Don’t allow LANDLORDS to be SCAPEGOATS of housing policy failures

Don’t allow LANDLORDS to be SCAPEGOATS of housing policy failures

17:33 PM, 20th March 2012, About 12 years ago 9

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In a country where we have a housing crisis driven by a complete lack of an innovative and all-encompassing housing policy the PRS landlord is being made a scapegoat for simply seeking to run a profitable business. A business which, it is rarely noted, is doing almost as much to make housing available to low income and vulnerable tenants as any social housing provision.

When did you last read something good in the news about the Private Rented Sector landlord? Where did you read about the PRS helping to resolve the chasm in social housing provision? When did you read about landlords put out of business by dishonest or unscrupulous tenants? Landlords picking up court costs to obtain rent and damages owed by defaulting tenants? Landlords losing their properties because of stringent licensing and regulations making them unviable investments?

Here at Property118 we report the news as we see it in your industry. What we read in the news everywhere else seems to completely ignore the real issues faced by landlords.

English Housing Survey. February 2012:

  • Social Rented Sector 17.5% of households, PRS 16.5% (a difference of only 200,000 households).
  • Single person households accounted for 43% of households in the social rented sector and only 29% in the private rented sector.
  • Average weekly rents are £79 in social housing compared to £160 in the private rented sector which in part reflects the fact that social housing is comprised of a higher proportion of purpose built flats whilst the private sector has a wider range of housing types.

The politicians who are attacking your industry understand the concept of supply and demand. They also know that it is not a headline they want to run with because it is not going to win them votes to say the fundamental solution may take two to three terms to have any real impact. Instead you, the Private Rented Sector landlords, are being used to divert the publics’ attention from the real depth of the issue and effectively so.

It is interesting to speculate what other industry is defined by a criminal minority. Perhaps banking?

Surely a criminal landlord is simply a criminal. A rogue landlord is also a criminal.

As a group of business people landlords have not done much to improve their PR since the days of Rachman!

You are likely visiting Property118 because you are a landlord. You will be fully aware of the issues you face, the fact that rents are a matter of supply and demand and that whilst interest rates are low at present, your property or your portfolio is only as stable and secure as the financing you have on it. Mortgage companies do not care about your tenants, only about their investment.

Here are a few snippets we have collected for you.

Graham Jones M.P. Haslingden and Hydnburn
“I believe in ending crony capitalism and greed in the PRS, that landlords should have a moral responsibility.”

Shelter’s chief executive Campbell Robb
“This [Mortgage Scheme] also does almost nothing to help the growing number of families living in insecure private rented housing with hardly any protection from rogue landlords or unexpected rises in rent.”

Caroline Flint Shadow Communities Secretary
“And we will not ignore that more than a million properties in the private rented sector would not meet the decent homes standard. It cannot be right that housing benefit continues to go into the pockets of landlords who have tenants in sub-standard properties. Under Labour, we will end it.”

Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of Shelter
“More and more families are bringing up children in privately rented homes, and many have to take a chance on the first place they can afford. This high demand is a golden opportunity for rogue landlords who are exploiting the desperation of people looking for a home.”

Have we made your blood boil? And what about all the talk of regulation making a difference? Would a criminal take the least notice knowing that if a council ever bothered to investigate their property then prosecution is unlikely and fines are negligible when compared with the considerable profits of their crime?

Whenever we hear talk of regulation and licensing this is never balanced by plans to fund monitoring and enforcement.

Obligating independent business people to subscribe to competing profit making organisations who have no funds for monitoring and investigation nor powers of enforcement is again only a cost to the good business man. It is no deterrent to a criminal.

So, we have a suggestion. We are calling all landlords to end the vilification of our profession and gain a voice.

We know you are a bunch of mavericks, that you work hard and mind your own business. But your business is in the spotlight and as an industry we will be regulated against regardless of good practice amongst the majority. The fact that you own only one investment property or that you are a portfolio landlord will not matter one bit. We are all being tarred with the same brush and regulations will be targeted to deal with the worst criminals impersonating our profession.

You could wait until punitive legislation is going through parliament and then contact your MP in the hope that he or she will put principles before votes. Alternatively you could take a simple step to increase the volume of the landlords’ voice in policy development.

It is estimated that there are 1.5 million landlords in the United Kingdom making you potentially the largest business lobby. Taken together, all the organisations speaking in your interests represent only 0.2% of you. The Government will always listen to the loudest voice. From what we are hearing that’s a lot of unhappy tenants, vote wary councillors and a couple of glossy charities with an axe to grind.

The only way the landlord’s voice will be heard is if you join together. Here at Property118 we are actively involved in submissions to respond to Sir Adrian Montagues call for consultation on Private Rented Sector investment, we have campaigned for compulsory licensing of the lettings industry to protect both landlords and tenants and we campaigned with great success to bring to your attention the petition to stop the E.U. destroying the buy to let mortgage.

Your industry is our industry.

There is no such thing as a “Rogue Landlord”, those who break the law are simply criminals. Landlords are people like you, earning a living, providing much needed decent housing and working hard to do both.

Make yourself heard and give landlords a voice before it’s too late.

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6:27 AM, 21st March 2012, About 12 years ago

I think the issue we as LL are up against is basic jealousy.
People don't like the PRS taking property away from potential houseowners.
They don't seem to have any issues with hotels, B & B's and other purveyors of what could be deemed  short -term accommodation if a tenant chooses that to be the case.
Namely a 6 month AST
No tenant is forced to remain in a property once the iniitial 6 month AST has expired.
It gives them maximum flexibility.
Why then are tenants allowed to have this flexibility but for some reason when we as LL wish to exercise that same flexibility we are demonised!?
It seems depending on your perspective that one is right and one is wrong even thought the circumstances are identical!
These proponents of that  LL's are an evil visited on society don't seem to appreciate that most tenants are not in a position to buy; so if ALL rental property was for sale nobody, least of all the incumbant tenant could afford to buy.
Where are they supposed to live whilst this nirvana of homeownership is achieved!

16:26 PM, 21st March 2012, About 12 years ago

Well put Paul.
It is exactly the point that perspective is lacking. That landlords, by keeping to their own business, are too often the unheard side of what is always a two-sided argument. Good and bad on both sides. What is needed is a balancing of perspective.
It is a lovely idea that if all landlords sold tomorrow then estate agents would be brimming with happy buyers snapping up cheap houses. The reality is, of course, that landlords would not sell cheap where they have loans to repay and properties would remain empty as the most vulnerale cannot access funding.. before you even consider how former tenants would take on the additional costs of upkeep and maintenance - a much underetimated cost of home-ownership. And of course a glut of properties would put those of us who currently own homes speedily into negative equity. Ripples. Nothing is ever as simple as the media would like.

Jonathan Clarke

17:23 PM, 21st March 2012, About 12 years ago

Yes good subject. We seem to take a helluva lot of stick but little praise. The balance needs to be redressed. You have many good contacts. Perhaps we need a PR expert to advise on how best to go about it. Mobilise a campaign. With  1.5 million landlords our collective voice needs to be heard. How best to achieve that. Do we need a spokesperson whose got a media and landlord background who can raise the awareness on TV SM Radio, National Papers etc. A good ol high profile  landlords march outside Parliament perhaps with banners aloft. Get some publicity.  Bring some tenants on board who are quite happy with their landlords. Let the truth be told..............

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

18:56 PM, 21st March 2012, About 12 years ago

Hi Jonathan

PR is what we do, we got the NACFB off the ground (it celelrates 20 this year), we have built the most popular PRS website in the UK within 14 months and our former business was in 38th place in The Times Profit Track 100 in 2008.

We are already targeting radio, TV, politicians, National Newspapers etc.

Our News already feeds Google News and NewsNow.

Everything you want is right here and we don't charge landlords a penny.

We MUST do this ourselves but we can't do this on our own.

We need landlords to spread the word to join us.

The more popular this websites becomes, the more influence we all carry as "The Landlords Voice".

Jonathan Clarke

3:09 AM, 22nd March 2012, About 12 years ago

Good stuff - In your view what is best thing individual landlords on here can do to assist you and the cause to continue to raise the profile to reach the minds of those we need to reach. 

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

7:29 AM, 22nd March 2012, About 12 years ago

Keep reading, keep sharing, continue to tell more landlords about

As "the powers that be" see an army forming they begin to take more notice. We are already seeing it with many campaign groups now hanging off our coat tails.

Watch this space 🙂

13:21 PM, 27th March 2012, About 12 years ago

If the politicians continue to harass ll unfairly as they do,they may find that they the politicians may have to ensure that they carry out the law by providing housing for tenants,will they do this a big loud no,they only want shot of small ll'sso that there big landlord cronies can step in and fill thier boots!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mary Latham

16:04 PM, 6th April 2012, About 12 years ago

No one hates a bad landlord more than a good landlord does. The best way for good landlords to overcome the perception of the PRS is to become as knowledgeable as possible and keep up to what is happening in the business.  Many landlords get it wrong because they simply don't know that they are wrong.The impact of those mistakes on the lives of those that we "choose" to house can be so great that a small mistake can be life changing. We must reduce the mistakes to a minimum and when we get it wrong we must own our mistakes and make amends to our tenants.

I am in the business to make money but that motivation does not prevent me being a good and caring landlord, profit and standards are not mutually exclusive, in fact in 21st century they are good bedfellows.

I have always support P118 because this site offers landlords some of the best information and advice that can be found on the www, it also offers the opportunity to explore issues and share good practice. On the other side of the site it offers those trades people who make the business of being a landlord so much easier.  Overall P118 has become, in a very short space of time, the must visit site for every landlord and Agent. 

Thank you Mark and all your dedicated staff I hope you all have a great holiday break

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

16:11 PM, 6th April 2012, About 12 years ago

It is comments like this and contributors like you Mary that make all the investment and hard work of the entire team at Property118 so worthwhile. Thank YOU and Happy Easter

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