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22 November 2017

Them & us

Property empires v avocadoes

The suggestion that the solution to the housing crisis lies in foregoing sandwiches isn't new.

Back in May, Australian property developer Tim Gurner said young people can't afford a home because of our depraved and profligate smashed avocado and coffee habit.

That's right. Wanton consumption of avocado toast is to blame for the gap between flatlining incomes and supernova-scale housing costs.

Gurner is worth $473 million according to Australia's Financial Review. He said "the expectations of younger people are very, very high."

Are they? Is expecting to be allowed to sometimes eat avocadoes as well as have a house as high an expectation as, say, expecting to be allowed to own a multimillion-dollar property empire?

Is it? Is it really? But really though, is it?

The Socialist says: it isn't.

Anyway, here's our favourite response from Twitter...

@SFtheWolf: You know your generation's had it rough when its image of decadence is a vegetable on a slice of bread.

Seats for landlords...

One in seven councillors in the 40 areas with the highest proportion of private rental homes are landlords.

There's over 300 landlord-councillors just in these parts of the country, according to Guardian analysis. They make up over a third of the seats in some chambers.

Local authorities have spent years carving up council housing stock like so much roast beef. Is it any surprise the people in charge turn out to be cowboys?

Kick out the cutters and rent-seekers. Build council homes. Implement compulsory licensing of landlords, and cap rents.

... eviction notes for us

Meanwhile, a letting agent in Grimsby sent mass eviction warnings to its tenants ahead of the Universal Credit roll-out.

The letter from GAP Property explains the government's hooligan attack on benefit levels and waiting times could put tenants in arrears. And if that happens, they can expect no quarter.

And quite right too. Who do renters think they are? Why should the massive piles of free money they give to property owners earn them any forbearance?

We should count ourselves lucky that letting agents and landlords let us into the homes we pay them for at all.