A political party manifesto for the PRS: What landlords DON’T want from politicians

A political party manifesto for the PRS: What landlords DON’T want from politicians

10:26 AM, 29th September 2023, About 2 months ago 11

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So, we are into the party political conference season and it is apparent that the private rented sector (PRS) is not going to be discussed – even though the country is facing a ‘housing emergency’.

And rather than offer up a political manifesto of what landlords want – knowing that politicians will simply ignore it – here’s my offering on what landlords DON’T want.

That way I can tackle what plans are being conjured up without any discussion with landlords or letting agents.

It’s hard to believe, isn’t it?

Our political parties have different visions for the future of the PRS, but they all seem to agree on one thing: landlords are part of the problem, not the solution.

Landlords, who provide a vital service for millions of people who cannot or do not want to buy their own homes, are facing an unprecedented challenge from all sides.

It appears that we must adapt to the changing landscape or risk being squeezed out of the market.

The loons of the (ill)Liberal (un)Democrats

First up are the loons of the (ill)Liberal (un)Democrats with a rash of barmy ideas that I had to read the Property118 story – Lib Dems want to introduce landlord licensing and rent controls – twice and then read the policy paper. I really wish I hadn’t.

They have the temerity to call this a ‘fair deal’ that will see landlord licensing and minimum standards being introduced.

Come again? Licensing for landlords? But not for tenants?

The default tenancy agreement length will rise from one year to three.

Why? If the system isn’t broke why fix it? Landlords will be stuck with rent rise restrictions and lumbered with tenants they can’t get rid of.

And I love the notion of ‘rent smoothing’ that they say will tackle the cost-of-living crisis.

Rent smoothing is another word for rent controls – which haven’t worked anywhere they have been introduced.

And they want to provide more power and resources to councils so they can tackle bad behaviour from tenants and landlords.

Errr, let’s see. Councils don’t believe that tenants create problems, so they won’t be ‘tackled’, only landlords. The relationship between landlord and tenant is a special one and politicians will just take one side.

We have seen with the diabolical selective and additional licensing schemes that councils love the money and the power they already have to destroy a landlord’s business.

They don’t need more power, they need less. Ban selective licensing schemes to deliver lower rents and improved housing standards.

And don’t get me started on councils having power over private landlords when council and social landlords don’t care about the standards of their own housing stock.

It’s ridiculous.

And then there’s this from the Lib Dems:

  • England’s private rental sector is under regulated, which allows many bad landlords to exploit their tenants.

No, it’s really not. Try renting a house out and be startled at the amount of legislation we MUST comply with. Plus, bad landlords won’t comply under any circumstances (which is why selective licensing to ‘improve standards’ is simply an outright lie).

  • Landlords will need a licence to rent out their property and a national register of landlords will be created.

On the face of it, this isn’t such a bad idea. Again, criminal landlords won’t get involved, so why bother with the expense?

  • Minimum National Standards is a spin on the decent homes standard – good landlords will always offer a quality home.

How about minimum standards for tenants? Like paying rent and not trashing a property? These standards will, apparently, solve the problem of damp and mould creating health issues in tenants. Without using capitals, how can I explain that this is not a problem created by landlords? We can’t point to tenant lifestyles, but that’s the big reason why.

  • “We would give tenants the security that they deserve. It goes against the liberal principle of equality that landlords have the power to make someone homeless on a whim.”

Get stuffed. Scrapping section 21 to end ‘no-fault’ evictions is the wrong way to do this. They aren’t ‘no-fault’ evictions. I’m sick of saying this. There is always a reason. (And, for the most part, you don’t want to know that the tenant might be at fault).

  • “We do not see evidence that the proposals outlined here would significantly reduce the availability of privately rented properties on the market.”

Just watch us pack up and leave if section 21 is abolished and landlords can’t repossess their property – and the ensuing impact on the UK’s house prices.

Homelessness charity that doesn’t house anyone

I also cannot ignore the ‘manifesto’ from the landlords’ friends (not) at Shelter – the homelessness charity that doesn’t house anyone.

So, here’s a quick rundown of their ‘wants’ (You can probably guess if you haven’t already seen the Property118 story about what the Shelter manifesto contains).

  • The construction of 90,000 social homes a year for the next 10 years – that’s not enough homes to deal with the problem (unless you tackle illegal migration)
  • Make private renting affordable and secure – to the detriment of landlords
  • Improve the quality and safety of rented homes – again, landlords want to offer quality homes. We really are sitting ducks to this lot.
  • Strengthen and clarify housing rights – for tenants, obvs.

I also laughed out loud at the notion that Shelter want to make ‘renting affordable’.

It is because of you clowns that tenants are seeing rent increases! Criticising and urging new laws for fed-up landlords means we leave, reducing supply and guess what? Rents rise as a result. Clueless.

And don’t moan about the PRS doubling in size over the last 20 years – that’s supply and demand.

And calling for ‘robust regulation’ of the PRS isn’t going to cut it either. There are more than enough laws covering what we do.

Labour and its unbelievable plans for a renters’ charter

Looking to the upcoming conference season, we still have Labour and its unbelievable plans for a renters’ charter, which would include measures such as ending section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions, introducing rent controls and creating a national landlord register.

The party claims that these reforms would give more security and affordability to tenants, but landlords will see their business undermined and be discouraged from investing in the sector.

The Conservatives have pledged to introduce the Renters (Reform) Bill, which would scrap section 21 evictions to create a fairer and more transparent rental market.

But we will effectively lose control over our properties and face more bureaucracy and regulation.

It is unbelievable to me that there are landlords in Parliament who are supporting this nonsense.

It also looks like the minimum energy performance certificate (EPC) ratings will also make a comeback with Labour and the Lib Dems.

Not for social housing or owner-occupied homes. Oh no, just the PRS because that’s where the energy waste is, apparently.

Labour are not the foregone winners

And let me reiterate that Labour are not the foregone winners of the next election.

Just look at last week’s opinion polls after Labour offered two policies that showed blue water between them and the Conservatives.

Their popularity took a dip.

So, let’s see what happens when the incredibly dull Starmer has to deliver his policies to a live audience, and the not-as-dull-as-Starmer-but-still-dull Rishi Sunak can counter them.

When people see what the impact of their housing policies will be, then we will have an election on our hands.

But without discussing the issue of immigration and the social housing selection criteria that puts someone with nowhere to live at the front of the queue, then things could get messy.

Wondering why no-one fights our corner?

And despite all this, I’m left wondering why no-one fights our corner? Why don’t we have an input into these PRS plans?

Either the MPs don’t understand the importance of the PRS, or they just don’t care.

This fight for the soul of the PRS isn’t over – because it hasn’t really begun.

We need to stand up with one voice and let politicians and voters know what will happen if some of these wacky proposals are introduced.

The threat of a massive sell off of rented homes by fed up landlords struggling to make a profit, who can’t remove non-paying tenants and having their homes trashed needs to be organised.

It’s a big ask, I know, but we all need to create a united front and explain again and again that we aren’t here to be steamrollered and made poorer.

Because when we sell up and leave the politicians to the mess they have created, where will they house people?

Until next time,

The Landlord Crusader

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The Forever Tenant

11:03 AM, 29th September 2023, About 2 months ago

I can give you one answer as to why none, or very few MPs will fight in your corner. It doesn't look good.

Politic nowadays is all about how they look. Very little is done with far forward thinking. policies are now based on reaction to current events and a kneejerk reaction to the public concerns right now.

So why won't they fight on the landlords side? Because public perception is that you are already ahead and partially to blame for rising costs. To stand with you would likely cost them votes and that just will not do. Right now it only seems like politicians care only about getting re-elected and that's it. Nothing else matters.

I don't think that any party will come out with a plan that directly assists landlords unless they can show exactly how it will benefit the lives of the tenants.

Ofer Moses

14:13 PM, 29th September 2023, About 2 months ago

I wrote to MP for Enfield regarding the plight of landlords and the PRS.
He did not reply, however, I did read his comments re housing which stated that "homes are for people, not for investors"
So one would assume that landlords do not provide homes, they are simply investors!

Mick Roberts

15:14 PM, 29th September 2023, About 2 months ago

Well said Crusader, especially this:

I also laughed out loud at the notion that Shelter want to make ‘renting affordable’.

It is because of you clowns that tenants are seeing rent increases! Criticising and urging new laws for fed-up landlords means we leave, reducing supply and guess what? Rents rise as a result. Clueless.


16:55 PM, 29th September 2023, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Ofer Moses at 29/09/2023 - 14:13
Landlord Defender, thanks for your timely piece on the lack of a balanced long term approach to housing renters, with politicians of all persuasions (not least Scottish) using landlords and the PRS to whip up votes.

"England’s private rental sector is under regulated, which allows many bad landlords to exploit their tenants." Try explaining that to your local environmental health officer or court official, as they struggle with their case loads. It is poor enforcement of existing legislation and standards, which allows bad actors, tenants as well as landlords and their agents, to persist in the PRS.

iHowz has been lobbying parliamentarians since February 2022 with our proposal to amend S21 to recognise the need for improved protections for those who have rented from us for several years, while retaining the ability to recover our properties when things don't go as planned. https://ihowz.uk/the-unintended-consequences-of-losing-the-section-21-notice/

Tenants, as well as landlords, will be pleased that EPCs have not been abandoned by the government (despite what media commentators are reporting). The recent confirmation that it has abandoned the higher standards proposed in the government's consultation does not address iHow's requests for the government to publish the required standards in order to provide clarity for the industry to plan the relevant works.

Any long term policy, let alone plans to implement it, have been absent from the political agenda for many years, making it easy for so called tenant groups to push their agenda. Given the size and resources of operators in the social sector these operators were given a free hand to do as they pleased until they were recently subjected to the "hand of Gove".
The PRS with over 2.5M operators, mostly small and unwilling to join a landlord association or other trade body, presented a much easier target for politicians and tenant groups to attack as they burnished their credentials.

It is now eight years from S24 being included in the 2015 Finance Act, with landlords being taxed on turnover - making them, as individuals, taxed at the highest rate on their business/investments. Many landlords are selling their properties as they see no end to the new demands placed on them despite them being "asked" to support their tenants during the pandemic, and those with mortgaged properties now see profitability disappear as mortgage rate soared.

If you are a landlord and yet remain stubbornly reluctant to join a trade body, how do you expect to get your voice heard at local and national level?
I know you will tell me some members only joined for a discount on their licence fees or for advice on how to solve a tenancy issue, and that you disagree with how some organisations do not push back hard enough but there is more than one landlord association. Many of you pay far more for vehicle or boiler breakdown insurance when the cost of not being compliant and not having a strong voice to represent your business will cost much, much more. Yes, the internet is a great source of information, but it lacks the years of experience and access to tailored professional advice offered by landlord associations and their suppliers.

iHowz have a meeting scheduled with parliamentarians to discuss our S21 proposal and will continue to campaign at national and local level to push back on proposals which will hurt participants in the PRS as well as promoting the interests of our members.

In the spirit of the season, you may consider this my conference speech and may wish to sign up here:



16:57 PM, 29th September 2023, About 2 months ago

Sorry Offer Moses. My comment was not intended to address your comment specifically.

Old Mrs Landlord

8:11 AM, 30th September 2023, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Ofer Moses at 29/09/2023 - 14:13
Also implies that landlords are not people. It is apparent that many of all political persuasions regard us as some kind of sub-human species, hence their frequent use of descriptions such as "scum" and "parasite".


9:00 AM, 30th September 2023, About 2 months ago

So many areas for discussion. Some that I agree with and some that I don’t.

I really don’t like the ‘lumbered with tenants they can’t get rid of’ line. Tenants are our customers and fellow human beings. They deserve much more respect than to be talked about in such an aggressive manner.

Section 21 is abused by some landlords. However, there are grounds under Section 8 that involve no fault of the tenant. Grounds such as the mortgagee requiring possession or the minister of religion one. These grounds (and Section 21) should simply not exist. Any landlord or lender wishing to sell a property should do so to another landlord.

There would need to be exceptions. Where a landlord lived in the property before letting it AND gave prior notice that they would end to move back in on a certain date, would be one such exception.

Landlords shouldn’t have the right to disrupt their tenants’ lives for no good reason.

In the other hand, tenants should be responsible for repairs and maintenance. Wear and tear, after all, is their wearing and tearing. The property should be kept in a reasonable condition at the tenant’s expense. This would ensure a lower rent could be charged.

Where damp and mould appear, the tenant could fix it safely in the knowledge that it is their home for the rest of their lives, should they so wish. All similar to a full repairing lease rather than an AST.

Matthew Jude

10:50 AM, 30th September 2023, About 2 months ago

Hello all.
The idea of a national voice for all landlords is a good one. Like many of you, I'm a member of the NRLA. Although they report doing good work influencing the government about the coming reforms, we need a campaign to highlight the work of the vast majority of landlords who are decent, fair people with good relations with their tenants. The myth of the evil landlord has got out of hand and has almost become an accepted truth in the public mind.
If we are to have an honest discussion of the UK rental market, it needs to include an understanding of the shocking imbalance between private and social tenants. People need to be aware of the subsidised rents, the exclusion from expensive and pointless licensing schemes and the poor satisfaction ratings of social tenants.
My portfolio of properties is in Nottingham, where our council is running an anti-landlord campaign whilst imposing an expensive and non- performing licensing scheme on private tenants. This has, despite their dishonest claims, increased rents in the private sector, further increasing the chasm between them and social tenants.

The anti-landlod propaganda from the local authorities, the government, the media and tenant activist organisations has allowed this distorted view to prevail.

We as landlords,our tenants and professional organisations representing us need to write to all of our MP's and councillors to give our informed opinions on the effect the proposed reforms, licensing schemes, tax changes and anti-landlord scare mongering will have on the private rental sector. This should include, higher rents, reduced availability of properties, more stringent requirements of prospective tenants and the direct affect on the poorest and most vulnerable tenants who will lose out most acutely from these policies.

We, as landlords, have not created this debacle. We are going to get the blame though due to the false narrative created by others. Act now and start writing to those in power, local and national, even if they are not our natural bedfellows.

Ofer Moses

11:20 AM, 30th September 2023, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Matthew Jude at 30/09/2023 - 10:50
As I have already mentioned, my local MP has ignored my concerns regarding the PRS and Like many politicians today have social views bordering on communism and not accepting that a landlord should profit from letting a property.
Today, it will require a brave politician to argue in favour of landlords and more importantly prove this by reversing section 24, not abolishing section 21, and adding further incentives, including 10% wear and tear which recognised the value of landlords and their properties being offered as homes for those who choose to rent.
In every walk of life there are minorities that spoil it for others, this does not, however, mean that wholesale changes should be made as has happened and continues to happen to landlords and the PRS.

Monty Bodkin

12:29 PM, 30th September 2023, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Teessider at 30/09/2023 - 09:00
"Section 21 is abused by some landlords. However, there are grounds under Section 8 that involve no fault of the tenant. Grounds such as the mortgagee requiring possession or the minister of religion one. These grounds (and Section 21) should simply not exist. Any landlord or lender wishing to sell a property should do so to another landlord."

Codswallop. The PRS was in a dire state before the Housing Act reforms.

It might make things better for 1% of "customers" but it would hurt 99% of tenants.

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