Landlords! We have lost the moral high ground and it’s not coming back

Landlords! We have lost the moral high ground and it’s not coming back

11:33 AM, 18th November 2022, About 2 weeks ago 22

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While landlords have never been flavour of the month, we have lost the moral high ground over standards in private rented accommodation and it’s not coming back.

It’s hard to believe that landlord associations do not do more proactive PR work in reaching out to media organisations and that those media outlets don’t bother contacting landlords for our side of the story.

It struck me this week while watching Shelter’s Polly Neate on BBC Breakfast (again) talking about the awful death of a two-year old in social housing that had an incredible issue with mould.

Polly, rightfully, criticised the social housing provider but then went on to say that the situation is much worse in the private rented sector.

I have two issues with statements like this:

  • Polly and Shelter run a hotline with tenants complaining about the quality of their home, but they will only hear about awful landlords – those callers won’t be saying how great their landlord is
  • Shelter et al will bring in the PRS for criticism even if the subject is quite clearly about social housing providers.

Presenters and journalists never quiz deeper

I do have a third issue in that presenters and journalists never quiz deeper to find out whether the problem being discussed effects ALL landlords or just a few. They seem to accept landlord criticism at face value.

The difference is never made clear that decent, hardworking landlords are never given credit for providing quality, safe homes for tenants. It never happens.

I could gloat about the news on Property118 that Shelter’s staff are going on strike for more pay because they can’t afford to pay rent – I could highlight why this has come about (read last week’s article) but I feel sorry they can’t afford to pay. Good landlords offer good homes – and most won’t be charging the market rate.

However, when asked about the two-year old’s sad death, Michael Gove said it was incredible that the chief executive of the social housing provider was still in their job. And he is right.

I don’t like to agree with Mr Gove on anything but the problem here is that he is probably thinking that the situation is worse in the PRS. It must be – because that’s all he ever hears.

Two-year rent freeze for London’s tenants

So, let’s talk about Sadiq Khan and his bid to bring in a two-year rent freeze for London’s tenants.

Yes, the mealy-mouthed politician was deriding landlords while calling for a rent freeze to help tenants. Not landlords – we are so rich that we can easily absorb mortgage rises, apparently.

However, I caught his interview on Good Morning Britain and was staggered when presenter Susanna Reid said tenants would undoubtedly be happy with a rent freeze – but what about landlords?

Khan started his well-rehearsed offering and said that 40% of landlords own their property without a mortgage and said: “The choice is this, people being made homeless because they can’t afford to pay their rent or landlords making a bit less profit. I know what I’d choose.”

Hurrah! Down with those nasty landlords providing homes for people who can’t afford to buy or get social housing.

The issue of banning evictions came up and then came a bombshell.

Scottish landlords leaving the PRS

Susanna raised the problem of Scottish landlords leaving the PRS and Khan raised the 40% of owned rental properties again but was stopped by Susanna saying that if landlords can’t cover their costs, they will simply withdraw their properties from the market.

I was stunned. Am I hearing this right? A journalist who is asking the questions you never hear on the BBC? A journalist who is showing the consequence of what might (will?) happen if rents are frozen.

Khan wriggled and squirmed with his stock reply and seemed to think that landlords who decided to withdraw their property will ‘earn zero’. The prospect of landlords selling up altogether rather than leaving a property empty has obviously never reached his ears.

He also raised the prospect that 40% of Londoners are facing homelessness and dismissed the rising mortgage costs that landlords face.

Watch this because I can’t believe that someone on our side of the fence would be so strident or effective in tackling Khan and his nonsense idea of a rent freeze:

Time for a character to step out of the PRS shadows

This last point leads me to wonder that if a landlord association won’t step up to defend the PRS at times like these, perhaps it’s time for a character to step out of the PRS shadows to go on TV (not me! I don’t think I could keep my cool…).

For example, Tim Martin owns Wetherspoons and will stand up to discuss the pub and beer industry and Brexit – and other issues.

Is there not a landlord with a large portfolio who speaks at public events not willing to go on TV and tell people what the consequences of a rent and eviction freeze will be? No one?

I appreciate that criminal landlords won’t be reading this because they don’t care about the properties they offer or the welfare of their tenants. They care even less about how this feeds into public perception of our industry.

The drip-drip of negative stories about landlords hasn’t even reached a peak because I look at the upcoming Rental Reform white paper and I’m horrified at the prospect of MPs, media commentators and the likes of Shelter, Crisis and Generation Rent lining up to condemn private landlords everywhere.

And there won’t be a squeak from landlords in the media because we won’t be asked.

If ever there was a time for the PRS to stand up as one, that time is now. We are like a rabbit caught in headlights – except it’s not a car that is bearing down on us, it’s a massive juggernaut that won’t stop until most of us have called it a day and sold up.

What a terrible, avoidable situation this is.

Until next time,

The Landlord Crusader



Comments

Jerry stone

11:47 AM, 18th November 2022, About 2 weeks ago

I completely agree. I have written to the BBC on several occasions to complain about the lack of landlords being able to give there point. They did have some chap on GBNews but he was more of a developer than a Lord.
Watching Karn is sickening the way he refers to landlords.
No one address why rents have gone up!!

Shaun Hales

12:30 PM, 18th November 2022, About 2 weeks ago

There are plenty of landlords that have what it takes to be our voice but they are too busy and stressed out to go on tv for nothing.
I would be happy to pay an additional few quid in NRLA memberships to get someone like Ranjan or another YouTuber to tell our side.
Apart from the energy cap I don’t know of any other industry legally bound to pay ever increasing interest costs and not increase their prices. There is a simple solution that would cripple the banks, the mortgage holiday he said himself. Can anyone see the pattern here? I loved the stats on rent increases, which are dwarfed by the interest increases, excluding the rise in materials and labour.

Luke P

12:38 PM, 18th November 2022, About 2 weeks ago

“ Khan wriggled and squirmed with his stock reply and seemed to think that landlords who decided to withdraw their property will ‘earn zero’. The prospect of landlords selling up altogether rather than leaving a property empty has obviously never reached his ears.”

That is definitely true…when my LA tried to bring in Selective Licensing, I was having a casual conversation with a Council bod that came into my office asking to put a ‘consultation awareness’ poster up, and I asked her if they’d considered how many houses may be withdrawn from the sector as a direct result of Selective Licensing. She looked dumbfounded but said she didn’t think there’s be any. I, sat on maybe 80 properties just in the proposed license area, said I’d take all mine out of the PRS and she just went silent. The thought had never, not once, crossed any of their minds. They believe that because you are (currently) a landlord, then you’ll have no choice but to carry on being a landlord in perpetuity.

Fools.

Mick Roberts

12:38 PM, 18th November 2022, About 2 weeks ago

I've asked Shelter many a times to come see my tenants & their homes. They ignore this.

My tenants never go to Shelter & say Ooh we just had new boiler & kitchen. Or we only paying £550 & everyone else is paying £850. Shelter only hears from the minority who have a problem. And then want punitive retrospective regulations on ALL Landlords. Which we know then hurts All tenants.

When Corbyn shouted for Rent Holiday in March 2020, at that moment he signed the Getting worse for tenants warrant. We'd all vote for no tax, but we'd all be worse off in a year.

As we know Shelter said the new regs are working in Scotland. To which I say, Yes for them 10 tenants you have stopped being evicted. However u have now made it much worse & more expensive & not getting anywhere for the next 100,000 tenants.

Thanks for putting this news video on.

I've been on BBC before & I'm not the best ha ha.

Do Landlords not have a Cost of Living Crisis. Are we not human?
They now suffering the consequences of stopping evictions during the pandemic. Everything they do ends up making tenant worse off.

Well said Susanna Reid.

He's cuckoo Mortgage holiday. He han't got a clue. Oh do we not have to pay that back then?
The more he talks whilst I'm watching this video, the more we seeing Landlords selling making it worse for people he wants to protect.

Jonathan Cocks

15:01 PM, 18th November 2022, About 2 weeks ago

I have only just found time to listen to The Mayor of London on Tv. Yes he faced a few challenging questions and yes he didn’t have a clue how to answer. But what he did say/imply was he hopes to get re-elected for another term. Knowing this, is he not trying to buy votes from London renters to get re-elected?
He completely ignored any suggestion that challenged his understanding of what work most landlords do to build their rental property businesses.
Once built there is on going RUNNING costs, in so many areas not to mention the challenges EPC and Carbon levels we have to obtain once we actually know what is required of us.

When I was reading this post, there was reference to ‘we landlords have no body who could represent us.’
I too thought of the NRLA ( National Residential Landlords Association). I am a member, and I am sure Ben Beadle, the CEO, would consider representing his members. At the annual NRLA conference on Tuesday I think the membership in in the region of 100,000. Not an insignificant number.

Dennis Forrest

15:11 PM, 18th November 2022, About 2 weeks ago

If the 2 year toddler who died was in a private landlord's property you can be fairly certain that the landlord would be looking at a £50,000 fine and probably at least 6 months in prison. It always happens that whenever social or council housing problems arise there is a rapid metamorphosis to mention landlords in general. Unfortunately we are all tarred with the same brush.

Luke P

15:37 PM, 18th November 2022, About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Jonathan Cocks at 18/11/2022 - 15:01
Ben Beadle is a wet lettuce at best.

Rod

15:52 PM, 18th November 2022, About 2 weeks ago

Another great article from The Landlord Crusader.
And, quotes a rare example of a presenter showing the folly of political economics, where politicians simply look at the greatest number of voters who will be influenced by bashing landlords, while choosing to ignore the real world impact on landlords and the rental market.
While you are right to expect landlord associations to stand up for their members, with the exception of the NRLA, most landlord associations run on tiny budgets, with correspondingly small teams, limiting their ability to represent the causes of the PRS to national media, politicians and beyond.
I've posted before, questioning why, in a sector which is vilified and persecuted, more participants (landlords and agents) do not stand up and be counted by joining a landlord association.
Less than 10% of landlords belong to a landlord association.
The team at iHowz have been campaigning hard but, despite showing our face online, at landlord shows, and our popular online and in person meetups, the average landlord is too tight to part with the £100 or less to join a landlord association.
It is not uncommon for non-members to approach us asking for our help (often of their own making due to a lack of training and education), only to walk away when we point out that a membership payment is required to access specific support and help.
This week's autumn statement saw landlords who use a company, either to hold or manage their properties, lose 50% of their dividend personal allowance in the next tax year, with more of the same the following year.
In a move that rubbed salt into the wound of those landlords who have had enough and plan to sell up, the same treatment will apply to their gains, with the CGT allowance halved from April 2023 and halved again in 2024.
If you are a landlord and have not yet done so, YOUR LANDLORD ASSOCIATION NEEDS YOU to join, so they can represent you as we progress through the biggest changes in the PRS in over 30 years.
To join iHowz and enjoy all the usual membership benefits, as well as help us lobby on your behalf, go here and sign up before our end of year price increase.
https://ihowz.uk/
iHowz are currently expanding their team and are looking for two part-time staff:
1. Accounting and admin role, with some research
2. Marketing and membership, including social media
If you are interested in finding out more, or know of someone you think would be suitable, get in contact using the details on our website.

Jonathan Cocks

17:23 PM, 18th November 2022, About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 18/11/2022 - 15:37
Thank you for your response. Until now I thought this was a positive suggestion, and I apologise to everyone I have offended in any way.
But, if you are going to make such a statement I do believe it would be helpful, certainly to me and possibly other in this post, if you provided some supporting evidence as to how you came to that conclusion please?
I have no one else to suggest, Do you Luke,P have anyone to suggest who is not a wet lettuce please?

Is it a given landlords need someone to speak up for the PRS or challenge statements made against the PRS landlords,
Or is it only a handful of us?

cashcow

18:13 PM, 18th November 2022, About 2 weeks ago

Well said the property crusader, and all the comments made.
We do need a hero/representative, the NRLA seem to spend most there time booking courses, we need someone with guts and determination not lettuce feeders .
I am about to try and sell my 2nd flat this year before April so as not to loose out on the new CGT allowance reduction which will save £24000 as i own it jointly, its a shame for the tenants as there rent £1500pm never had an increase in 8 years then got reduced during lockdown, they will have to fight hard to find another home in London for £2000pm at the very least if they can.
We as landlords are going down so what or who will take our place.

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