Meet The Landlords TV programme – fair representation?

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Last night I finally got around to watching a TV programme I recorded on BBC a few weeks ago called “Meet The Landlords“.

I was asked to appear on the programme when it was first considered but when I told the reporter what managing my portfolio entailed he wasn’t really that interested. Who could blame him? My tenants stay with me for years, I outsource most things and for that reason I doubt I spend more than a couple of hours every week looking after my property portfolio. It makes me enough to live on, my tenants are all very happy and neither me nor my tenants are ever very likely to make good viewing on the Jeremy Kyle show.

The appearances from landlords and tenants featured on “Meet the Landlords” though was a proper rogues gallery. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the programming team had stood out the Jeremy Kyle recording studio’s a picked the worst of the worst people. Perhaps they offered them a free Maccie D’s in return for them and their landlords to make another appearence on the telly? LOL

The programme featured:-

  • Two amateur landlords whose tenants had not been paying rent for months,
  • a landlord calling himself the HMO Daddy who runs what I can only describe as “doss houses” for the dreggs of society,
  • and a woman from a North Eastern letting agency who let a property for a private landlord to rent to a drunken ASBO tenant who couldn’t even be bothered to turn up sober and then broke down into tears when presented with a property which he clearly realised he didn’t deserved to live in

If the BBC wanted to make a documentary revealing broken Britian this was a success. If they wanted to portray the Private Rented Sector then sorry, in my opinion it was a massive #FAIL

If the two amateur landlords had employed a decent letting agent or spent some time reading forums such as this one they wouldn’t have found themselves thousands of pounds down in rent arrears. One of the landlords was quite clearly on the verge of a mental breakdown but the hypocrisy of her story was that whilst her tenants were not paying the rent due to her, she was falling into arrears with her own landlord and prioritising subsidising her own mortgage! No wonder Paul Shamplina for Landlord Action has such a thriving Tenant Eviction business. He was one of the few people on the programme who came across as being decent.

I’ve heard about the HMO Daddy selling coaching and mentoring and I had always wondered why a landlord who claimed to be successful would do that. In my mind, you mentor people either to grow your own business (i.e. employees) or you do it when you’ve made enough money to become truly altruistic and because you thrive on helping other to achieve or solve problems which you’ve previously encountered. Having watched this programme I think I may have worked it out. Perhaps “landlord Jim” needs to sell a blueprint of his “secret recipe”, or a positive spin on what he would really like it to be like, in order to subsidise the appalling behaviour of his appalling tenants living in his appalling properties, all of which were exposed on National TV?

I’ve read some very positive views elsewhere on the web about the lady who worked for the letting agency and dealt with the ASBO tenant. Yes she was grounded, caring and very patient. What I can’t get my head around is how it can possible be in the interests of any landlord to put a drunken lout like that tenant into what seemed to be a relatively decent property. Fair enough, it was explained that the rent was guaranteed to be paid directly by the Council due to this chaps “issues” shall we say but come on! Anybody with half a brain can see this chap was on the road to nowhere but prison. If that house isn’t completely trashed within a year then I will eat my words but I’d happily lay a bet that the damage he causes to the property and the distress he causes to the poor people living in close proximity to him will not come close to the rental income. What man in his right mind would think his wife and children would feel safe living to a sexist drunk like him? The guy believed he was God’s gift to women and obviously has no respect for society or the law either. The chap needed to be institutionalised in my opinion, for his own safety and for others, but I suppose that’s the result of what was badged “Care in the Community”.

The real shocker for me was the prostitute tenant who gave up possession of her property without going to Court in return for a tenner. Yes she signed some papers but it was pretty obvious to me that she did that under duress and whilst under the influence of drugs, alcohol or both.

Maybe I’m lucky, perhaps I will be labelled as a snob for writing this review, but the “Meet the Landlords” TV programme was nothing like the Britain I know and love and certainly not representative of what I have witnessed as a result of being a landlord for the last 24 years!

What were your thoughts?Meet The Landlords

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Comments

  • Meet the Landlords really did give me nightmares so on one level as sensationalist TV it did work.

    I did feel sorry for the unfortunate few people shown as you don’t know what lead them to become in such a bad way (mental illness, trauma, depression etc). The family that went abroad and could not get back into their trashed house must have gone through hell.

    It was only really Paul Shamplina and Landlord Action that came away showing true professionalism and was in my mind an hour long advert for them as the first port of call for Landlords in difficulty. Maybe Paul can tell us how many phone calls he got afterwards. My guess is it was off the hook.


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  • I found the whole thing quite depressing and turned it towards the end. Felt sorry for the amateurs though. Wasn’t exactly a great advert for HMO!


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  • I haven’t seen the programme yet, but I have read a few accounts. I am a client of the agent with the drunk, and they do a decent job. The reason I use them is that my first two properties, in a poor area of Middlesbrough, were bought through a portfolio building company who did a lousy job. The area was almost OK initially but has been driven downhill by the council’s Selective Licensing policy, which has moved the problem tenants from one area to another, where my two props are. The agents who looked after my four M’boro props aren’t keen on this area any more so I moved to an outfit who have set up their stall to deal with that market. You’ve met JP who owns the firm and I’m sure you’d agree that his systems are impressive.

    Given the option of doing it again, I’d still buy in Middlesbrough but not in that area. I’d take the advice of a good, local letting agent before buying and go for something more like one of my other two, where a poor but decent family live in an ex-council terraced house. They cost under 50 grand and the 3 bed LHA rate for the area is £110 per week, so I get a yield of over 11%. Good LHA tenants stay for years and treat the place as a home. The trick is buying in an area that will attract and keep them.


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  • Hi Mark,

    I reviewed the “Meet the Landlords” programme live on Property Tribes at the time of the broadcast, and we have since had a huge amount of comments and opinion:

    http://www.propertytribes.com/new-bbc-1-programme-meet-the-landlords-t-8517-2.html#pid97891

    I must confess to being quite shocked at some of your comments though.

    On a recent thread on here, you were keen for everyone to be open minded about the lower end of the market, but now you appear to have changed your mind!

    EVERY tenant deserves a warm, clean, and safe place to live, no matter what their personal circumstances.

    If you treat people with respect, like Castledene’s Bev did, then more often than not, people will act with respect. Perhaps this is the only kindness or example they have ever been set?

    If you treat people like animals and put them in dysfunctional accommodation, like the HMO Daddy does, then they will kick against that.

    It was clear from the programme that the HMO Daddy does not do any mid-term property inspections, otherwise he would be aware of the damp and mould problems in his rooms, which are dangerous to tenants’ health.

    Whatever anyone thinks of the programme, it got people talking and that has got to be a good thing.


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  • I have indeed met John Paul, the owner of Castledean, many times, and I believe he is a thoroughly decent chap and very professional too. I do question the wisdom his company housing that one particular ASBO tenant though. Only time will tell whether it’s the break that guy needs to turn his life around or whether my predictions will come true. I still feel he would be better served to be institutionalised for his own and everybody else’s benefit though. Sorry folks but it’s just my opinion, I wouldn’t want him in one of my properties and I’m sure there must be more deserving folk looking for the property he’s probably now moved into. Perhaps somebody more like that lovely lady on the programme who was suffering from Cancer and her little boy? I also feel sorry for the ASBO tenants new neighbours.
    .
    Mark Alexander recently posted…Tenant Refused Deposit Back!My Profile


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  • Its good that so many people are talking about the programme and that was the objective for Holly from Blast Productions. I filmed a seperate pilot for this programme months and months ago, way before it was aired. The intention was to show the sharp end of the rental world and it did that. 2.4 million people tuned in.

    Take note that after 14 years, we have dealt with over 20,000 instructions evicting bad tenants and they are from all over the country and from every walk of life.


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  • Reply to the comment left by “Paul Shamplina” at “30/07/2013 – 15:43″:

    I fully appreciate that Paul. The most amazing story you ever told me was about the man who rented a prime London property for his mistress and never paid up. The pictures of you having clamped his Aston made me chuckle. I believe you managed to get some sort of legal claim to the car and have it sold to repay the debt to the landlord – your biggest recovery success ever if my memory serves me right?
    .
    Mark Alexander recently posted…The GOOD Landlords CampaignMy Profile


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  • Reply to the comment left by “Mark Alexander” at “30/07/2013 – 15:52″:

    Yes mark, you can still see a picture of the clamped Aston Martin on our website in total we were able to collect £92k, but unfortunately most tenants don’t own Aston Martins that we can clamp for unpaid rent.


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  • Paul Member Profile Deleted says:

    I think unfortunately you are correct Mark; I wouldn’t want ASBO man in my property.
    If a LA had put such a type in one of my properties I would have changed LA!!
    It is only natural that a certain nimbyist attitude will occur.
    As a LL don’t want irate neighbours complaining about my ASBO tenant; there is a possibility that taken to the extreme the council could shut my property down for letting.
    Yes I fully accept that these dysfunctional tenant types need to be housed; I just wouldn’t want them in ANY of my properties; so I guess I’m a nimby; but only from a business perspective.
    Mind you if I was an HMO Daddy type of LL then I guess I wouldn’t be bothered who I took on!!?
    These are the tenants that really need organised; protected accommodation, which would provide for ‘care in the community’
    As it stands presently these tenant types are just abandoned into the general population with NO real support.
    All govt has done is just privatise the hassle of dealing with these types when really these people should be managed by a social system which has a structure of care.
    NO PRS LL can provide those necessities!!
    Institutional care could be far better than it ever was.
    ‘Care in the community’ was all about cost saving and all the platitudes that were expressed at the time as to it being a better solution for dysfunctional members of society was so much bunk!
    Several member of the public have been murdered by these types who would formerly be in secure institutions!
    Choosing to run my business a certain way; there is NO way I would take on these tenant types as shown in this programme.
    The cancer lady I would take on; but she would not be able to afford my rents!


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  • Reply to the comment left by “Paul Barrett” at “30/07/2013 – 16:01″:

    I agree Paul, just imagine if the lady with Cancer and her little boy were housed next door to the drunken ASBO man!

    I can’t beleive that Care in the Community has worked,. As an example, it was stated that ASBO man had called 999 over 100 times for reasons as trivial as not having money for a taxi home, probably after after getting himself into such a state he couldn’t walk. How much has that cost the tax payer, not just in terms of call outs but the risk to life his actions have caused and also the expense of continually prosecuting him?
    .
    Mark Alexander recently posted…The GOOD Landlords CampaignMy Profile


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