12:17 PM, 11th November 2022, About 3 weeks ago 56
It’s a good job I was sitting down when I read a striking story on Property118 this week because it would normally have knocked me off my feet otherwise.
Was it, I hear you ask, the Government announcing that their Rent Reform white paper is nonsense and will be ditched? Nope. Was it the prospect of Section 21 being retained? Nope.
It was much, much better than that. It was someone from Shelter asking the Government to step in and stop landlords from leaving the private rental sector.
That’s right. Someone from the homeless charity that doesn’t actually house anyone was urging action to stop landlords from leaving the PRS.
I had to read it twice before my brain would believe it.
This is what the quote in the story about fed-up landlords account for 16% of property sales said:
However, with so many landlords leaving the sector, homeless charity Shelter says the impact will be felt most by those on low incomes.
Ruth Jacob, the charity’s policy expert at the charity, urged the Government to act.
She told the Telegraph: “We’re already seeing a severe shortage of affordable homes to rent for people on the lowest incomes and that’s already leaving more and more people at risk of homelessness.”
There’s nothing on their website about this, though I did see Shelter’s chief executive officer Polly Neate on BBC Breakfast warning that there is an issue of people over the age of 65 not living in council accommodation or owning their own home.
Instead, they stand a good chance ‘at their time of life’ of being made homeless because landlords are leaving the PRS.
Again, the interviewer didn’t ask the killer question about why landlords are leaving.
Polly did though get to plug that 5% of sales from M&S’s Festive Food on the Move range will help fund Shelter’s hotline.
So, to all you landlord haters and vocal supporters of Shelter, let me spell out for you what is going on.
Shelter (and the likes of Generation Rent) have been working for years to reduce landlord rights to the benefit of tenants.
The vilification has been unbearable – and it is getting worse.
We must be the only group of people you can discriminate against and criticise without any comeback.
This, along with rising interest rates, rising mortgage rates, more legislation and reduced profits (yes, Shelter, we need to make money) means landlords are working out whether it’s worth carrying on.
So, while the Gas Safety checks and improved electrical checks are worthy, things like growing numbers of council licensing schemes are not and they only push up costs. Those costs have to be met by someone.
And not all landlords are evil, exploiting property so poor people pay for landlords to sleep on pillows filled with £50 notes.
Instead, landlords are deciding in increasing numbers that it is no longer worth the time and hassle of providing homes anymore.
Don’t get me wrong, there will always be private landlords keen to offer shelter (see what I did there?) to those who are homeless or in need.
But – and it’s important that you understand this point – section 21 means we can remove tenants who don’t pay rent or make their neighbours’ lives a misery, from our homes – but its proposed abolition (which you support) means we will find it even harder to remove rogue tenants.
For other landlords, the prospect of having to meet an EPC rating of C by 2025 (still not a legal requirement yet) is the final straw for them.
Others just want to get out, so they don’t have to be hounded by the likes of Shelter and Generation Rent.
And when landlords sell, it is usually to a homebuyer and not another landlord, so the property won’t be rented out again.
We understand this.
And now it appears you do too.
This is a shame because urging the government to stop landlords from selling up is like the boy who cried wolf. You can’t denigrate and undermine landlords for years and then say ‘Whoa! Why are landlords leaving? There won’t be homes to rent. Something must be done…’.
It’s too late. You have made a bed you don’t like and if you think it’s bad now – wait until next year when landlords have to remortgage at monster rates and see how many pack it in then.
And if they don’t leave, I can guarantee a stampede to the door marked exit if Section 21 is abolished.
You have never talked to us. We have always been the bad guys. Most of us want to provide quality homes for tenants that are safe and secure.
I for one am sick of landlords being not only ignored but victimised for offering tenants somewhere to live and being blamed for it.
Selling off council houses and not building new ones is where the issue lies with our current housing catastrophe – and that’s down to EVERY government since Thatcher, NOT landlords.
But then, if we had more social housing, you wouldn’t be needed. And the day you close your doors will be a great day for housing in this country – and a really great day for landlords everywhere.
Until next time,
The Landlord Crusader