Government’s destructive path

by Dr Rosalind Beck

7:29 AM, 8th May 2020
About 3 months ago

Government’s destructive path

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Government’s destructive path

The Government’s plans for the PRS continue on a destructive path as far as private landlords are concerned. Their ban on evictions – whilst offering landlords no recompense for having to keep on non-paying tenants (it would be very different if they underwrote the rent of non-payers and damage by rogue tenants) – is nothing short of a disgrace, robbing landlords of access to justice. Now, predictably, they are making noises about extending this ban. It’s such an easy solution, isn’t it?  Make landlords house people for free.

It’s certainly not easy or fair for landlords though. For many it’s an unmitigated disaster when they are stuck with a non-paying and or anti-social nightmare of a tenant and we know this could easily mean some rogue tenants getting a year’s free accommodation at our expense, both financially and in terms of our mental health.

I have just had a piece on this published on CapX – which is the publication from the think tank the Centre for Policy Studies. I feel it is important to get the landlords’ point of view into an arena where politicians are more likely to read it. So I am always pleased when they are willing to publish my work.

Having said that, I am also drawing attention to it here as I want landlords to know that I, for one, am trying to get our side across and, to coin a phrase, ‘cut through the crap.’  Despite any comments to the contrary, private landlords have not received one iota of help from the Government; instead being expected to shoulder a huge burden.

So if you could read the article, below, and then come back here and add your voice to this important discussion, that would be great. It would also be good if you could share it with your MP and maybe also write to Robert Jenrick to protest against the Government’s treatment of us.

Clearly, if they carry on completely disregarding our concerns and recklessly damaging our livelihoods, the private rented sector – which contributes so much to the housing needs of this country and to the economy – faces ruin.

https://capx.co/extending-eviction-bans-is-a-gift-to-non-paying-tenants-and-a-nightmare-for-landlords/



Comments

Neil Patterson

14:55 PM, 7th May 2020
About 3 months ago

We are apparently all in this together unless you are a landlord!

MoodyMolls

18:15 PM, 7th May 2020
About 3 months ago

Government always puts a spin on things.
Make out they are doing something positive for landlords. In reality it's a another stab in back.
All they had to do was pay the rents of those affected and if deemed necessary Reclaim via HMRC.
But no its a pigs ear mess.
They think nothing of taxing us to death then we are given no help in fact
They have made it much worse.
Then they have the cheek to use the word "fair" and "we will stand by you"

Paul Shears

21:21 PM, 7th May 2020
About 3 months ago

You know the one thing that I have never understood, is exactly what the government's motivation is in destroying the private rental sector. Let's ignore silly excuses like removing "bad" landlords from the market - whatever that means. Not only do I simply not understand it, I have yet to hear any explanation at all. This is very clearly a fundamental change in mindset and philosophy compared to many years ago. Obviously both the left and right wings share the view, but exactly what is the real motivation? You can talk all day about generating more possible tax from this area or that area. But this is much bigger than this. The politicians simply do not want a private rental sector at all. Why?

Paul Essex

22:53 PM, 7th May 2020
About 3 months ago

Lots of complaining today from people just realising that the self employed grants do not cover property income and if that makes up over 50% of their total income, they will get no help at all.
Perhaps enough to start to gain some traction?
I see Shelter are predicting a 'Tsunami of evictions' - just this once I may actually agree with them!

Luke P

23:59 PM, 7th May 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Paul Shears at 07/05/2020 - 21:21
My theory…we *could* be EXCEPTIONALLY powerful. If only we were organised and orchestrated. We’re bad at being so but if, somehow, we manage it collectively, we have a fundamental commodity that every citizen needs (a roof over their head) and we could potentially cause Govt. a massive problem and a constitutional impossibility if we dug our heels in for any reason…if we ‘hoarded’ of houses and refused to let them out, we’d present Govt. with the option of the illegal appropriation of property or failure in the State’s basic duty to provide housing for all. Someone has figured that out and only due to our disorganisation are Govt. ‘surviving’ whatever we may choose to throw at them. They’re (legally) turning the screw to get us out, whilst simultaneously advantaging their corporate friends. That and it’s the current popular thing to do to bash a landlord…whether or not that translates to more votes at the ballot box doesn’t really matter, because surely it’s worth a shot and is no harm to them (MPs) for trying…?

Bristol Landlord

16:03 PM, 9th May 2020
About 3 months ago

Why destroy the PRS?
I used to think the government was just incompetent and didn’t understand the PRS. But now I see the big picture and realise what is going on is actually a very well thought out and carefully designed multi faceted strategy. It is a strategy to achieve the government’s unstated agenda for the future of the PRS and social housing in the UK.
It is achievable by first destroying the PRS, but only for the smaller independent landlords, not the larger corporate landlords. It is a targeted approach.
So the Govt, sometime during the last 10 years of the Conservative Party rule, decides they are not going to fulfill their social duty and are unwilling to and never are going to build enough social housing to satisfy the ever increasing demand.
They have other things to waste the taxpayers money on such as tax breaks for large corporations, ie Amazon, and weapons for unnecessary wars to support the Americans and funding the privatisation of the NHS.
House prices are out of reach for many and for years the LAs have been starved of cash due to the unnecessary and criminal policy of “austerity”, (there is plenty of money but they just don’t want to waste it on the little people) so they don’t have the money to build new social housing but still have a duty to house local residents. Therefore the building of new social housing has slowed to almost nothing while demand has massively increased.
The Govt implements a plan to deliberately destroy the PRS but only for individual landlords and not corporate landlords. They make life difficult for landlords by reducing legal safeguards, reducing tax benefits to landlords but not to corporate landlords, proposed canceling of S21 eviction process etc. At the same time changing laws to make it very difficult to evict rogue tenants who can if they want stay for months committing anti social behaviour and not paying the rent.
This has the effect of “encouraging” many landlords to sell up, many of their properties leave the PRS and are sold to owner occupiers.
The Govt passes a law allowing LAs to impose a mandatory licensing scheme for HMOs. The purpose of licensing has several advantages.
1. It raises cash for the LA.
2. It puts all the private HMOs on the map, ie the LA knows all the addresses.
3. The last and most important for the LA is that a license indirectly gives them CONTROL of someone else’s livelihood and property. Very simply, if you need a license to legally do something and that license is taken away then you can’t legally do that thing anymore.
The last point although perhaps not directly or legally puts a landlords property within reach of the LA.
Due to the often ridiculous quantity and terms of the license (mine has over 30) there can be any number of reasons, real or made up, for an LA to find a landlord has breached the terms of the license and allow the LA to impose massive fines if they so wish. It also means a landlord takes a great risk if he challenges an LA on any other issue, he can be silenced by a threat to cancel his license.
The next step will be to pass laws allowing the LA to make a compulsory purchase of a property when the landlord loses his HMO license and as an added bonus went bankrupt due to massive fines imposed by the LA. This is the last piece of legislation the LA needs to take over a privately owned and privately rented property and turn it into a social housing property.
In the meantime the same high standards of habitation imposed on private landlords don’t seem to apply to social housing, many council properties are crime ridden dumps with the residents living in fear and squalor.
At the same time as all this is going on the government is priming the public by constantly demonising landlords by secretly funding government propaganda outlets such as Shelter.
At the same time while all that is going on the government is making backdoor deals with their corporate landlord friends and promising them that in a few years the PRS will be the land of milk and honey. Just wait for corporate American money to come flooding in after the terms of a trade deal with the US are worked out, this is due to Brexit, it’s all linked.
So it’s a win for the government as they offload their responsibility to fund social housing.
A win for them again as the treasury takes in hundreds of millions in Capital Gains Tax receipts from landlords selling up.
A win again for the government when they get their benefits (payoff) from the corporate landlords.
A win for the LAs as they make money from the criminal HMO license schemes but say it’s all for the good of the tenant.
A win for the LA when they increase their stock of social housing by taking property from private landlords after being fined out of existence and their HMO license cancelled.
A win for the corporate landlords as the path will be clear for them to massively invest in the UK PRS. Without the same rules and without paying much income tax no doubt.
A lose for the smaller landlords as they are forced to sell up or face onerous licensing conditions.
A lose for the tenants who rent in the PRS as the available property to rent from small landlords diminishes and they are forced to rent from corporate landlords.
Think the government isn’t evil enough to socialise the PRS?
They already did this in reverse a few times.
They sold thousands of Council owned properties to private landlords, now they would like to take them back.
They did this in reverse when they took a well functioning railway system, starved it of funds for years and then privatised it, now it’s rubbish.
They are working to privatise the NHS, another link to Brexit as the US has plenty of experience of private health care, just wait and see as the NHS is privatised and becomes a money making operation. Need a hip replacement or medication for your high blood pressure? Its going to cost you thousands in the future.

Chris @ Possession Friend

8:50 AM, 10th May 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Paul Shears at 07/05/2020 - 21:21
Very interesting question Paul, and something I've thought of many times.
My belief, and I suspect I'm partly right, is that it started with Govt wanting to put the 'brakes' on a fast expanding PRS which they saw as driving up property prices and removing affordable homes from first time buyers.
I think also the govt were deluded ( again ) in believing that the social housing and Council [ L.A. ] owned housing would catch up somewhat and 'even the balance
This hasn't happened of course. Local government are abandoning residential tenancies and actually behaving - copying the PRS to some extent in terms of property acquisition for investment, by buying Commercial properties for the rental income and equity - appreciation.
The crazy thing about the Govt's war on the PRS, is that they are blinkered as to the affordability of Social Housing, also Govt and their funded partners Shelter are ignorant of the almost x 4 eviction rate of Social Housing compared to PRS that has higher number of tenants.
You've just got to subscribe and read Joe Speye's blog on Housing, where he's an avid critic of Social Housing and Shelter. - Great 'friend' for landlords you'd think although its 'believed he isn't a fan of the PRS'.
I asked him about this, and he said he didn't like Rogue landlords. I said, neither did I, or the vast majority of other landlords.
We are now connected on Linked-In ! 😉

Mick Roberts

12:33 PM, 10th May 2020
About 3 months ago

I've sent loads to local Labour MP who knows me very well. He goes out his way to talk to me whereas the Labour Counsellor responsible for Licensing has tried to get me barred from speaking to anyone at the Council-Housing Benefit Department who I get on very well with said this ain't happening as did the Homeless dept.
So my point being, the local MP knows my side of what the Council & Govt are doing to Landlords which he quietly understands this could be impacting on tenants, he's still not doing ote about it. As people blame the Tory Govt for homeless when at a local level, it could be the local Labour Council screwing up.

I've sent several stuff to Jenrick, again not listened & got his aides to tell me Licensing is improving conditions & was only bought in for low demand-Yeah right 6000+ on waiting list low demand is it...

Again please copy paste my list below of the outgoings we have nowadays if they think us having a mortgage holiday is Whoopee Doo end of story we han't got to pay 'ote out.

We now have to do Fitness tests on new rentals £150 each house.
Electrical Installation Condition reports organisation & implementation £300+ each house.
Selective Licensing £890 just for one house.
Legionnaires checks £70 each house.
EPC’s £80 each house.
Data protection checks £40.
Carbon Monoxide detectors & smoke detectors, when wired, £300 each house.
Getting registered with Information Commission officer £40.
Floorplans, Inventories £90 each house.
Landlord has to criminal check himself & has to prove he has Right to live in UK
Increased staffing admin behind the scenes.
As you’ve seen, checks/inspections on your houses now with smoke alarms-Should be much more detailed checks.
Consultant & Legal fees to keep pace with legislation & staff training.
Letting Agent costs for new tenancies & house swaps £70pm each house.
All the above is extra costs we din’t have when many of u moved in.

Landlords are selling in their hundreds due to the increase in costs & the burden of ever increasing legislation.
Landlords are being fined when they get something slightly wrong.

As a company, we are really struggling to keep abreast with these constant legislation attacks, so much so, some of u know all new ones/swaps, we are having to place with Letting Agent.

The biggest changes are Selective Licensing & Universal Credit. Costs an absolute fortune in time & money to keep on top of it.

SteveG

13:45 PM, 10th May 2020
About 3 months ago

When will the government, media and general public at large realise that most landlords are normal working people too ? I've worked hard and paid taxes for 30 years and only got into BTL so I could create some kind of pension for my myself and family, yet we are treated with such disdain and labelled as the cretins of society. I'm currently paying for several mortgages as my tenants are withholding rent, as well as trying to keep food on the table, am sinking faster than the titanic with zero help from the Government, but to be fair I wasn't expecting any.

moneymanager

16:08 PM, 10th May 2020
About 3 months ago

"what the government's motivation is in destroying the private rental sector", there is no such plan, it's the private individual as opposed to big corporate landlord that is the target, just as with the world's largets shop whale gobbling all all the krill which includes department and mutiple stores too. This isn't our government's plan or that of any country's but I could end up sounding like a conspiracy theorist although you could just look at the evidence.

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