20:10 PM, 24th December 2012, About 11 years ago 5
I would just like to say a big THANK YOU to the BBC for giving me the opportunity to put forward a landlords perspective on why so few of us now choose to provide accommodation to benefits claimants.
As soon as I can get a recording of the programme, which was broadcast live on BBC News 24 at 13:35 today, I will post or link it to this thread.
Throughout the day politicians and charities have been vilifying landlords as well as blaming each other for the fact that, apparently, as many as 98% of landlords now refuse to rent to tenants on benefits.
The points I tried to get across in a live TV “down the line” interview is that private landlords are small businesses and just like any other business we need to minimise our risks and maximise our returns. I explained that I would not let to benefits claimants unless they had a financially stable guarantor. – Reason? It’s just too risky!
I also shared my personal opinion which is that if a person receives benefits to pay for housing and then chooses to spend those benefits on something else that should be treated as a crime.
The BBC presenter suggested that landlords should have a social conscience. My response to that was that we are not charities. Many landlords, like me, do have a social conscience. However, landlords do not control supply and demand. Business is business and and landlords generally try to be fair and charge market rates whilst letting to tenants which they consider to be the lowest risk. Pure logic!
The causes of the problems associated with landlords turning their back on renting to benefits claimants is that landlords just don’t have enough protection and the incentives are not good enough to attract sufficient new development either. I didn’t get a chance to say it in the interview but if the government made it possible to invest pension fund money into low cost housing developments for rental purposes that may well help, especially if that was combined with the criminalisation of misappropriating housing benefit money and faster eviction processes.
As landlords we have very simple requirements from our tenants; 1) pay your rent on time, 2) respect our properties, 3) respect your neighbours.
If a person checks into a guest house or hotel and fails to observe these three simple principles they are asked to leave immediately. If necessary the Police will get involved, make arrests and prosecute.
All we want as landlords is something similar – at the very least accelerated eviction processes.
Happy Christmas to all reading this – or in traditional landlord fashion, perhaps that should be “Bah Humbug!” – LOL 🙂
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