What is an amateur landlord?

What is an amateur landlord?

12:47 PM, 19th October 2013, About 9 years ago 44

Text Size

The phrase “amateur landlord” annoys me, I really wish people would stop using it.

First off, if you were a tenant would you want to be dealing with an amateur landlord?

I don’t recall ever seeing an advert on Rightmove or Zoopla which reads “Amateur landlord offers this stunning 3 bed ……” do you?

Would you put the words amateur landlord in you to let advert?

The phrase smacks of the landlord behaving amateurishly or not having a clue about what they are doing doesn’t it? What is an amateur landlord?

Dictionary definitions of the word amateur include:-

  • activity as a pastime rather than as a profession
  • one lacking the skill of a professional
  • not professional; unskillful

Are these the descriptions that people with just one or two rental properties wish to affiliate themselves with?

A landlord who owns just one property should still act professionally shouldn’t they?

I don’t really understand why the phrase “amateur landlord” ever came about. People who rent out property take an income from the rent, some spend any profits, some reinvest them and all are hoping for capital growth. Whilst this may not be their main profession, and often isn’t, surely they can’t claim to be amateurs? Why would they want to?

Perhaps they don’t want to be called professional landlords in the hope that Consumer Laws will protect them? Well there is no legal definition for what a professional landlord is anyway so I can’t see how that makes any difference. The legal case of OFT vs Foxtons ruled that landlords can be protected by consumer laws, however, the case didn’t set any a criteria for what constitutes a landlord no longer being a consumer.

Would these be consumers?

1) Let’s assume a person earned £500,000 a year as a banker and owned 30 investment properties making a net profit of a further £50,000 a year would that person still be a consumer?

2) Turn the numbers around and let’s assume the banker is making £500,000 of net profit a year from his property portfolio and £50k a year from a non-exec Directorship, what then? Logic might suggest he can’t possibly be a consumer any more because the vast majority of his income comes from being a landlord right? Well I’m not so sure about that either.

3) What about a housewife who owns one property making £50 a month profit after all expenses and has no other income?

The housewife with one property might be the better landlord too, hence more professional?

So is it number of properties which should set the precedent of whether a person remains a consumer or should it be based on what percentage of their earnings relate to rental properties. Based on the three examples above I can’t see logically how it could be either of these.

So, with no precise legal definition for what is a consumer landlord why do we have all these other tags?

Why aren’t landlords referred to as landlords?

If we must have further definitions I suggest the following:-

  1. Accredited Landlord – I like this one providing it refers to accreditation by education, not some “jobs for the boys” Council run scheme which inspects properties. I think it should be compulsory for all landlords to be accredited if they wish to manage their own properties.
  2. Rogue landlord – this is meaningless, either they are criminals or they are not.
  3. Portfolio landlord – a person who owns three or more properties (still a consumer though)
  4. Accidental landlord – that’s almost as bad as amateur isn’t it?
  5. Landlady – such a people run pubs or Guest houses. The legal definition of a female who rents out property is a landlord.
  6. Consumer – a landlord who is protected by unfair consumer contract terms – legal definition is required
  7. Sophisticated investor – a landlord who is not a consumer

Thoughts please?



Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118 View Profile

13:33 PM, 20th October 2013, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jerry Jones" at "20/10/2013 - 13:27":

I was a tenant once too. My landlord at the time was a three year old girl. The property was held in trust for her, no mortgage of course. When I found out I came up with the idea offering to switch rent payment for jelly babies and Barbie dolls but sadly the property manager acting for her refused to even put the deal to her! What a killjoy hey? LOL

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118 View Profile

13:36 PM, 20th October 2013, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jerry Jones" at "20/10/2013 - 13:33":

I'd happily take that bullet Jerry as it's got to be better than losing an arm and a leg in CGT when you want to sell one property and buy another.

Andrew Taylor

14:14 PM, 20th October 2013, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jerry Jones" at "20/10/2013 - 13:33":

The 'earned' thing is very important to the stability of long-term ternancies. My tenants are free to stay in my properties till 'I' die rather than 'they' die. The IHT side of this business is a joke.

Martin Eyre

15:15 PM, 20th October 2013, About 9 years ago


There is no amateur, no professional, no accidental landlord. If you sign a tenancy agreement as a 'Landlord' then you are, simply a 'Landlord'.

You have a duty to act appropriately or even 'professionally' but you are not Professional.

To be a Professional (with a capital P) you must belong to an official Profession such as a Doctor of a Lawyer.

Don't try to shirk your responsibilities by labelling yourself as an Amateur or try to elevate yourself by trying to be a Professional. This will only lumber everyone with registration, additional regulations, CPD requirement and extortionate annual fees for some organisation to maintain a list.

The answer to 'rogue' landlords is proper regulation and more importantly enforcement. Nothing more or nothing less.

I am a landlord and I do my best to do everything right. Simples!

Denise G

17:49 PM, 20th October 2013, About 9 years ago

Thank you Martin - perfectly put! and exactly my view - I do have a profession which is what I do in my working life (and it annoys me that any old job now seems suddenly to be termed a profession). My partner and I are also Landlords - a role we take very seriously, and do to the best of our ability but it is NOT our profession. Denise

Andrew Taylor

18:47 PM, 20th October 2013, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Denise Doms" at "20/10/2013 - 17:49":

Denise, you say that what you do in your working life is your profession. Being a landlord is my working life, its my full time job, its my main source of income. So being a landlord must also be my profession with a small P.

Martin, I want to elevate myself into a professional with a capital P, I want to create barriers to entry into the PRS in terms of regulation, accreditation, and even financial entry costs. I want tenants to realise there is a difference to part-time and full-time landlords.

Say my mate puts £5K down on a B2L flat tomorrow, he tells me "I'm a landlord just like you now" - I can say 100% he is not! You could equally argue he is.

Denise G

18:52 PM, 20th October 2013, About 9 years ago


Andrew Taylor

19:07 PM, 20th October 2013, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Denise Doms" at "20/10/2013 - 18:52":

Why to what bit?

Denise G

19:15 PM, 20th October 2013, About 9 years ago

why do you want to create barriers to entry into the PRS when there is a shortage of housing that we as private landlords can only begin to make a dent in

Andrew Taylor

20:30 PM, 20th October 2013, About 9 years ago

The PRS is not, and can never be, the solution to the housing crisis. The problem is not a question of ownership, but inadequate physical housing stock - not enough houses, and more fundermentally, not enough council houses / affordable homes.

Landlords do not create housing, they just buy and rent existing housing.

Why do I want barriers to entry? Every existing partcipant in every market place wants barriers to entry. It is a essential form of quality control, adding value to the market, and protecting the current participants from undue or unfair competition. Just becuase I can fix a tap that does not make me a plumber, just because I can afford to buy a racing car does not give me the right to race it. There has to be more to it than a question of ownership or partial passed on knoweldge.

During the credit crunch there was a shortage of finance, but we didn't all rush out and start lending cash - why? Its was not that simple, and neither should be being a landlord.

Leave Comments

In order to post comments you will need to Sign In or Sign Up for a FREE Membership


Don't have an account? Sign Up

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now