RLA Probes Shelter Anti Landlord Propaganda

by Mark Alexander

13:47 PM, 12th March 2014
About 5 years ago

RLA Probes Shelter Anti Landlord Propaganda

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RLA Probes Shelter Anti Landlord Propaganda

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RLA Probes Shelter Anti Landlord Propoganda

The data, published jointly between Shelter and British Gas suggest that over the last year, 200,000 tenants in the private rented sector have “faced eviction” because they asked their landlord to fix a problem in their home. However Shelter has ignored the inconvenient truths.

Based on Shelter’s data, which indicates that there are  9 million tenants in the private rented sector in England, 200,00 is  only a little over 2 per cent of all tenants, meaning almost 98 per cent have not faced the problems Shelter and British Gas warn of. It should also be noted that these figures refer only to tenants facing evictions and not actual evictions.

Official figures published by the Ministry of Justice in February show that in 2013, the total for all tenants – in both public and private housing – having their homes repossessed by the courts amounted to 37,739 homes. This combined figure equates to only 0.5 per cent of all rented homes in England. Shelter admit to scaling up the figures from their research.

Shelter also fails to explain how many of the tenants were failing to pay their rent on time and how many of the “evictions” were as a result of tenancies coming to a close. In this instance, many landlords may have sought possession of their properties in order to embark on refurbishments. It is also noticeable that Shelter fails to indicate how many tenant evictions are as a result of anti-social behaviour.

Figures from the English Housing Survey show also that the proportion of tenants satisfied with their properties are higher in the private rented than the social sector. 83 per cent of tenants in private rented homes are satisfied with their accommodation compared to 81 per cent in the social sector.

Responding to the report, Alan Ward, Chairman of the Residential Landlords’ Association said:

“Shelter are once again needlessly playing to people’s fears.

“Whilst the RLA accepts that there are landlords who should be rooted out of the sector, the fact that almost 98 per cent of tenants have not faced the problems should be a sober reminder to Shelter that the majority of tenants face no problems whatsoever with their landlord.

“The best response to the problems that Shelter identifies is to encourage more good landlords into the sector in order to boost the supply of homes to rent and to provide tenants with genuine choices over where they live. Shelter’s continued vilification of landlords will serve only to put the good landlords off further investment in the sector and push tenants into the hands of those operating under the radar.” 

In a report on regulation in the sector due to be published shortly, Professor Michael Ball of Reading University finds that:

“Private landlords felt frustrated that they are always treated as potential devils, while social landlords are always seen in official eyes and political rhetoric as angels. In contrast to such publicly aired views, it was pointed out that surveys of tenant satisfaction actually show better results for the private sector. Nor is the social housing stock consistently in tip-top condition.” 



Comments

Peter Jones

15:23 PM, 12th March 2014
About 5 years ago

I think I've said before on these pages that although Shelter purport to be a charity (I think) they are no more than an anti-landlord lobby group

Mark Alexander

15:28 PM, 12th March 2014
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Peter Jones" at "12/03/2014 - 15:23":

Propoganda, lies, damn lies and statistics they are very good at.

Actually helping the homeless I'm not so sure about.

How many hostels and other properties do Shelter actually provide to help the homeless?

Answers on a postcard please folks!

What really annoys me is the they are supported by several BTL mortgage lenders and companies like SpareRoom.co.uk

I was even invited to speak at a major property event event recently which was hosted and sponsored by KPMG. I refused on the grounds that it was a fund-raiser for Shelter.
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Renovate To let

15:36 PM, 12th March 2014
About 5 years ago

Of course the 200,000 includes all the rogue Tenants who decide to use "repairs" as their defence to a S8 for arrears....

John Daley

15:57 PM, 12th March 2014
About 5 years ago

Hi Mark,

I think we can expect that Shelter, regardless of opinion here, will continue to be an advocate for tenants and be an opponent of landlords.

Today there was a 10 minute motion in Parliament to seek leave to introduce legislation to regulate letting agents and landlords.

The subscibers of this site need to wake up to the fact that the PRS is now firmly in the view of Government. And I have to say not in a good way. In some ways you are the victim of your own success.

If a quarter of the population of London lives in the PRS then there is going to be attention devoted to this community. No one here can deny that a lot of the traffic on this site supports the view that the sector needs to up it's game.

There are a lot of highly professional and competent landlords. There must be if over 80% of residents are happy with their service.

However the highly skilled seem to be a minority and its clear that the average landlord struggles to keep up with the knowledge and skills needed to comply with the plethora of statutory requirements.

It also cannot be denied that there are a growing number of landlords who are just following the money and deliver really substandard and unsafe lettings. This is what is catching the attention of Government and media.

The PRS cannot seem to find any effective ways to self regulate so there must be a need to impose solutions to the problems.

My view is that the Sector needs to find effective ways to engage with Government and tries to shape the regulation so it falls lightly and cheaply on the competent and heavily on the unsafe and harassing landlords.

The current DCLG consultation on the PRS is an absolutely clear indication of the thinking going on at present in Government. Don't sit here on property 118 thinking someone else will do the work of talking to legistators on your behalf.

Mark Alexander

16:17 PM, 12th March 2014
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Daley" at "12/03/2014 - 15:57":

Hi John

The PRS is regulated by supply and demand - both of which are (or at least should be) controlled by government. It is under supply of housing which is causing problems, fix that and the position will improve without any form of regulation.

Next time anybody points a finger at the PRS they need to take a look at their own hand - there will be three fingers pointing right back at them!
.

John Daley

16:57 PM, 12th March 2014
About 5 years ago

Hi Mark,

I have to disagree on both counts.

It is not the Governments role to control supply and demand, the flows of capital and investment into the PRS have been absolutely because the Goverment withdrew from rent control and liberalised the tenure restrictions with the AST. One of the really obvious improvements in our financial policy picture is the removal of Govenment control of interest rates. The same applies to the PRS.

Governments role is to moderate and regulate the worst excesses of greed and exploitation that occur in completely unregulated markets. They also have a place in setting the environment in which economic sectors can flourish, so helping PRS investors into the sector is OK, rent control is not.

Secondly the usual rules of supply and demand can only operate in a perfect market, The property market is far from perfect and, in places, demand far outstrips supply. This causes the breakdown of the usual rules. This is the case in the SE and London where any dwelling no matter how poorly maintained or unsafe is lettable. When this is the case the worst landlords are not marginalised and priced out.

Anyone who denies the sector has problems that need to be addressed is just doing a Cleopatra. And finger pointing (any number) will just not serve to avoid attention.

The sector needs to become more mature and accept a role in it's own development and not try to duck the issue.

Mark Alexander

17:42 PM, 12th March 2014
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Daley" at "12/03/2014 - 16:57":

I am sorry if I am shattering illusions but the UK runs on a capitalist economy.

PRS regulation of any nature achieves nothing because there would still be the same level of demand for housing and the same number of houses, possibly less because developers wouldn't have built so many flats for the hunger associated with BTL market when in peaked between 2003 and 2008.

There is already more than enough legislation in place, what the sector is short of is enforcement - please see the following thread, in particular the comments posted by Ben Reeve-Lewis who work on the front line dealing with the issues you describe in the Borough of Lewisham >>> http://www.property118.com/enforcement-not-legislation-prs-hit-squads/43894/comment-page-6/
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Mandy Thomson

18:09 PM, 12th March 2014
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Daley" at "12/03/2014 - 15:57":

Hi John,

I know of two bills going through Parliament to introduce landlord registration/regulation of PRS: http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2013-14/privatelandlordsandlettingandmanagingagentsregulation.html introduced by Sir Alan Meale and http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2013-14/regulationoftheprivaterentedsector.html by Jeremy Corbin - which also proposes rent controls and making it illegal to refuse to rent to someone on the basis of claiming LHA - HOWEVER, this second bill is only a private member's bill, so isn't likely to get very far.
I can see an argument for some regulation of the PRS, such as a register of let property at a national level and perhaps new landlords should be required to demonstrate a minimum level of knowledge of landlord tenant law and some related laws and other matters - this might drive up standards in the PRS, and make us a little less unpopular - but it won't get rid of rogue landlords, who are, by their very nature secretive and hidden beneath the radar. For example, say your neighbour has a friend to stay for a while - do you report them to the local authority? It might just be a long stay house guest, or on the other hand, it might be an unofficial lodger or tenant, or perhaps, most likely, a friend of the neighour who is also his licensee as he's charging him rent, albeit on an informal, cash in hand basis...
There will still be plenty of people who hate the PRS, most of them just embittered home owner wannabes who can't or won't take steps to buy their own home, and certainly aren't going to try anything remotely entrepreneurial to get on the property ladder, but unfortunately, also people like Shelter and some local authorities.

Industry Observer

19:01 PM, 12th March 2014
About 5 years ago

I'll ignore the market forces etc argument and deal with regulation.

It is going to come. It is bound to for several reasons, not the least being a need for it and the fact it is already happening in Scotland and soon will be in Wales. So what makes England so special then that they are exempt- answer nothing,.

Nothing is the key word because nothing is going to happen yet because the next election is too close. But all three parties have regulation in their manifestos, difference is Labour and LibDems who will form the next Govt, or Labour alone, have it very seriously and as a higher profile manifesto commitment that the Tories.

So it will come, probably by around 2018 and biting i.e. amnesty period finished all need to be accredited/licenced etc, by 2020. I'll be long retired by then, but glad to see it.

Why?

Because it is needed.

Like the Shelter 2% most self managing Landlords are well intentioned, as are most agents, but in essence most are also woefully ignorant of the true legal realities of life. Accreditation may not solve that, but it is a start. I do agree with Mark though, what is needed is rigid enforcement and application of the ample existing Statute, rules and regs.

What is also needed is meaningful penalties for falling short, like loss of business if an agent and/or loss of property if a self managing landlord. That will not happen - which is why the rogues and cowboys will still survive and prosper, and why this whole debate is frankly a waste of time.

Because as usual problem solutions are blindingly obvious, it is lack of willingness or resources to implement those solutions that is the problem

Mark Alexander

19:30 PM, 12th March 2014
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Industry Observer " at "12/03/2014 - 19:01":

My view is that far too many people have ignored market forces and that's why we have so many failing schemes including registration in Scotland, clearly theirs and Newham's models are not the ones to follow. They are simply creating jobs for the boys and are not really addressing the issues.

I agree that education based accreditation is the best possible starting point. I was also delighted to see the Government putting cash into local authorities to fund additional enforcement. Then they went and spoilt their good work by increasing the budget by an extra million and giving it all to Newham! The solutions over funding are not difficult and have been discussed many times on this website so I will not repeat myself on that.

Market and tax conditions permitting I may well sell up and retire myself before 2020. My original strategy was to hold my properties until I'm dead but my views on that are changing somewhat. If values progress as predicted and the tax position stays the same I may well be making a substantial contribution to the treasury in terms of CGT. I know what I need money wise to last me for the rest of my life, however, whether or not I will want to continue to let and own properties though I'm not so sure,
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