11:29 AM, 29th August 2023, About 3 months ago
The buy to let sector is facing a lot of challenges in the UK, from tax changes to higher mortgage rates – but there’s another factor affecting the reputation and morale of landlords: the media.
According to Stuart Haire, the chief executive of Skipton Building Society, the private rental sector is being ‘demonised’ by the media, which portrays landlords as greedy and exploitative.
He told the Telegraph that landlords ‘are getting squeezed from a tax basis and from the increased mortgage rates they are having to pay’.
And in a story in the Sunday Times last weekend, Paragon Bank’s Nigel Terrington said landlords ‘are not evil’ and added ‘everywhere landlords turn they hear they’re ‘bad people’ and ‘profiteers’.
But a new survey reveals that landlords have had enough – of being called ‘landlords’
The research was carried out by Mortgages for Business (MFB) and its managing director, Gavin Richardson, said: “Sections of the media have vilified the buy to let community.
“The government has hammered them — think Theresa May’s 3% Stamp Duty surcharge and other tax deterrents.
“It’s got to the point where the buy-to-let community doesn’t want to be associated with the term ‘landlord’ anymore.
“The term carries much more baggage than it once did. No wonder the community wants a rebrand.”
The MFB survey reveals that most of the buy to let community (59%) would rather not be called ‘landlords’ in the media, as they feel it is a dated and derogatory term.
Some parts of the US media, such as NBC, have already stopped using the word ‘landlord’ after complaints from the buy-to-let sector.
In the UK, however, the term is still widely used and often associated with negative stories.
The MFB survey also asked the BTL community what they would like to be called instead of ‘landlords’.
The most popular option was ‘Small Housing Providers’ (43%), followed by ‘Landlords’ (36%) and other alternatives such as ‘Rental Accommodation Provider’ (7%).
Mr Richardson said: “The majority of landlords are paying 40% tax on their rental income – plus stamp duty – which means the Government is profiting hugely from Generation Rent.
“And to what end? Hammering landlords over the last five years has done first-time buyers no favours – research from Nationwide suggests first-time buyers now need to save a huge 113% of their annual salary for a typical home deposit of 20%!”
He added: “What would happen if we took landlords out of the housing equation?
“The impact on the property market would be significant and almost entirely negative.
“It’s not as if the Government is pouring money into social housing — or making any progress on house building.”
The survey also found that almost three-quarters of the respondents (73%) felt that they were ‘unfairly portrayed as this generation’s financial bogeyman’.
Only 8% said that they were not ‘financial bogeymen’ at all, while the rest admitted that there might be some truth to the stereotype.
Mr Richardson said: “Frankly, the government should be championing landlords and lauding their contribution to the housing sector — landlords are bailing the Government out!”
He said that landlords who are preparing for retirement by investing in property are being ‘reviled’ for building a nest egg.
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