FAO Shelter – This is not a love note from The Landlord Crusader

FAO Shelter – This is not a love note from The Landlord Crusader

12:17 PM, 11th November 2022, About 5 months ago 56

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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.

Fed-up landlords leaving the PRS

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.

Why landlords are leaving

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.

Working out whether it’s worth carrying on

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.

If only.

Instead, landlords are deciding in increasing numbers that it is no longer worth the time and hassle of providing homes anymore.

Private landlords keen to offer shelter

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.

Urging the government to stop landlords from selling up

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

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Bos Tin

13:58 PM, 11th November 2022, About 5 months ago

Nowhere does Ruth Jacob from Shelter say that the government should step in to stop landlords leaving the private rental sector.

The only statement of hers actually in quotation marks is

"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. "

Bos Tin

14:08 PM, 11th November 2022, About 5 months ago

If a rental property sells and doesn't go to another landlord then presumably that property can take a previous renter out of the rental market as a buyer which offsets the loss to the rental market?

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

14:12 PM, 11th November 2022, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Bos Tin at 11/11/2022 - 14:08
Sadly that's flawed logic and was explainedmany years ago by the late David Knox (AKA "Appalled Landlord"). Maybe you should read his articles >>> https://www.property118.com/author/appalled-landlord/


14:14 PM, 11th November 2022, About 5 months ago

shared on SM myself - let the people know!

Jonathan Cocks

14:16 PM, 11th November 2022, About 5 months ago

Thank you for these great comments. Only in the last year have I started to increase the number of B2Ls in my families portfolio. After reading this I am asking myself, ‘Am I making a huge mistake?’ I hope not, as I have built up great landlord/tenant relationships and to me that is important in this business. Do my tenants appreciate what landlords do, I actually believe they do. If I stopped and sold up who would be the bigger loser? Me or tenant? I think the tenant!. So do we have any info on what Shelter, Crisis etc, use as evidence to make their negative comments about ALL LANDLORDS? The landlords with B2Ls I have met in the last 2 years are all different, but most I believe aim for long term tenants. It would be great if Shelter asked me if I could put them I touch with my tenants to understand what we landlords actually do and provide. It is so easy to find fault.

Chris Kelly

14:24 PM, 11th November 2022, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Bos Tin at 11/11/2022 - 14:08
Not in the case of HMO's where multiple tenants will be sharing a property. When I sell my two properties it will be 10 tenants having to leave with only two buyers, so an extra 8 tenants in the rental market.

Also, you are assuming that renters have the necessary deposit to buy the property which is being sold. Which I doubt, as if that was the case they would have bought already and wouldn't be renting.

What we are going end up with is a lot people on low incomes unable to find rental accommodation and unable to afford to buy a property. Next year will most likely be a housing crisis like we have never had before in this country.

Sam Addison

14:29 PM, 11th November 2022, About 5 months ago

I read that Shelter employees are going on strike for more money because they cannot afford their rents. I laughed out loud!


14:38 PM, 11th November 2022, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Chris Kelly at 11/11/2022 - 14:24
Good comments Chris. In our portfolio I have 3 HMOs, 11 people who would be looking in a few years to move on when we sell up and then individuals, families.

There is a housing crisis coming as you say. If we could have long term mortgages on cheap rates we may then be able to fix rents - can't have it both ways. European models may have to be implemented.

Our rents are low, excellent tenants (now) many long term and we maintain our properties. But its a numbers game the probability of issues rises accordingly and we have had major tenant issues, scamming, loss of rent, abuse, unreasonable demands, hammers on walls and lets not forget the excessive costs of lease extensions. Hey but we have section 24 🙂


14:39 PM, 11th November 2022, About 5 months ago

Bloody well said Landlord Crusader. We need someone like you on the NRLA board to wake them up and actually DO something, not just chat and have a nice lunch with the MP's.
As for Shelter and Gen rent (where did they come from?) If Polly what's it, gave some of her gov funded salary to the homeless on the streets she might have a bit of credibility.


15:14 PM, 11th November 2022, About 5 months ago

The number of landlords selling up and resulting imact on rents was raised in the recent Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee hearing.
iHowz have produced this synopsis of the hearing
16:09:20 Section 21 mentioned
See also 16:37:00 reference on costs to good landlords, and rewards at 16:38
16:42 New Minister commences and states that its not a housing strategy.
16:48 Landlords leaving the sector
16:50 Short term lets mentioned
16:54 Dodged the question as to when the Bill will come out – Still looking for input.
16:57 ASB debated
17:00 Housing courts
17:03 will selling the property become a de facto S21?
17:05:45 rent arrears
17:08 S21 mentioned again
17:08:50 fixed term tenancies
17:09:50 students
17:17 unjustified rents
17:35 – report on mediation. 17:36 funded by the landlords ‘modest costs’
17:39 self-certification for the property portal
17:41.26 Decent Homes Standard
17:42:50 definitely not considering rent controls
17:48:50 Selective Licensing
iHowz and other landlord associations are doing their best to represent the industry, but are not as well funded as tenant groups, who due to their broader appeal to politicians and suppliers alike (M&S, Nationwide, etc) will always get preferential treatment.
Only about 150,000 landlords are members of a landlord association. With over 2 MILLION LANDLORDS, it is little wonder that government (local and national) are able to run roughshod over landlords when only 7% of them are prepared to join a trade association, providing them with both funding and the member numbers to support their cause.
iHowz foresaw the need to retain S21 and wrote to all English and Welsh MPs with proposed amendments, which would recognise the need to compensate good long serving tenants when serving S21
For less than £100 a year, you can support our campaigns and get a voice (as well as all the other member benefits)
Significantly cheaper than costs of selling up.
Rant over
Here are my personal thoughts, having watched the proceedings
Glad to see committee and LAs focus on landlords leaving the market and the potential for additional restrictions to force more LL to leave or swap to short lets
- some agreement on Portal reducing need for licencing
- concerns over funding/resourcing : no consideration of Southampton model with landlords shouldering a small(er than licencing) cost, although covered in questions to minister
- Bill focussed on quality and does not seek to address supply (quantity)
- Nice to see her challenged on LHA, ASB, Housing Court, abolition of fixed term tenancies (fixing problem which doesn't exist)
- Good that self certification on Portal is under consideration and mitigation for innocent errors discussed, as well as penalties for fraud and need for quality assurance. (No mention of technical aspects such as UTR and UPRN and the requirement for portal registration for advertising, tenancy, insurance, borrowing, etc)
[iHowz have requested to be included in defining what goes on it and how it is expected to work - steering group / design review / alpha and beta testing]
Great push back on
- court capacity
- mediation as solution to resolve ASB
Landlords should welcome the possibility of indexation for rent increases to bring PRS in line with BTR and SRS
One area where we should be happy to offer an olive branch would be strengthening of enforcement on illegal eviction, including Police not telling victims that it is a civil matter
We need to push back on claims that S21 is causing homelessness, when no breakdown available for use of S21 between PRS and SRS. LAs, Shelter, et al are still advising tenants to request S21 to get rehoused, and no workable S8 ground for ASB or for landlord recovering for own use and LLs using S21 to avoid counter-claim of repairs against S8 rent grounds.

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