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Section 21: Sky News presenter and landlord apologises over ‘patronising’ interview with activist


Section 21: Sky News presenter and landlord apologises over ‘patronising’ interview with activist

Jayne Secker told a housing campaigner “it was not the landlord’s fault” that an average of £2,000 was required in fees to rent in London


In brief

  • A Sky News presenter has faced backlash for an interview on housing
  • Jayne Secker, told housing campaigner Kirsty Archer about why landlords aren't to blame
  • Secker is a landlord herself and used the interview to speak about her experience

A Sky News presenter apologised after they used an interview about housing to talk about issues they’d had with their tenants.

Ms Secker, who has been a director of a registered property company, said: “That’s just the housing market isn’t it, and the landlord would have the same issues if you decided to move out?”

She then went on to describe her own experiences as a property owner.

“Some would say – and I am speaking as somebody who has rented flats [and] who also rents flats out – that especially with the younger generation in terms of renters, you very often find that tenants don’t really know how to do a great deal in homes,” she added.

Not warned

Ms Archer said on Twitter she was not warned that the presenter doing the interview would be a landlord herself, or that the former foreign correspondent would be drawing on these experiences.

Secker also said during the segment: “I, for example, have had tenants complaining because lights have popped, because they don’t know how to change light bulbs. I’ve had tenants complaining about the heating – they haven’t turned the boiler on.

Read more Section 21 notice: How changing Housing Act to ban ‘no-fault evictions’ will change renting

“It’s just very obvious things. If you lived in a home that you owned, nobody would be able to fix these things for you. They are just things that actually often require a bit of common sense.”

Addressing her interview subject once more, Secker asked: ”Have you found amongst your friends that you perhaps aren’t equipped with all the necessary skills to rent?”

MPs gave their support to Kirsty Archer after seeing the interview (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Fought back

Ms Archer hit back: “That’s a bit patronising really, I mean, we weren’t complaining about things like a lightbulb.

“If a landlord was getting pissed off by that would be that surely the reasonable thing to do would be to communicate with each other and resolve that.

“Why should the consequence of that [be] hitting the eject button and turning [tenants’] lives upside down like that?”

Shocked response

MP for Tottenham David Lammy responded to the interview online.

He said: “Shocked by the condescension and lack of humility here.

“Renting is not a choice. People need somewhere to live. The housing market – particularly in London – is broken. We need to re-balance the rules in favour of tenants.”

Ms Archer thanked everyone for their support on Twitter and said: “Wow. What a day. Just wanna say thank you for all the amazing support and kind words from everyone on here! It’s been a silver lining to a really s****y situation. And no I will not apologise for swearing lol.”

Labour MP for Crewe & Nantwich, Laura Smith, said: “As someone who has rented all my life-because guess what it’s tough for people to save money for a deposit whilst paying rent/bills etc-I am so disgusted at this presenters insinuation that renters just lack common sense.

“Try living in the real world! Well done Kirsty.”

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