22:52 PM, 7th February 2011, About 13 years ago
The BBC has launched another story about substandard buy to let homes and ‘rogue landlords’ – but just who is covered by the tired old cliché?
The UK has about 3.5 million buy to let properties and houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) that are let by private landlords.
Under the blazing headline ‘One million rented homes in England ‘are dangerous”, the BBC reports that the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) claims are so substandard that they are dangerous to live in, which seems an astonishing number of homes.
The CIEH also alleges these figures are set to rise because of housing benefit cuts, legal aid cuts and lack of social housing as an alternative to private letting.
Quite how these factors will affect buy to let, if they do, is a matter of opinion, not fact and is completely unsubstantiated by any evidence.
No figures were cited to show how the CIEH came to that amazingly round figure of 1 million.
No landlord or landlord group was invited to reply to the claims to balance the story.
The exercise is a clear media scare to exert pressure on the government to regulate the buy to let sector. The trouble is, people will believe what the article says on the BBC web site without any regard to the facts.
Housing minister Grant Shapps has repeatedly said no buy to let regulation is needed nor under consideration.
Most buy to let landlords are decent, genuine and honest people
The big question is who benefits politically and financially from regulating the buy to let sector – well, environmental health officers who work for local councils that regulate house in multiple occupation licensing are the likely candidates.
Who represent these workers – the CIEH, of course.
And if these homes are so dangerous, why are councils not doing anything to combat the problem.
Then there’s this worn out phrase ‘rogue landlords’.
The truth is if you take a sample of 3.5 million people from the population, a good percentage of them will be rogues…like ‘rogue’ buy to let tenants who don’t pay their rent, police officers, solicitors, MPs who falsified expenses and probably environmental health officers as well.
The truth is most buy to let landlords are decent, genuine and honest people who saw an opportunity to provide for themselves in old age and their families by investing in property.
Most do their best to give less-advantaged individuals and families a reasonable home.
In return, they are battered by the media, politicians and self-serving special interest groups.
Sure, some landlords are rogues – but the figures show less than 500 of the 3.5 million go to court every year for housing infractions, which is a miserly 0.01% of the whole.
Now, let’s check out how many complaints were registered against environmental health officers last year…