Such a pity the Guardian's debate about the private rental sector yesterday wasn't today! Hot on the path of the Channel 4 Dispatches documentary Landlords from Hell with Jon Snow and Shelter, the housing and homeless charity.
Bloody hell! At one point, after showing us a slum landlord cheating his tenants out a home, letting them live in squalor, Snow interviewed Shapps who had the fecking gall to say (something close to) "3/4 of people renting in the private sector are very happy, more than happy, you are talking about a minority."
A minority ey Shapps. Go live in Papier Mache Towers for a few years for a change of perspective.
Even if it is a minority, which to my mind it isn't, with Shelter's research saying 7.5 million people have had problems with their landlords over the past three years and over a million are too afraid to speak up in case they are evicted, even if it is a "minority", they should be helped.
Like it's a "minority" of people who hold the country's wealth but they get tax breaks and all sorts, left clean away to get away with tax evasion or else participate in the very much legal 'tax avoidance' (ey Osborne?)
Labour started to regulate landlords but Shapps thinks this is "too bureacratic" ( a you a landlord Shapps, like your boss, Cameron?) He also thinks scum landlords are the responsibility of the local authority. Oh that's clever isn't it. You enforce cuts and with the huge ever increasing volume of people turning up at the council's door you don't think they have arrangements with most of them. (No more than 5, no more than 2 rogue landlords have been bought to trial in the last few years)
Anyway, earlier in the day I'd participated in the Guardian's private rental sector debate. Really participated!! I wrote comments, people asked questions, I answered them, asked questions of my own. It was great to be part of something I knew something about.
Here it is if you want a read: http://www.guardian.co.uk/housing-network/2011/jul/01/live-discussion-working-with-the-private-rented-sector?&
Watch Dispatches on 4OD so when the benefit cuts strike and the coalition forces families, the disabled, the elderly into the bottom 30% of available properties, you'll know just how they are forced to live.
Please sign the petition to evict Rogue Landlords; you can also access the documentary from Shelter's website.