Welcome to a special edition of my Landlords Barometer which I am dedicating to a very important issue and also to the memory of Danny Butcher.
It was with deep sadness that we learned recently that a “pupil” of a high profile property investment trainer had taken his own life. Danny Butcher had only been married for three months and borrowed £18,000 to start his property investment journey with a trainer who made a lot of promises – but apparently did not fulfil on them.
Although Danny begged for extra support and then a refund, this was also refused.
Sadly, on Saturday, October 26, Danny made the decision to take his own life.
Property Tribes received the following statement from his widow, Charlotte: “Danny and I talked so much that week and I said we would find a way through it, we would chip away at the debt and look at our position again in a year.
”We made a plan as to how we would realistically do that and still on Saturday night he made the decision to do what he did. You can’t take a decision like that back.
“If we can just stop one person in the the same situation from doing what Dan did after reading his story and make him realise there is always another option, then he won’t have died in vain.”
There is a Facebook group dedicated to this topic. https://www.facebook.com/groups/794312204318704/
This tragic event brings into sharp focus the need to regulate the “wealth creation” industry.
For ten years now, Property Tribes and its community have been doing whatever we can to create awareness of the issues surrounding what we call the “wealth creation” industry, as well as producing due diligence resources and knowledge around this part of the sector.
However, sadly it appears that it is not enough.
Given all the significant financial losses up to and including the recent tragic loss of life that can be directly attributed to people getting involved in the “wealth creation” sector, there has to be something more that can be done to STOP this from happening again.
Let us be clear – Property Tribes supports authentic education and there is always a place for this and we stand behind it and those companies who provide it.
But selling what amounts to a ticket to see a unicorn to vulnerable people of limited financial means is totally deplorable behaviour.
These “pupils” are getting into debt to undertake expensive education and mentoring with what appears to be a distinct lack of support and duty of care by the trainers or mentors.
These “pupils” are then left high and dry and even shut out from the mentor’s network if they dare to seek support or complain and, according to his family, this is what had a direct impact on Danny taking his own life.
Danny not only lost money that he could ill afford to spend (£18,000 was borrowed on credit cars and loans) with nothing to show for it, he also lost his HOPE for a better future for his new wife and family.
This sector does not just need some form of kite mark. It needs robust regulation and a route to redress if things go wrong or services are not delivered upon.
To get the ball rolling, my husband Nick spoke to our long time friend Paul Shamplina of Landlord Action about recent events and what we, as a caring and responsible part of the sector, can do to ensure that we limit the exposure and risk of newcomers getting involved in what can only be described as disgraceful business practices and ethics.
These newbies can end up spending what amounts to the deposit on a property for “advice, education, and mentoring” that is not delivered upon and/or does not work in the current market conditions.
What are the EYE community’s thoughts on this important issue?