Election candidate hustings at PDPLA

Monday evening Michelle and I attended the PDPLA (Portsmouth & District Private Landlords Association) hustings debate attended by some local candidates for the forthcoming General Election. They were in for a surprise. I was curious on how things would unfold given recent tax law changes.

Considering this was a grouping of Private Sector Landlords offering tenancies to customers in order to make a profit and provide a living and future pension, I found it particularly strange that the focus of the candidates introductory talks centred on the problem of homelessness in the city and how we really ought to all be solving that problem.

After some relative calm things started to get heated as individual landlords started to vent their frustrations at the hapless candidates. Among the party politics and jostling for position I could see how the individuals, whom had nothing whatsoever to do with the implementation of the (Section 24) new tax policy, lined up their retorts to the barbs being thrown at them.

In the end nothing was achieved as far as I could see. It was a wasted opportunity for the candidates to build some allies and commitment from voters and also for the landlords to lobby effectively and influence policy. A promise to talk with the Treasury department and the Chancellor was forthcoming from Flick Drummond, indeed she encouraged it and was confused as to why she hadn’t been contacted before by the association. She actively asked for what we would like her to do. Gerald Vernon-Jackson repeatedly referred to and highlighted government failures. Very unbecoming! Personally I am far more amenable to those who present a coherent constructive vision than someone constantly pointing out who is to blame, afterall, we have to blame someone don’t we.

Stephen Morgan (Lab), Flick Drummond (Con), Gerald Vernon-Jackson (Lib Dem), Ian McCulloch (Grn), Martin Silman (PDPLA Chair)

If the parties involved in this event had approached it constructively and proactively it could have worked so much better. I saw landlords losing their cool and rambling incoherently at politicians who didn’t understand the problem behind their frustrations (apart from possibly GVJ). Much better to present a coherent argument, understand each others position and work together constructively.

As my property business grows I hope to become more involved with the PDPLA; contribute more, gain more and network more. There are committed individuals involved, valuable resources available, great contacts and a huge wealth of experience and knowledge to draw upon. It was driven home to me that in any business/cause/networking event where there are influential people going to be present – Be Prepared!