Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Army Life.

I owe this post to the excellent Digs: the action group campaigning
for better renting in Hackney (look them up, support them, follow them - they're brilliant.)

They were holding a public meeting about the private rental sector and invited the great, the good and the interested. They also seem to have invited someone less able to cope with whole tricky process of thinking.
Digs, you see, had invited a Tory councilor who seemed keen to prove just how out of touch the Tories really are. When discussions reached the nature of being a tenant, how insecure life is, how London tenants can be moved profitably on by rentiers and letting agencies every six months, and think themselves lucky if they remain in one home for three years, the civic representative refused to believe it was tough at all.

Digs proceeded to discuss how, after the initial agreement reaches renewal point, tenants live on a rolling contract and can be given just two months notice. The threat is constant; the fear is genuine.

This particular councillor was so stupid, it was clear she must have stockpiled most of the world's supply of stupid and was now hoarding all the stupid and using it herself, all the better to say stupid things. In short - she was stupid.

She claimed (I am spluttering as I write this) that being forced to move on every six months or so with just two months notice was no worse than being in the army, because soldiers are often forced to relocate at short notice.
I've just banged my head on the desk again whilst typing it. (I'm going to have to stop doing that whenever a tory says something stupid - I am forever in pain.)

Anyway...for a soldier, being housed is a certainty. There's no undermining sense that you, your family, and your children could be without a home, fall through cracks and end up in a B&B or a hostel if you can't find a place you can afford, or you can't find a guarantor, or you're on housing benefit.

Soldiers who are transferred abroad or home again, are guaranteed a home. If they are compelled to leave one house, they will be allocated another. They move around in the sure and certain knowledge that safe, secure home will be theirs at the end of their journey. No ifs. No buts. No matter who: single parents (rare but hey, it happens) families, singletons, everyone old or young will be housed. Simple.

What's more, there are strict rules about cleanliness of homes: they're scrubbed to military precision after relocation. It's scoured clean. Or else.

There's no finding another deposit or rent in advance upfront while the agent holds on to your current money. No van hire. No storage centres. The army does it.

So Ms. Stupid Tory Councillor: don't you dare... DON'T YOU DARE! tell tenants that moving within the UK’s rented sector is the same as army life. It isn't. It's just that being shot at is rare (but not unknown).


Rich Tee said...

There is just the simple fact that tenants aren't soldiers. A soldier has committed to risking their life and killing another person to protect their country, so I think a bit of moving around won't bother them too much.

I'm glad I stopped voting so I'm not being taken for a mug by these people. I know Miliband has made some promises about tenants but I don't really believe he'll do it and I'm loathe to vote Labour personally.

RenterGirl said...

Yep. I am ever hopeful that the message is getting through: that tenants matter in that we can vote. But still ever sceptical about Labour party that introduced badness like outsourcing, workfare PFI etc etc...Thanks for reading!

Emma said...

I have no idea how it is for 'ordinary' soldiers in the army but I do have a step-aunt whose husband is in the military. For a start, his postings are usually two years at a minimum - so that's four times longer than the average UK tenancy. And, as you say, the houses are generally in pretty good condition. Also, the army has recognised that constant moving is not good for children so the family were able to pay reduced fees so that the children could attend boarding school - ok, it's not an ideal solution but at least there is some recognition that children need some kind of stability in their lives.

This MP's comments are so full of stupidity it's hard to know where to start. Even trying to compare being in the army to renting is simply ridiculous and faintly offensive to both groups. God alone knows why she thought it was a sensible point to make.

RenterGirl said...

It was a stupid comment (I think it was a councillor?) but also very revealing as to why most politicians who are rentiers just don't get it.

space cadet said...

I think anyone with half a brain "gets it" - but those in Govt (national or local) just make a point of pleading ignorance when it suits them.

Look at ole Vince Cable pretending how "shocked" he was yesterday that some folk are borrowing up to 5x their income for a mortgage. No shit! I wish they'd all crawl under a rock and try sleeping there.