Approved Windscreen Companies.

If you asked for advice, you would seek it from a reliable source. To go ahead without it is usually ill-advised. It pays to do your research. Due diligence. Just like asking for recommendations on a suitable restaurant, we trust the experience and opinions of others; if you knew whether a restaurant was good, bad or indifferent you would base your decision to go there, or not, on that information. Similarly, if a friend bought you an experience at a restaurant, you would expect them to have looked into the matter in the same way. For example, if that restaurant had poor reviews on Trip Advisor your friend might have inadvertently poured custard over your main course.

In this context, your windscreen has cracked; it needs fixing. Who do you call?

If you have adequate cover in place (usually a Fully Comprehensive policy will cover most glass breakages) you simply get in touch with your insurance company. However, we all know, insurance companies don’t fit windscreens. Of course they don’t; windscreen companies do. Which one do you use? Which one can you use? This decision has been made for you by your insurer. It’s designed to make this part of the process easier for you and ultimately, it’s better for the insurer to have a deal in place with one company. Simple. Above 24-hour nationwide coverage for its clients it is probably the most economically viable arrangement for them.

Let’s have a closer look at the windscreen companies nominated by your insurer. Typically, it might be Autoglass; Auto Windscreens or National Windscreens. These are the big three. The nationals. There are others but they either haven’t been around as long as the big three or are structured differently. For example, Nationwide Windscreen Services is a joined up network of independent subcontractors.

Would you choose one of the aforementioned windscreen companies? Or would you prefer to nominate one yourself? The plain and simple answer is: you can, but unlike the glass that might need replacing, it isn’t so transparent. The autonomy is there before you insure your vehicle. Do you have a say in who your car goes to for repair in the event of an insured loss? Very much so. Given that you must be given “appropriate information about a policy in good time and in a comprehensible form so that you can make an informed decision about the arrangements proposed,” you clearly do. Did your insurer – or broker – take steps to make you aware of the salient points of that proposal? If there was some form of ‘click here to confirm you have read and understood the terms’ gateway en route to the checkout, probably. Was it clear enough? Probably not. The Financial Conduct Authority guidelines state that [financial] markets need to be “honest, fair and effective so that consumers get a fair deal.” They do so for the benefit of all parties on both sides of the transaction. They ensure the business is acting fairly and that the consumer gets a fair deal. Given the presence of a specific requirement in the FCA Handbook: ICOBS 6.-1 Producing and Providing Product Information, why is the question of who replaces your windscreen not being asked before insuring against the risk? Should the onus be on the consumer to ask the appropriate question, or the proposer? The relevant section of the handbook states what needs to happen, so if your preference is to choose who works on your car, the matter needs to be clearer before you decide whether you want to accept that proposal or not. The matter of what will happen in the event of your windscreen cracking should be pre-disclosed in no uncertain terms. In some cases, the repairer is named. Perfect. Or is it?

What if the nominated repairer isn’t quite up to it? What if they are not experienced in dealing with the nuances of what is known to be a specialist job? It might be that the car is a marque of distinction; a supercar; a hypercar; a rare classic or vintage car which would require the expertise of someone with experience of working with that type of car. Surely this needs to be discussed before pulling the trigger to shoot down an off-the-shelf motor insurance policy? Insuring a classic Carrera might be no different to a modern Mercedes on paper but in the event of a loss both cars cannot be treated in the same way when it comes to repair. When insuring a Porsche, if the Key Facts stated that you can take the car to a Porsche specialist of your choice, the policy would probably have all but sold itself to you. But what if the repairer was one of the aforementioned monolithic names? Would you be comfortable with that prospect? One way to help you make that decision would be to simply look them up; this is, provided of course, that the proposing insurer is actually naming that company. By using an ambiguous blanket term of ‘approved’ doesn’t tell you who it actually is. If it’s Fred in a Shed with a Bag of Tools, it needs to be clear that it is. By saying ‘our approved repairer’ doesn’t tell you anything. It might be a company like Nationwide Windscreen Services who subcontract the work out to a smaller firm in your area which deepens the mystery of who will knock on your door. What if it was a company you would rather not use if given the choice? What if you have already had a bad experience with them? What if the company your insurer now sending to replace the windscreen on your pride and joy had 55% of their reviews online rated overall as poor? It’s somewhat awkward if this is what you agreed to when you accepted the quote in the first instance.

Take Stuart. He has a Porsche. When his windscreen cracked, he thought it would be a simple process of get it replaced and the insurance company will pay for it. He called his insurance company and was given a Glass Claims Helpline number which, when he dialed it, took him directly to National Windscreens. After a brief chat about the situation he was is, he established that National Windscreens were offering him a pattern part; not a genuine Porsche windscreen. It also became clear that the person to whom he was speaking was not familiar with the model his car, a 993. He asked if they had anyone there who was experienced in working on 993s and he got the impression that they weren’t as confident as someone who was. Stuart went back to his insurance company and expressed his concerns adding that he would rather the work was done by a Porsche windscreen specialist, particularly given the well documented issues around 993 windscreen replacement. Initially, they said no stating that they had confidence in National Windscreens’ ability to replace windscreens. Stuart drew their attention to the poor rating they had on Trust Pilot. 63% of the reviews were rated as ‘bad’. He went a step further and referred to Indeed, and employment related search engine and highlighted that 24 of the 58 reviews (from former employees) rated National Windscreens one star out of a possible five. Stuart demonstrated that had he had know this information when the policy was proposed to him, he probably would not have accepted.

Reviews are subjective. They are often not representative of the reality. However, from a consumer point of view the person representing that business, is the business and the testimonial therefore, will be based on that experience. One thing we cannot argue is that many reviews are questionable. Some are also irrational. The Great Wall of China has more than 9,000 Google Reviews, with an average rating of 4.2 stars. Not bad for an ancient wonder of the world. But you can’t please everyone. “Not very tall. Or big. Just sayin. I kinda liked it. Sort of,” wrote one vistor of the structure, which stretches thousands of miles. Another complained, “I don’t see the hype in this place it’s really run down and old … why wouldn’t you update something like this? No USB plug ins or outlets anywhere.” But reviews help others make decisions. Consumers use them to vet their options. Nobody wants custard on their main course, so if there’s any way they can safeguard against it, a customer review might just be what tips the decision for or against.

We want to feel secure in our decision-making processes.

Very few people write reviews. It’s a very small percentage; something like 15 people out of every 1,000 on average. Should we be relying on these people if we’re part of the other 985? What if they’re mostly true? Auto Windscreens do very well in their Trust Pilot rating: 77% rate them as ‘excellent’ and 15%: as ‘bad’. Similarly, 66% of Autoglass reviews are rated as ‘excellent’ and 12%: bad. Nationwide Windscreen Services (56% bad) and National Windscreens (63%) don’t fare so well.

Where the reviews are left also makes a difference. Facebook and Google Reviews are among the other popular review platforms. They are not just indicative of the reviewer, but some will allow images to be uploaded giving a broader assessment of the circumstances. Many reviews are also capricious and often say more about the author than the vendor. Perversely, if the numbers are pointing to the wrong end of the ratings scale, isn’t that more telling?

We can write off a smaller percentage of reviews as indiscretions or published disgruntled customers, or even malicious (from competitors for example) but when the swell of opinion is telling you not to use that service, why would you let someone railroad you into doing so?

If who works on your car is important to you, pertinent questions should be asked before policy inception although this in itself is not often easy depending on who you are speaking to or that the policy is an off-the-shelf package. When triggering an insurance claim you find yourself restricted by freedom of choice (in terms of who replaces the windscreen) or how much the settlement is (such as policy capping or increased excess) it’s prudent to have that conversation before accepting the proposal. Make that informed decision. It’s all very well saving a few quid on the cheapest quote, or adding another vehicle to a multi-car policy, but does the product give you what you want it to in the event of a claim? These all become very awkward questions later on, and whilst there is a way to get around those restrictions, it’s far easier to have it all in place beforehand.




Windscreen Wipers

American inventor Mary Anderson is credited with designing the first operational windscreen wiper in 1903. In Anderson’s patent, she described her invention as a ‘window cleaning device’ for electric cars and other vehicles. The windscreen wiper has since remained one of the very few parts of a motor car which has lasted for well over one-hundred years virtually unchanged.

Why hasn’t anyone come up with a more hi-tech solution for clearing rain and water from windscreens than a rubber squeegee?

The Simple Windscreen Wiper

Until there is a radical breakthrough, we have to rely on this simple design. A flexible ‘blade’ is the best way to remove a coating of liquid from glass; when fluid (air, water, whatever) moves against a surface, the fluid in contact with the surface doesn’t move, it ‘sticks’ to the surface. As you move away from the surface, the speed of the fluid increases until it is at the same speed as the flow.

The concept of hydrophobic coatings is a great idea for glass, but airflow is still needed to make them most effective. The ‘beading up’ of water is the nano-coating working to repel the liquid but until there is force (airflow) the bead will not move as effectively as it is being repelled in all directions to prevent it from rolling away. Industrial rubber products like these are what keeps your windshield intact.

For now, long live windscreen wipers.

Leaking Windscreen Issue: Land Rover Discovery 5.

Third generation LR Discovery (L462; 2017–present)

Images of a common issue with the current crop of Discos showing where the windscreens are leaking from, and why.


Crackle Glaze

This crackle-glaze patch indicates an issue with the substrate; this shiny appearance is all of the adhesion promoter (primer) which would have been applied to the glass surface before the polyurethane adhesive ( “PUR” ) was introduced to bond the windscreen to the car.

2
Cut PUR

This image shows the ‘cut’ PUR against the crackle-glazed PUR confirming that the issue is not so much in the product, but the application of it.


Substrate

The PUR in the images has clearly bonded to the car. The problem isn’t there; it’s on the glass surface. The above image shows more of the crackle-glaze (to the left) and the silver band has been exposed by where it peeled off from. The ‘failure’ is either in the application of primer (was still wet when the PUR was introduced) or that the glass surface is – or was – contaminated. Given that the overwhelming majority of leaking Disco windscreens are in the same place (along the top of the windscreen) and that the bond around the rest of the screen is good, the non-adhesion problem is localised and therefore indicative of contamination. This by no means is definitive and is not based on thorough tests in laboratory conditions. However, the telltale signs are present: peeling of primer and/or PUR; the upper trim which comes stuck to the windscreen also peels off easily; when the affected area is tested for contamination there is evidence of something greasy.

The shiny appearance on the image to the right shows the kind of shape you would get if you wiped through a wet product. Furthermore, if you ignore the primer or PUR not sticking to the glass, the trim (which is attached with very strong double-sided tape) also failed to stick to the glass:

The proliferation of this problem in the same model, in the same place and all showing the same characteristics points to one problem.

Moving forward, the correct course of action is to replace the windscreen. This is largely to negate the issue reoccurring as we do not know what the substrate was contaminated with; at what stage it happened; what products were used in the preparation and subsequent bonding of the windscreen, and how good (or not) the rest of the windscreen bond line is. A new windscreen, from Land Rover, properly prepared eradicates any further problems. That said, the existing [contaminated] windscreen can be removed and can be reinstalled. Extra care, appropriate materials and products are needed, but it can be done successfully. Products such as neutralising agents to rid the substrate of all contaminants and a strong adhesive to reinstate the upper trim (it cannot be bought separately).

Ready to re-attach upper trim

With the upper trim reattached, the ‘refurbished’ windscreen can be refitted.

Leaking Disco 5 Windscreen: done.

Insurance Won’t Allow Genuine Parts?

Are you insured with Admiral insurance? Have you claimed for a cracked windscreen? Did they allow a genuine – OE – replacement? Did you know about the three year rule?

Admiral’s guide [under Windscreen Damage] states:

“If your car is three years old or more, we may decide to repair it with recycled parts, or with parts which have not been made by the car’s manufacturer, but are of a similar standard.”

Interesting use of the word, ‘may’ which suggests it could be subject to discretion, visit My Car Insurance Quote to see their policies. The reality is, they will not allow an OE windscreen replacement. Technically, the claim settlement does not include any ‘in conjunction with’ parts, such as clips, mouldings or trims. The installer has to absorb that cost.

The Twist.

Go to the Damage to Your Car section of the same set of documents and the wording is quite different:

“We will only repair your car with parts made by the vehicles manufacturer. If any parts are no longer available, we will only pay the cost shown in the manufacturer’s latest price guide together with reasonable fitting costs. “

It’s not just in the wording. Here is a new tailgate fitted to a 2008 Peugeot 207 in for a crash repair at an Admiral-approved bodyshop:

Why should windscreens – and glass – be any different? Surely the same principle should apply in both claims? Why the disparity? If an 11 year-old car can have genuine body panels fitted as part of a claim, why then does the indemnity not extend to a four year-old car for a windscreen?

The Politics of Envy?

If you haven’t passed a shop with a chalkboard displaying the message you might have seen it splashed across a viral message being passed around on social media:

When you buy from a small business, you are not helping a CEO buy a third holiday home.

You are helping a little girl get dance lessons, a little boy get his team jersey, Mums & Dads put food on the table.

Thanks for shopping local.

– unknown

Supporting and empowering small businesses is very much up my strasse. The idea of buying local in the shadow of the dominance of larger corporations is central to what I believe in as a professional, and what I do every day. Therefore I should agree with the sentiment; and I do, but not in the way that it is pitched on these posts. Every time I see someone share something like the quote above and picture below (asking us to LIKE and SHARE) my heart pumps purple piss.

Boiler
Boiler

  1. What about the the thousands of employees of those large corporations? Each individual – employed by that CEO’s business – relies on the wage that the corporation provides; they too may have daughters in dance lessons, or a son pining for a football shirt. That employee too is working to put food on the table. Let’s swerve the big business and put those people on the dole! Yay.
  2. What happens if we all cave in to the sentiments on the ‘shared’ post and only buy from small shops? Small shops which will as a result get bigger and will then need to employ more staff, move to bigger premises, etc. When do we stop buying from THEM? The question is relevant because will will have to, as the CEO of this once small shop will be doing much better now that everyone is avoiding the big companies. Tesco started out as a small, local business.
  3. The message also implies that by supporting a big business you are supporting greed, or that success should be limited, or even punishable.
  4. It also suggests a sense of entitlement, ‘buy from us because we’re small’ and not because we’re any good. Buy from us because you should support us. One could argue, that buying your weekly shop from one of the leading supermarkets you are helping significantly more people than buying from your local corner shop.

Whilst the ‘buy local’ message isn’t hateful, it conveys the wrong sentiments. It portrays the politics of envy. The CEO has done well therefore must be bad and therefore needs to be punished. We used to look up to the people who did well for themselves, but now we should not like them? The focal point for the CEO’s success of that ‘third holiday home’ is also unrealistic. Nobody has to be a CEO to have or even want a holiday home. A few of my friends have a holiday home either in the UK (by the coast) or abroad. This might be timeshare; a comfy little apartment in a development or even a secluded house with its own pool. Isn’t this what many of us strive for? Why should the success of a CEO become the subject of such scrutiny?

Economics

Again, this message or supporting local businesses ‘because it helps the economy’ isn’t hateful but it distracts from reality. Money into the economy is money into the economy, but the message in pink chalk above doesn’t reflect that. It could however, promote benefits or reasons to buy from a small local business. The most important benefit is for its longevity and survival. Support your local pubs, restaurants, cafes and shops and they stay around, which means they pay business rates as well as making it a better place to live, which in turn makes your house worth a bit more.

Happy Dancers

When you buy from a small business, an actual person does a little happy dance because they’re on their way to becoming a success; success that will hopefully enable them to live a more comfortable life…

Your reason to buy local or from a large corporation should be based on much more than just who benefits from your business. There’s a very strong argument to be had on why in some cases it is better to buy from a larger business.

When you buy from the one-man-band, you’re buying into that person who, hopefully, is pitching a business which shows exactly why they’re in business. Talk to a wide range of small business owners and you’ll undoubtedly hear varying reasons why they started on their own, “I was sick and tired of feathering someone else’s nest” or “my boss wasn’t paying me enough”. Very few, in fact it’s rare to hear of someone’s passion to deliver what they couldn’t whilst working within the confines of employment. “I wanted to offer a service which went beyond creating the conditions of a sale” etc.

Please don’t buy based on such lazy marketing or these meaningless and thoughtless messages which do not actually give a clear – and good – reason why you should buy from that business.

Comments and questions are always welcome. Please use the comments box below or email me directly.

Thank you.


Fitting a Windscreen (or Glass) After Repaint


Whether it’s a remedial (rust) repair, full body repaint or crash repair there is one small detail that many bodyshops – even windscreen installers – are overlooking.

If there are remnants of the old Polyurethane adhesive they must either be masked before painting or removed completely. Painting over cured urethane is not recommended as paint – or primer – does not adhere to it. From the moment fresh PUR is applied to it, it becomes a floating bit of paint ‘skin’ and will not form a strong bond once it cures. Urethane however, will stick to cured paint (provided it has been allowed a minimum of 24 hours after bake).

Before bonding to a freshly painted surface the ‘painted over urethane’ needs to be cut back to provide a suitable substrate. Any bare metal exposed must also be touched in with an adhesion promoter. For new, painted surfaces (ie where there is no old PUR) a line of primer is recommended by most manufacturers however it is more a belt-and-braces approach in a fast-fit environment for primer-less systems.

It is also important to allow enough time for the paint itself to cure. If the painting has been done in an oven, at least 24 hours is required after bake (to cool down). The longer it is left, the better.

A Motor Insurance Rant

Not all insurance companies are bad, but the ones I have dealt with recently represent the industry.

I’ve insured my van with the same insurer (broker and underwriter) for the last four years. No claims, no convictions and not even an enquiry which could be classed as an unclaimed loss, yet the premium went from £580 (approx) in year one, to £660 in YR2; £820 in YR3 and year four made me a £999.00 fool for being a loyal customer. This year they wanted more or less the same so I had a moan about the whole thing whilst reminding them that the SAME vehicle is now worth considerably less now than when they first insured it.

At first I got the expected, ‘insurance premium tax’ patter. I resisted and was subsequently offered the ‘fraudulent claims’ explanation; the chap – Iain – concurred that us honest types are getting shafted for the pleasure. Furthermore, insurance companies shafting each other when they can made for quite a depressing conversation which ended with me giving my now former insurer the elbow as I head for all that I could find on the internet; I found a few attractive quotes; the best one was less than half of what I was paying (or was invited to pay if I remained a loyal customer).

I opted to go with the cheapest option simply because I was familiar with the underwriter having had direct experience with them dealing with windscreen claims for customers, and also the issuing broker is well known in motoring circles. However, as I navigated my way through the questions I gathered a few of my own along the way:

1. The proposal included a replacement vehicle in the event of being without mine while it was being repaired. But when I got to the checkout stage to pay, a list of bolt-ons appeared on the same page, such as: cover for tools; breakdown recovery; key care; mis-fuel cover and… replacement vehicle cover. I clicked on the ‘more’ link and this additional product offered exactly what the policy included as standard. How many people would have clicked on this and “for just an additional £17.00” added the extra cover which is included in the proposal?

2. Throughout the whole proposal stage, I couldn’t find anything which told me more about the policy itself. In fact, I had to go through quite a bit of jargon to (eventually) find who the underwriter was in this instance. There was, however, no mention of who the approved repairer(s) was/were; no mention of what would happen in the event of a windscreen claim other than the words: you are covered (the point being, if there are restrictions on what parts will be used; who you can – or cannot – use to have them fitted or if there was a capping on the settlement if I basically didn’t adhere to the agreement (which I was struggling to understand).

3. After (reluctantly) accepting the terms I was sent a confirmation of policy inception. However no documents could be sent until a couple of points had been verified. The first was my occupation. I selected ‘windscreen fitter’ from the available categories and stated that I am employed by a company which I am also Director of. 24 hours into this new cover, a conversation with the insurance representative took place so that she could clear up some confusion over this. The other was that she had the vehicle down as a 4Motion. There may be a (very slim) chance that I entered this information incorrectly but I am 99.9% certain I didn’t (it was indexed from the VRN as a Highline T5 so flux knows where they got the 4 Motion bit from). The result of this meant that because of “these ammendments to the policy” there is a supplement to pay. A demand for and additional £46.00 is to be paid in the next SEVEN DAYS if cover is to continue.

4. A question of an old SP30 came up (out of nowhere as I didn’t mention it at any stage; a spent conviction dated 2012) and I said it shouldn’t be considered. She said they will take my word for it. The issue here is, if there is a doubt now, it might be a factor in the event of a claim, so if we are about to enter into an agreement why not put it beyond doubt? Hire companies do it before you rent a car from them (chuck ’em you NI number and they’ll run a check) so why be so flippant about it? Yes, the onus is on me to disclose but I didn’t mention it anywhere at any stage (on the basis that I am not required to after seven years although I’m sure it is ‘spent’ after four/five).

Half of me says I got a good quote to begin with so just let them have the 46-quid. The other half is saying no, b*ll*cks.

How the flux can tweaking my occupation AND/OR confirming the van as a slightly lesser spec than they thought initially result in a higher premium?

What’s tipped me over the edge with all this is that I received not one but TWO calls about the SAME proposal 12 hours into the cover stating that I had qualified for an INTRODUCTORY DISCOUNT if I gave them the business.

Will someone get hold of the insurance industry and give it a good shake, please?

Ta.

Manufacturer Warranty: Windscreens

 

 

I replaced a windscreen for an Audi dealer, however, there was nothing wrong with the glass. I asked what the change was for, and it was pointed out that there was an issue with the automatic rain and light sensor. So why was the windscreen cited as the issue?

In his report, the investigating Audi technician concluded that the sensor was not functioning due to the car having a non-genuine windscreen replacement; the (aftermarket screen in it was made by AGC Automotive). As the car was to be sold whilst still under manufacturer warranty the investigation ended there, and could not be resumed until a genuine, Audi branded glass was in place. I duly obliged. However, shortly into the strip-down I discovered what the cause of the issue really was: a damaged rain sensor. The previous installer had damaged the circuit board inside (there were screwdriver marks in the casing).

The car in question was registered in 2016, so much of its warranty would have still been in place; just as long as any parts replaced were authentic, Audi branded.

Rain Sensor 2

Windscreen Rain Sensor

 

Another similar situation unfolded when a Volkswagen main agent was investigating a sensitivity issue on a rain sensor on a fairly new Golf; the owner said the automatic wipers didn’t seem to react as well as he though they should. The VW technician noted the windscreen, an aftermarket version by Saint Gobain (Sekurit) and quickly surmised that it was the cause of the problem. I went along to give a second opinion.

The first place to look for obvious things that could be wrong with a poorly functioning rain sensor is the rain sensor module. I removed the rear view mirror assembly and immediately saw that the rain sensor was not seated properly in the mounting bracket. A push and a click later, the wiper sensitivity was restored to optimum level. However, VW did tell the Golf owner that if there was an issue with the rain sensor (or windscreen) whilst the car was under manufacturer warranty, it would not be covered owing to the non-genuine windscreen in the car.

Whilst these examples may seem excessive, windscreens can be much more complex than the two highlighted here. With radio antennae; heater elements; GPS hardware and software with the latest Garmin update; Lane Departure Warning sensors; Autonomous Braking hardware; Head Up Display and more, the windscreen is no longer just a piece of glass shielding the car’s occupants from wind and flies. The best available parts, especially if the car is still under warranty (or the more technology connected to the glass) will always be what the vehicle manufacturer endorses.

 

Pillar Gap

Pillars of good housing

What makes a Good Home – a stable place where people can flourish and that they can genuinely afford? Natalie Elphicke draws on new Housing & Finance Institute research to outline four key elements that characterise good housing provision and on which government policy should be based.

Housing is the most important aspect of public policy. It doesn’t matter where you live, how old you are or what your background is – everyone needs a roof over their head. But a home is more than simply bricks and mortar. In our latest report, A Time for Good Homes, developed with Radian Housing Association, we have gone beyond bricks and mortar to look at what makes a Good Home. Pulling together research from Shelter, Citizens Advice, Resolution Foundation, JRF, ONS, English Housing Survey, Savills and many others, we have characterised the elements and impact of a Good Home.

A Good Home is built around ‘the four pillars of housing’ – these are Stability, Flexibility, Affordability, and Opportunity.

Stability

A Good Home is a stable home. A stable home can be a home that you own or a well-managed home that you rent. It’s one in which you can put down roots, concentrate on your job and bring up your family. The traditional British housing model of home ownership and social rented housing has long provided stable housing for the overwhelming majority of households. However, over the last 15 years, this traditional model has been undermined by the rise of the private rented housing sector – a much less stable form of housing than home ownership or social housing. According to the English Housing Survey, the average stay in private rented housing is less than four years which is around: three times lower than that of social renters; three and a half times lower than that of the average tenure across all tenure types; and four times and a half times lower than that of owner occupiers.

Looking back 30 years ago, 90% of people lived in a stable home; 20 years ago, 90% of people lived in a stable home; 15 years ago, 90% of people lived in a stable home. Only 10% lived in private rented housing. From 2002 that started to change. Since 2002, there has been a steady decline in home ownership but not a commensurate rise in social housing. Instead, there has been a sharp transfer from owner occupation into the private rented sector and, over this period, a further proportionate decline in social housing. Over the period from 2002 over 2.5 million extra private rented households were formed, more than the total number of all extra households in that period. In 2017, for the first time in three decades, the number of people living in a stable home has fallen below 80% of all households. Proportionally, that change affects around 2.4 million homes over that period. In 2017, around 2.4 million fewer homes, and around 6 million less people, are in stable homes than 15 years ago.

Flexibility

If the first pillar of a Good Home is stability, is it possible to have housing stability and also provide the second pillar of a Good Home, that of flexibility? The reason for a healthy private rented sector is often said to be that it supports labour mobility. Certainly, that has been one of the key traditional roles of the private rented housing market. Flexibility in the workforce is an essential component of a successful economy. However, as private renting has rocketed, the proportion of people moving for work has fallen. Since 2000, the proportion of people moving for work is down by a quarter. Why is this? High house prices, high transaction costs (principally stamp duty), stricter mortgage rules and older generations having fewer appropriate housing options. On average, homeowners are now moving only twice after their first purchase – half as often as a decade ago.

And it’s not just homeowners who are moving less often, but tenants too. Only 1.5% of private renters are likely to move employer and region today, fewer than in 2001. In the 1990s, younger people who were renting were more than 5.5 times more likely to move than people in their age group who owned. That particular mobility measure has fallen to around 4.6 times today. Housing flexibility is important because workers who do not move can be up to £2,000 worse off than workers who do. Improve your garden and backyard curb appeal with playground turf.

To improve flexibility in the housing market, there needs to be a better understanding of where the rented sector can best fulfil the economic role of labour mobility. This suggests a twin track approach to flexibility is required: supporting appropriate housing of all types in high growth areas in line with the local industrial strategy; and reducing reliance on the private rented sector where it is damaging labour mobility or not providing Good Homes.

Affordability

A Good Home is an affordable home. An affordable home is a home that a person can enjoy and pay the housing costs in a usual month without significant financial strain, which supports financial independence, allowing a person to build up savings or equity.

The two forms of tenure that have traditionally provided housing affordability are social housing and home ownership. It is much discussed that access to both of these tenures has been significantly reduced for the younger generations. The two age groups most affected are the 25-34 and 35-44 age groups, with falls of over 20% over the last 15 years. The latter group, primarily because those in private rent remained in private rent as they themselves grew older over this period. They did not progress into home ownership nor benefit from the availability of social housing in the way previous generations had done.

In the private rented sector, the highest proportion of household income spent on rent is for those aged 16-34, at 38% of income. The younger age groups face a triple difficulty in that they have less access to social housing, less access to home ownership and pay the highest proportion of their income on rent.

Annoying Sales Call Assassination

Quote

 

 

 

Mancunian bloke: “Can I speak to the business owner?”

Certainly. What’s your call in connection with?

“My name’s Gary and I’m calling from The Business Consultants. It’s a quick business enquiry about…”

[I interrupt his introduction] I can help you with that; do you have a registration number?

“What for?”

Your car…

“What about my car?”

So it’s not your car?

“What car?”

For someone who said it was a quick business enquiry, you’re dragging your feet a bit. How about a model and year?

“You what, mate?”

The car. What model is it?

“Whose car?”

Do you even know, yourself?

“Know what?”

Whose car it is?

“Why are you asking me about a car?”

…because you’ve called a windscreen replacement business and I cannot help *you* unless you help *me* identify the vehicle.

[he hung up] Job done. Killed him.

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