Thank heavens for landlords

by Dr Rosalind Beck

8:56 AM, 17th August 2020
About a month ago

Thank heavens for landlords

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Thank heavens for landlords

This is one of the best pieces I have seen valuing the work of us as private landlords. If only we could get this message across to combat all the anti-landlord rhetoric that is so polluting discussions about the private rented sector and leading to the onslaught of destructive policies which are ruining things for tenants just as much as they are damaging landlords’ businesses.

A landlord writes:

After seeing a “Shelter” sponsored post on my timeline today, I scrolled through some of the nasty comments. Many people think landlords are parasites, trapping people, overcharging rent, forcing people to rent all their lives, preventing people from saving up for a deposit for a house, etc., I posted this comment to try to balance out things:

What about an alternative view?

You haven’t got the money saved up for a 10% or 15% deposit on a house, but you want to move out of your parents home now, so what do you do? If only there were some people who were willing to let me move into a house for only a £700 deposit and another £700 rent.

That way, I can have my own house and have only put down £1400. I can move in within a week or so of viewing it, rather than wait 3 to 4 months to buy. Brilliant. What’s more, if I decide I don’t like the area, neighbours, road noise, or change jobs and I need to move 20 miles away, or I need an extra bedroom, want a bigger garden, etc., I can move out with only a months notice. I don’t have to put my house on the market and wait 4 to 6 months to sell it, or much longer in a poor economy.

What a great system that would be… It’s so flexible, so easy and I am protected by law and have so many rights bestowed upon me too.

Furthermore, if there is a leak, a boiler breakdown, a non-working toilet, the cooker breaks or any other maintenance issue, somebody else pays for it, so I am assured that for the next year or so, my housing budget of £700 a month is never exceeded by a pesky roof leak or boiler breakdown.

Wait… What?!? A system like that already exists? Amazing.

So, you’re telling me that there are other people out there who have had the discipline to save up their wages and earnings and used their perfect credit score for the benefit of others? These people have bought a house, refurbished it, made it habitable, made sure it complies with all the housing regulations, gas safety regs, electrical safety regs, EPC regs and around 130 other regs (which I wouldn’t enjoy if I bought a house)?

So they take a massive risk and let me just put down £1400 to move in, within a week or so of viewing it, instead of putting down £20,000 and waiting 3 to 4 months?!? Who are these mystical people? Is there a name for them?

What was that you said… a “Landlord”.

Wow. We should be so grateful that these “landlord” people are willing to help me out in my hour of need, as I can’t save up £20,000, can’t wait for 3 to 4 months and I want to move now.

Thank heavens for landlords who saved up their money and decided not to leave it in a savings account or ISA or pension, but took a massive risk, invested their money, paid for the house to be done up, helping other people like this…. It’s amazing…

These people must be so loved and valued by society and the Government.

What? They’re called greedy parasites and attacked by ‘charities’ and Government? When they’re sorting out what would otherwise be a huge problem for people?

Is the world crazy?


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Comments

Coastal

10:28 AM, 17th August 2020
About a month ago

Of course something positive like this would never make it into the mainstream media...!

Martin Roberts

10:29 AM, 17th August 2020
About a month ago

Very well put.

But wait - if only there was a charity, with an income of over £60 million pa, just think how they could help by providing much needed housing.

Gary Nock

10:30 AM, 17th August 2020
About a month ago

I agree entirely Rosalind. I have admired and seen from a distance the work you put in in many forums extolling the virtues of the endangered species known "Lanlordius Endangeredus" - of which I am a member. To make it worse I am also a letting agent. Ouch!

The problem being that the politics of the extreme left and it's Marxist anti- doctrine on the ownership of property have infiltrated so many areas of our society and have become fashionable and vote catching. The obvious social manipulation of the university place system and its teachings by the Blair government, it's policy on unlimited immigration, and the creation of future generations of Momentum recruit clones have left landlords weakened. The Tory Party which under Cameron and May became Neo- Liberal took more extreme steps against landlords than any labour government before. Why? Votes. Pure and simple. Landlords have become socially and economically constructed pariahs, prey to the likes of Shelter and Generation Rent - who need to be careful what they wish for. Because without landlords many of its members and supporters will be homeless.

David

10:49 AM, 17th August 2020
About a month ago

Thanks Rosalind and also Martin for his wry and oh so true comment .Im sure you will forward this to your MP as it sums up the situation perfectly, but im sure the government know this. Does this Tory government actually believe all these tenants, who they believe out number landlords, belonging to Generation Rent etc will vote for them, whereas landlords are more likely to especially if we were supported by them.

Whiteskifreak Surrey

11:08 AM, 17th August 2020
About a month ago

Excellent article, Dr Ros, as always.
Let's think how can we put that through some mainstream media? Can it be somehow put into Generation Rent comments on their social media? I know, I am dreaming....
Do I understand correctly that comment is already somewhere on Shelter FB?

The Forever Tenant

11:52 AM, 17th August 2020
About a month ago

This is a tough one and I know that I have mentioned this before but landlords have a lot of work to be able to improve themselves in the minds eye of the nation. All the bad feeling have not just come from organisations such as Shelter or Generation Rent, but from landlords themselves acting in a way that looks like they only have their own self interest at heart.

You are involved in providing one of the the items that is basically required for any reasonable person to live. A roof over ones head is a necessity, so by profiting from that, you have already been put into a bad light. There's no way around this part that I can see.

There is the eternal stigma that has been around forever that rent is lost money. That the tenant has nothing to show for the money they pay each month and that all you are doing is paying the landlords mortgage, so that that the landlords will own the property at the end of it. This again is so deeply ingrained in the national psyche that I cant see any way around that either. In the example given in the original post, you have a person just left home for the first time, so probably earning around £20,000 a year, which means that they are now spending over 50% of their take home pay on rent. It makes saving for a deposit practically impossible. This leads to tenants never being able to envision getting their own property.

There are landlord forums all over the internet where landlords will talk about how much money they can get from tenants. Landlords have been up until now invisible in the rental process. In my 25 years of renting, I have met only one of my landlords once. They are a faceless entity who would seemingly not care about me until I do something wrong. I would like to see more landlords actually taking an interest in tenants above whether they pay their rent each month.

Further to everything, once in a property, it can rarely be made your own. You are generally not allowed to decorate, have pets, put pictures up, change anything, basically make the place your own. You cannot give the place your own touch. It's not your own home. Make any changes to make yourself comfortable and you risk being thrown out of the house.

Its a tough situation. I say these things as these are the items that are brought up by tenants time and time again and things that I have seen with my own two eyes. By saying that you are providing a service, so deal with it, is not going to win any tenants over to your side. Action will, and up until now, I've seen little action from landlords.

Hate me as much as you want for saying what I have said, but I honestly don't see things getting better any time soon.

Dennis Leverett

11:58 AM, 17th August 2020
About a month ago

Excellent Ros, that is the absolute truth of it, basically we are carrying the risk for the wellbeing of others. This world is/has gone nuts. Marks & Spencer having to apologise for describing the colour of a bra "tobacco" how long before car manufacturers won't be able to sell black cars or the many variations of. B & Q stopped from selling tobacco coloured paint and all related colours. One person complained to M & S and has received so much media coverage. How many ripped off/ruined Landlords get that sort of media coverage, absolutely none. What the cluck can we do about it, I don't know.

Roy B

12:47 PM, 17th August 2020
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by The Forever Tenant at 17/08/2020 - 11:52
You evidently haven't rented from me. Pets allowed within reason - due to consideration for neighbours, no rent increases and as long as you are looking after the property you would not be asked to leave without at least 6 months informal notice and a long formal notice- ie I would let you know my plans and give you as much time as possible to make arrangements, if you wanted to change the interior decor - no problem as long as the house is returned in a rentable condition or you have been there so long I would redecorate anyway. If you had signed the agreement prior to decorating/re-carpetting you would be asked if you had any preference and would you like to come/go to the local carpet shop to choose ( with a budget). Should you get into difficulties paying your rent - as long as you tell me and either come up with a plan I WILL help. If you just stopped paying and avoided me you would be given the minimum notice and possession would be sought ,via the legal system if required. If you report faults promptly and look after the garden and house then, as I have just done, am more than willing to give you a break eg a month or two at half rent and then review with you personally. If you fall behind with the rent, don't tell me why, then say you aren't going to leave or pay rent because of covid even when you were aske to leave 6 months pre-covid and were given an extension to your section21 notice, stopped paying any rent in Feb, have paid none since and refuse to speak to the Agent or Landlord I will take you to court at your expense, even though I would probably never see the money.

Art Dobson

12:59 PM, 17th August 2020
About a month ago

True there is a real backlash against our community, I feel it's gone passed the tipping point where we can rescue it and show landlords can be a force for good.
The golden goose of btl is dying slowly, some areas are seeing growth but as a whole it is on its last legs.
I think that most people are happy to blame boomer landlords and ready to say, "look you had it good for about two decades, now it's time to be taxed and charged into extinction", it's a vote winner, and our comrades who are terrible landlords are just throwing fuel on the fire.
As a professional landlord I've always being in it for the money, I'm not going to act as if I've got a Jesus complex and doing it as a social service.
Like many other industries and markets throughout history there is coming a time when I need to move my capital somewhere else and make it work hard their. Capitalism doesn't give a F how much I like being a landlord, markets shift and assets need to be diversified to maintain profit.
Personally I'm getting out of the crumbling property market and investing in cloud computing, it's easier than you think and the industry is growing 30%+ each year. I wish I had done it in 2016 when I could see the ground starting to shift.

Art Dobson

13:01 PM, 17th August 2020
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Dennis Leverett at 17/08/2020 - 11:58
But does it matter?
Don't get offended that society is moving forward, stack your chips and find a way to profit from it.
When you start moaning you are acting just like Shelter or a spiteful jilted lover.

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