There’s been no way of missing Jeremy Clarkson’s current predicament over the past couple of weeks, no matter what kind of newspaper you read. After losing his rag with a Top Gear producer and engaging in a little ‘fracas’ the TV personality was then suspended by the BBC and kicked up a media storm in the days that followed with some rather well placed (possibly drunken) comments about the BBC being ‘bastards.’ Apparently the trigger for everything was the fact that Clarkson’s producer was unable to produce a steak for the great man rather than a platter of cold food after a hard day’s bluster (filming). Which obviously explains everything.
Now that Clarkson has finally been fired there’s something of a sense of relief among many that the out of date model of man that he represents is finally getting his comeuppance, no matter how amusing some people might find his leering banter. You might think it a tenuous link, but we see some parallels between Jeremy and the UK lettings industry. Here’s what they are:
It’s been getting away with it for too long – just like Jeremy Clarkson the UK lettings industry has really been getting away with bad stuff for too long. Ok, so Clarkson’s Nazi jokes, Asian slurs etc are of a slightly different variety to the overcharging, lack of transparency and low standards in British rentals but we think the negative effects run along fairly similar lines.
It’s costing the public money – i.e. tenants all across the UK pay through the nose, not just for excessive fees for contract drafting, inventories and the like, but also with respect to high rents, covering the costs of poor repairs and security deposits lost to unscrupulous landlords. How does this compare to Clarkson? Well, the presenter’s careless actions (and subsequent sacking) open up the BBC – funded by our licence fees – to compensation claims from foreign broadcasters for the unaired shows, which could be very costly.
It’s been pretty much unaccountable for too long – as you’ll be able to see from a quick browse of our forums, a lack of accountability in the lettings industry has allowed both agents and landlords to get away with everything from not providing basic repairs, to avoiding the annual Gas Safety Check that is required by law. Continuing the analogy, with Clarkson finally called to account by the BBC, at The Tenants’ Voice think it’s time the rental sector got the same treatment.
It needs an image overhaul – like a man who makes points with his fists, the lettings industry in the UK has a bad reputation. From the rogue landlords carrying out revenge evictions to agents who refuse to reveal their fees and prioritise landlords’ interests over those of tenants every time, renting practices could really do with an image overhaul in the UK. Just as Clarkson might well get himself a savvy publicist who might encourage sober living and a sharp suit, The Tenants’ Voice is here to offer the letting industry a way to work with tenants to provide reasonable, well structured services that are transparent and provide value for money.
It’s resistant to change – if you look at photos of Clarkson over the past couple of decades the hair, the clothes and the smirk have hardly changed at all – pigs will fly before this man would ever don a pair of skinny jeans. And the rentals industry in the UK is the same – the status quo has served everyone but tenants and so little has changed.
Although we might not be able to do anything about who appears on your TV, The Tenants’ Voice is poised to help all the players in the UK rentals market start working together. Our aim is to drag the industry away from the dark ages and into an era of renewed cooperation, better value for money and more of a Richard Hammond style of being friendly and getting the job done.