Don’t allow LANDLORDS to be SCAPEGOATS of housing policy failuresMake Text Bigger
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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