On his bullish website he calls himself The Profits Wizard and writes: “I run five successful companies, I’ve learned from my many mistakes and I’ve given more business consultations than anyone in the UK (over 3,000 at the last count.) Through keynote speeches, workshops and masterclasses I’m sharing the secrets of building a scaleable property business.”
However, the Peterborough Tenants’ Union has taken issue with Nawaz, writing a lengthy letter to him and requesting him to “publicly explain” how his work is compatible with their interpretation of Labour policies.
The Tenants’ Union says its objective is “to organise and use our collective voice to win better living conditions, fair rents, and broader home ownership” and it signs its open letter to Nawaz - which its has also sent to the media - with the words “in solidarity.”
Our members have noted your website via which you promote your services instructing subscribers how to maximise their profit from property – in particular, from buying and selling properties, and renting them out.
As a Union, we are disappointed that the leader of the local Labour Party, a party which purports to represent and work in the interests of ordinary working people (very few being landlords and property developers), seems to be undertaking a scheme so incongruous with those aims.
We would like to give you the opportunity, in replying to this letter, to publicly explain how you think such a promotion is compatible with the Labour Party’s 2019 manifesto commitments, and its broader values. We would also call on you to outline the Peterborough Labour Group’s policies and plans relating to housing.
Specifically, if the Labour Group was to take control of the City Council how would the Party:—
- reduce homelessness in the City;
- ensure private rented accommodation is of a high standard and affordable to someone earning an average income; and
- reduce the impact of HMO and Air B’n’B [sic] conversions on housing standards, overcrowding, and rent prices.
We have written this letter to you specifically however, as so many of our members (and renters in general) are supporters of the Labour Party, and vote for Labour representatives because they believe it would be in their interests to do so.
The Labour Party’s 2019 election manifesto renewed the Party’s 1945 pledge to treat housing as a right and stated that the housing market is denying people this right by treating “homes as financial assets rather than places to live.” The principle of housing as a human right, not as a financial asset, is something that the Union has also committed to, in its Rulebook.
Given this area of common ground between our organisation and yours, you can understand why members were disappointed to see you, on your website, specifically and repeatedly talk about houses as an asset from which to extract profit, and espouse your own skill at doing so.
Our members were similarly shocked to read your boasts about having “done better than ever in the last 12 months” due to the pandemic. Those who have lost loved ones or been afflicted with serious illness during this period will perhaps understandably not share in your enthusiasm for your having made nearly half a million in housing profit in that time.
Renters, especially those in HMOs, have been some of the most seriously impacted by the Coronavirus Regulations, seeing their already below average incomes squeezed even more. We would ask if any of your profits in the last 12 months have come from rental income and what you have done to ease the difficulties of any of your tenants.
According to the British Election Study, at the 2017 general election renters swung towards supporting the Labour Party, particularly young renters. On top of this, YouGov polling shows that the majority of Labour supporters are in favour of action to reduce house prices. Do you think that your actions have undermined the trust placed in your Party by renters?
Our members would be very grateful to hear your answers, and we will be asking similar policy questions to the other leaders of Peterborough’s main political parties.
Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to this letter, and we hope that your answers will allay the concerns raised amongst our members by your website.
We will be sharing a copy of this letter with local media and on social media.