It does seem a pity that those councillors who are themselves Landlords, most of the councilors concerned are in the ruling party and therefore proberbly were active in the agreement for the council to promote SEAL, yet the councillors concerned have not joined SEAL. Any person might ask the reason why.

    Alan

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