Abercwmboi via Marbs…

Amidst my hectic schedule of bronzing myself, watching various female forms bronzing themselves, signing autographs and entertaining Tatiana and her friends to tea and a jam tart, I ‘occasionally’ logged into that pesky social media site known as Facebook, (honestly who has the time, or the inclination to tell the rest of the world what they are doing…)?  One of the more amusing posts (amongst the zillions of pictures of babies and small humans of varying degrees of cuteness posted by besotted parents and grandmothers), was that of “10 Freakiest Villages in Wales”.  Incidentally, some of the aforementioned, less cute offspring did come from some specific postcodes.

For those interested, Abercwmboi means ‘Mouth of the Boi Valley’ and Yns Y Bwl has no literal translation but does produce some good rugby players.  A notable omission from the list was Garndiffaith, a hamlet just a few minutes from Cwmbran (South Wales’ answer to Marbs).  The literal translation is ‘Desolation’ and if you have ever had the misfortune to be there in the months September through to August, then you would appreciate the accuracy of the title.  If you ever hear the words (warning) that someone is from, “Up the Garn”, then you tread very carefully whilst looking for their twelve fingers and third eye. In these PC times, it is good to have a laugh about/with my fellow proud Welshmen. I would chuckle just as much about a list of villages that included Chipping Camden, East Ilsley and Yarm.  The latter are all-and I speak from personal experience-very lovely places and I am sure that according to the local inhabitants there are many three-legged children a couple of miles down the road.

In these times, PC is a way of life; and I don’t mean those individuals following Sir Robert Peel into Crown Service.  As in any area of longitude or latitude, people here in Wales, actively and vocally discriminate against people from the next village or conurbation, with vendors, buyers and landlords stating emphatically that they don’t want someone as he (or she) is from somewhere that didn’t make it onto the “Freakiest Village” top ten.  As I discovered when listening to Radio 5 Live, this mentality is not restricted to this side of the Severn Bridge.  According to the report, people on zero hours contracts-some 1.4 million in the UK-are being discriminated against by landlords in the South East who do not want them as tenants.  When letting a property, one cannot discriminate against a potential tenant on the well-trodden grounds of race, sexuality, disability, gender etc.  Nor can one positively discriminate in favour of a tenant because they have a fantastic pair of…legs or some other Tatiana-esque attribute.  What one can do and indeed should do, as a professional agent, is say to a prospective tenant that neither you nor the outsourced referencing company think that the individual can afford the rent, whether they be a zero hours worker, self-employed, or in full time employment.

Are landlords in the South East discriminating against a large tranche of prospective tenants? No, they are making a business decision. It may, at first glance seem somewhat short-sighted but think about the contributory factors.  The rental market is still on fire in the South East of the country and there are vast numbers of very well paid individuals looking to rent.  Is choosing a tenant on a guaranteed £100k a year as opposed to an equally hard-working but zero hours contract worker being discriminatory?  No, it is called market forces.  Welcome to the real world.

If we took this approach to the area where we operate there would be alot of empty houses.  An agent has to adopt a balanced view, appreciating local market forces.  A zero hours worker who has always paid their rent on the nail for the past few years will not qualify for the landlord to buy a rent guarantee policy (in the event of non-payment of the rent, the policy would pay the landlord up to twelve months equivalent monetary value to the rent), but would seem like a good bet to me.  Whether a potential tenant is from Fochrhiw, Aberbargoed or the moon and has eight fingers on each hand, the agent having received the referencing should discuss it (and any other associated factors), with the landlord before coming to a final decision that may or may not allow the ‘prospective’ part to be dropped and replaced with ‘current’ or ‘new’.

And finally, politically incorrect question of the day (if not the decade): ‘What is the definition of a virgin from…(insert village/locality of choice)?’

Answer: Someone who can outrun her brother.