A must-read for all landlords: A frustrated landlord speaks out

A must-read for all landlords: A frustrated landlord speaks out

9:38 AM, 26th March 2024, About 2 months ago 43

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A landlord has told Property118 of his frustrations in dealing with the courts and rent tribunals – and warns that the abolition of Section 21 will bring in ‘tenancies for life’.

Paul has 20 rented properties around the Fylde coast and says he is an ‘accidental landlord’ after a successful career with a Fortune 100 company.

But he says the growing dysfunction of the private rented sector is making him question his future as a landlord.

He said: “As landlords, we don’t realise how things work until we use them, such as rent tribunals or courts and then only a small proportion of landlords have had the benefit of relying on these organisations.

“It is only then you realise how dysfunctional they are.

“As landlords, we accept an incredibly low level of service from Universal Credit where data protection appears to be weaponised against us.”

Six-month tenancy will become a tenancy for life

He also warns that a six-month tenancy will become a tenancy for life if Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions are abolished under the Renters (Reform) Bill.

Paul said: “Consider an employment contract where someone is given a job. They are on probation usually for six months.

“If the employer doesn’t get on, they can end the employment in probation.

“A six-month tenancy is the same – a probation but not now thanks to ‘no-fault’ section 21. The landlord loses control of his property, and the courts don’t work.”

He adds: “The landlord is the first to lose out financially in any problem because the landlord has allowed the tenant access to a huge asset for a relatively small monthly payment, by comparison to the home value.

“The tenant stops paying or damages the property and there is instantly detriment to the landlord.

“The best a landlord can hope for is the rent is paid.”

‘Little a landlord can do with a difficult tenant’

He adds: “There is little a landlord can do with a difficult tenant one who wants money off by alleging issues. You can’t even visit and check.

“One of my tenants put a dozen razor blades down a sink it blocked, and they complained it was making them ill, they didn’t allow access and stopped paying rent.

“What recourse does a landlord have to these stresses?

“Why on earth don’t they reform tenancies?”

He points out that effectively bringing in tenancies for life is not what landlords agreed to when they offered their current six months’ tenancies.

Paul adds: “If there are new tenancies needed then have a Tenancy Reform Bill.

“Introduce new tenancy products and allow landlords to sell them instead of introducing a morally bankrupt policy to change millions of existing contracts.

“New products could offer tenancies over a longer period for those who want them.”

Had a tenant leave without notice

Paul explains that he recently had a tenant leave without notice and he only found out when he saw on Facebook that the tenant was booking a removal van that day.

When Paul went to the furnished property, he found the tenant had not only damaged it – but had also stolen everything too.

He adds: “Universal Credit did help – just him. They are his partner in crime and immediately stopped paying me, including the arrears.

“I couldn’t talk to them as they have no phone contact for landlords, but instead their UC system allows his case manager to call you back within the next two weeks, but they don’t.

“They just stop payments and make themselves unavailable.”

To compound matters, Paul has another tenant who has stopped paying rent after it was increased by £960 a year – after Paul’s mortgage rocketed by £4,400.

He says: “The court under Section 8 was sympathetic – to the tenant.

“And they won’t give me the property back under Section 8. She claims she went to the First-tier Tribunal in November 2023, after the £80 rent rise.

“But you hear nothing from the Northern First-tier Tribunal, they just said they are running three to four months behind in assessing cases.”

‘The system doesn’t work’

He continues: “I am not blaming them; they are probably also underfunded but the system doesn’t work.

“But who can I complain to about the bank getting £4,400 from me when they had affordability rules in place and stress tests to check I could afford interest rises?

“The problem is the stress tests were set at 2% under BoE rules PRA (Prudent Regulation Authority) and then BoE raised the rates by 5.24% almost three times their own cap.

“They knew would make payments impossible for some.”

Paul also questions the 30% LHA rule since LHA rates on the Fylde coast are rising from £576 to £625 for a three-bed property in April 2024 – even though they were £520, 17 years ago.

The rates haven’t kept up with inflation and are to be capped again next year.

He adds: “Meanwhile the real problem, the true villains are the banks who can put their rates up by 100% for those who they catch, those who don’t have fixed rate products or who through bad timing fall out the end of their product.

“Whilst banks can raise costs on a whim, landlords who find themselves in an impossible financial position are criticised for raising rents.”

Provide homes to the people the banks won’t touch

Paul says: “The real problem goes unseen and that is landlords often provide homes to the people the banks won’t touch with a barge pole.

“The banks take most of the money and the landlords have been punished since we are no longer allowed to offset our full interest costs.

“Labour promise to make things worse for landlords by tightening regulation still further.”

He adds: “The Tories’ banning of ‘no-fault’ evictions is helpful – to bad tenants – who don’t want to pay their rent or are difficult.

“Letting someone live in a home you have borrowed money against is extremely stressful – there is no recognition of this.”

He warns that the biggest issue is a shortage of housing while landlords are being scapegoated because no provision has been made to house everyone.

Paul says: “The government have made it choppy waters for both tenants and landlords by allowing the BoE to break then scrap its own affordability rules.

“The system is broken, and the issues are largely avoidable and manmade.”

He adds: “The decisions being made are morally bankrupt.

“Honestly, who would be a landlord?”


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Comments

GlanACC

12:25 PM, 26th March 2024, About 2 months ago

You can't blame the banks, they have to track the BOE interest rate. The issue is investing in the right properties for tenants who can pay, forget anyone on UC. Having said that a good tenant can turn into a bad one at the drop of a hat. My first property was an accidental one , but I went on to have 18.6 left now and my granddaughter will get them as the kids aren't interested.

Jonathan Sandford

13:05 PM, 26th March 2024, About 2 months ago

I have thrown the towel in on almost all my rental property (15 gone) - I can't bear it any more - I have always been a fair landlord, never greedy and probably too friendly in the past with tenants and unscrupulous agents. It's just the last 5 years out of 15 owning property that have been a nightmare, so much just being thrown back in my face, I don't want the persecution anymore from our wonderful government / tenants / courts and tax man etc

Great shame all round

Jonathan Sandford

13:09 PM, 26th March 2024, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Carol at 26/03/2024 - 10:22
Can't blame you for getting out Carol. I am sick to the back teeth with all the 'know my rights' tenants, courts that clearly 'hate' landlords and our wonderful government and tax systems especially the hammering I will get on the CGT. I have 3 more to sell, I will pay the tax and think of something else to do with the money !!!!! Good luck 🙂

Mike231

15:04 PM, 26th March 2024, About 2 months ago

Like the rest of the comments, I had enough, last house going this time next year a good tennant of 23 years to be evicted for what I ask! A government who has repeatedly attacked landlords financially, legislation dogma, and the Grove factor, not happy, but will take the money despite high CGC

Lordship

15:07 PM, 26th March 2024, About 2 months ago

No point telling P118, this needs to be out in the press.

Mick Roberts

16:56 PM, 26th March 2024, About 2 months ago

You say it very well.
Too many retrospective changes AFTER we've already took the tenant on.
It's like buying a Mars Bar from a shop and agreeing price and u get home and then there is warning saying u cannot open this without paying another £200 and driving 200 miles. We didn't agree to that. They making hundreds of thousands homeless

Fed Up Landlord

18:03 PM, 26th March 2024, About 2 months ago

Four out of thirteen left now. Nine gone. The rest hopefully sold by end of next year. Hate this government, ( and the next) Shelter, Acorn Generation Nowhere To Rent and the rest of the lefty landlord hating loonys. May you all suffer in eternity.

Priten Patel

18:52 PM, 26th March 2024, About 2 months ago

It’s a rock and a hard place. I’ve only been a landlord a few years, and the outlook is concerning. All seems like a waste of time but thankfully I’ve learned a lot and met a lot of people, especially people who’ll likely buy if I decide to sell up. Seeing these comments it looks like many others are going in the same direction. Happy to refer to prospect buyers if needed.

Disillusioned Landlord

19:30 PM, 26th March 2024, About 2 months ago

So much of this is avoidable and an easy fix, but for some reason the government lets the courts be utterly incompetent. I don’t understand why there cannot be a private court where you pay like £2k up front and the judge makes the call there and then when it comes to most of the issues we have as landlords. Imagine that, you give two months notice to a tenant, and on day 63 you pay your £2 k when they don’t move out and you get an order of repossession that same day? Yes, I know there is more to it, but the main thing strangling our system is the huge backlogs - why can’t they clear them - just employ more staff.

Paul Smith

19:54 PM, 26th March 2024, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by GlanACC at 26/03/2024 - 12:25
'You can't blame the banks' The banks have to stay solvent, but I am not sure how their costs change when interest rates rise and I suspect neither are you. What is clear is rising interest rates put billions of profits into banks yet seriously impact a minority of landlords; stressing them well beyond any calculations they may reasonably have had based on bank affordability rules. The way the banks increased rates some three times beyond affordability. It may not be an issue for you, most landlords haven't been targeted, but they excessive Interest rate changes gave the banks a chance to profiteer at the expense of some Customers?

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