Is your MP a landlords champion?

Is your MP a landlords champion?

17:59 PM, 30th October 2014, About 7 years ago 105

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With the 2015 elections coming up in six months time it’s time for landlords to start lobbying their MP’s. We need them to realise that over 1 million UK based landlords have a voice and have needs. Is your MP a landlords champion?

I am urging all landlords to write to their MP with a letter similar to my own (see below in italics).

You can be sure that tenants and lobby groups such as Shelter will be doing the same, so if we landlords keep quiet, as the usually do, the only voices MP’s will hear in terms of issues surrounding the PRS will be from those who despise landlords.

My letter to my MP (sent by email) ……

SUBJECT:- Forthcoming elections

“Dear Mr Freeman

As a resident of your constituency, and along with more than a million landlords operating in the residential private rented sector, I am beginning to consider who to vote in the forthcoming elections. I want to be certain that you will support landlords in parliamentary debates so I would be interested to understand how you feel about the following issues which are of primary concern to myself and my peers..

Like me, most landlords are simple hard working folk who invest into property to fund their retirement and who ask just 3 basic things from their tenants:-

  1. Pay rent on time
  2. Respect your neighbours
  3. Respect your home (my property)

No landlord enjoys periods when rent isn’t coming in! That’s why we want our tenants to stay long term. The cost of refurbishment between tenancies and re-letting far exceeds the cost of maintaining our properties and relationships with our tenants.

What landlords need is a quicker system to evict tenants if they don’t do any of the 3 basic things listed above.

Job mobility necessitates a larger PRS, it’s growth must not be allowed to be stifled in any way.

No tenant lives in poor conditions out of choice, increased availability of PRS property will create competition and resolve problems without the need for regulation. Supply and demand is basic economics.

We need Councils to use their existing powers to close down the rogue operators who tarnish the reputation of the private rented sector.

What we don’t need is more regulation (local or National) to be funded by stealth taxes on landlords (AKA licensing or registration fees). I doubt tenants would vote for this either when they realise it puts an upward pressure on the rent they pay and there are thought to be around 5 million tenants in the UK. 

The powers granted to local authorities to implement Additional and/or Selective licensing need to be removed. These powers negatively effect property values and insurance premiums for all property owners, regardless of whether they are owner occupiers or landlords. Also, there is no strong evidence to suggest that licensing reduces anti-social behaviour, which is why these schemes were introduced in the first place.

CGT rollover relief is applicable to landlords who invest in commercial property, but not residential property. That is counter intuitive! Tax reforms are needed to encourage residential landlords to trade up and to create more churn in the property market.

Please let me know which of my above comments you agree or disagree with so that I may consider how I will vote at the next election, and so that I may publish your reply at Property118.com for my fellow landlords within and outside your constituency to read.

One final question please; do own one or more residential properties yourself which you let to tenants? A simple yes or no to this question is all that is required.

Yours sincerely

Mark Alexander”

Important footnotes to Property118 members

You can find details of your MP here

You MUST quote your address in correspondence.

When you have sent your letter please post a comment below.

When you receive a reply from your MP please post that below too. If it’s a long letter please email to mark@property118.com and I will get it linked to your comment so that it can be opened in PDF format.

 



Comments

by Mark Alexander

0:27 AM, 12th December 2014, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "AA Properties Wales " at "11/12/2014 - 20:45":

This list of 5 demands sounds perfectly reasonable to me.
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by Dr Rosalind Beck

8:51 AM, 12th December 2014, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "12/12/2014 - 00:27":

But a question is: how could this be changed? How could it become a criminal matter? What would need to be done? and/or how could council regulations change to not support this moral, if not illegal, fraud/theft? (direct payments are the one obvious answer - but of course the Government is completely against them and have created a bigger problem for landlords in recent years)
I know I keep harping on about tenants' responsibilities, but I think it's a key concept. With Universal Credit for example, they're saying this will teach the tenant to be 'responsible' with money. But there is no penalty if they are not responsible (only the landlord suffers the penalty). Surely we should keep getting the message across that there needs to be consequences if tenants fail to adhere to their responsibilities? They're quite happy to talk about landlords' responsibilities and tenants' rights, but not landlords' rights and tenants' responsibilities. It's a blind spot in the Government's thinking, aided by Shelter's one-sided political lobbying.

by Mark Alexander

9:51 AM, 12th December 2014, About 7 years ago

Hi Rosalind

At the risk of sounding like I have defected to the other side, criminalisation of the non-payment of rent is simply never going to happen for a multitude of legal reasons. Not being a lawyer myself, it is difficult for me to articulate all the reasons. I'm hoping that somebody like Romain will come along and do a make better job of it than I can.

Consequences of non payment of rent are very severe, here is a short list of some of the nastiest things we are legally allowed to do:-

1) We are allowed to make a person homeless, much the same way as a mortgage lender can do if a person does make their mortgage payment. It's arguably a bit easier for us too.
2) We can make people bankrupt
3) We can appoint High Court Baliffs to raid their homes and take away things of value (e.g. TV's, iPads, iPhones, games consoles, cars etc.) and sell them in an auction to recover our money. The debt only has to be above £600.
4) We can get CCJ's, attach earnings orders, get orders for their bank accounts to be frozen
5) We can report them to websites such as Landlord Referencing Services

These 5 things are consequences we can legally inflict on tenants who don't pay their rent. I'm sure there are a lot more. These are our rights.

We also have the right to reference tenants, ask for guarantors and reference them too and most importantly to say "no, you can't rent my property".

I totally agree that housing should be the number one priority and that contracted payments of rent should be deducted from benefits at source and paid directly to the landlord, regardless of whether Housing Benefit equals rent or not. I appreciate that we are fighting against political sentiment on this but I can assure you that it is a fight that can be won whereas criminalising non-payment of rent is most definitely not.
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by Kulasmiley

19:22 PM, 12th December 2014, About 7 years ago

Rosalind let's not give up on this. IF a local authority pays the tenant rent and if that tenant does not forward that rent then it should be a deception. IF a shopkeeper gives his supplier money to forward on to the manufacturer for good received, and the supplier does not intentionally then he has received the goods deceptively.

Listen surely someone out there has to guts to take this forward.

After all "revenge evictions" are the new buzzwords.

"Theft of rent" should be criminal. Landlord gives tenant "property", tenant takes property without "paying for it".

A new law someone.......?? Do I have to start a campaign??? Show me how..

by Kulasmiley

22:36 PM, 12th December 2014, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "12/12/2014 - 00:27":

But the contract between hb dept is for the rent to be paid, OTHERWISE the hb dept is throwing money away, and it DOES pursue tenants that I report. I will speak to Bill Irvine about this. My discussions with Landlord Liaison Officers in Cardiff (who are bloody excellent), is for the future for any LL who take on hb tenants (lack of housing), etc there will be a strong safeguard in place. I said I would help IF they agree that any LL that loses rent that is stolen, it will be "replaced" by this safeguard.

Time will tell.

by Kulasmiley

22:38 PM, 12th December 2014, About 7 years ago

Hi Mark would you mind if I copied and pasted these comments to RLA forum, as fellow landlords there are commenting on same topic to me??

by Mark Alexander

22:43 PM, 12th December 2014, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "AA Properties Wales " at "12/12/2014 - 22:38":

Of course not, be my guest. Please quote the source and link though.
.

by Anne Nixon

16:02 PM, 23rd December 2014, About 7 years ago

Here is the response from my MP which I received today. Nothing we didn't already know here I don't think!?!

Thank you for contacting me about private sector landlords. I fully appreciate the concerns that landlords have in the private sector about the issues you raise.

All landlords should have a tenancy agreement in place which sets out the rules and rent guidelines with their tenant which provides important legal protection. Fundamentally, landlords have two main routes they can take to regain possession of their property under the Housing Act 1988, including for reasons which include rent arrears and anti-social behaviour. I believe these are adequate protections against bad tenants. However, the Government has issued guidance to landlords making them better aware of their rights.

As you are aware, the private rental sector provides a home to 9 million people and the Government is determined to root out the minority of rogue landlords that give it a bad name. Councils have been given £6.7 million to tackle rogue landlords in their area and the new Model Tenancy Agreement will help tenants to agree longer tenancies with their landlords to give them more stability. In addition, a new industry Code of Practice will make clear the legal requirements and best practice, leaving landlords in no doubt about their responsibilities.

On the issue of selective licensing, while these sorts of decisions are taken at local level, local authorities should always be mindful that additional regulation does not have a detrimental impact on the prosperity of local communities. Selective licensing is intended to address the adverse impact that poor management by a minority of private landlords, and anti-social behaviour by a few tenants. However, the Government does not support the use of licensing across an entire local authority and I am pleased it is considering how it can roll back its blanket use.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

With best wishes

Yours sincerely

Julian

by Mark Alexander

16:18 PM, 23rd December 2014, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Anne Nixon" at "23/12/2014 - 16:02":

De Ja Vue?!!!. In fact, the letter you have received is pretty much word for word the reply I got from my MP!

Presumably your MP is also a member of the Labour Party?

The replies from Conservative MP's have, to date, been far better written and have actually addressed the specific issues raised by our readers.

Personally, I think it is disgraceful that Labour MP's aren't even bothering to read letters from landlords properly, let alone sending out an irrelevant letter template and passing it off as a considered reply!
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by Carol Thomas

17:34 PM, 23rd December 2014, About 7 years ago

Yet another great reason NOT to vote Labour!!


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