Will you be hit by the Budget?

by Patrick Collinson

A week ago

Will you be hit by the Budget?

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Will you be hit by the Budget?

Hi, I write for The Guardian (I’m their money editor) and we’re keen to profile a landlord ahead of next week’s Budget – looking at the sorts of things that have affected you financially over the past year, what you want from the Budget, etc.

On the day we’ll ring back for any reaction. We’d need to name you and photograph you, and preferably say how many properties you have.

If you’d like to take part, contact me at p.collinson@theguardian.com

You’ll find I’ve written a mix of stories about landlords representing Guardian readers’ views on the sector.

My most recent one, “Have we gone too far in vilifying landlords” Click Here to view the article.

Comments

Mark Alexander

A week ago

Hello Patrick and welcome to Property118 where you will hear from real landlords.

I have been in the business of letting property since 1989. I am sick to the back teeth of landlords being villified by publications such as The Guardian. Your forums are full of comments by the same small group of anti landlord activists who post the same propaganda messages constantly despite being defeated in rationale argument time after time.

Following the George Osborne attacks in 2015 on our sector I decided enough was enough. Never again will I vote Conservative, or indeed for any other political party in the UK.

I was proud to be British, and it is with a heavy heart that I declare now I am not.

My wife and I emigrated to Malta in Feb 2016 and we have since been selling our rental properties as they become vacant. Initially, our plan was to sell the whole lot on the basis that for CGT purposes we would pay tax only on capital gains since April 2015 as non-residents. However, we decided against that on the basis that we forsee a massive shortage of rental property in the coming years and as a result of that lack of supply we will see massive increases in demand and hence rental inflation, so in the long run it will be good for our business.

The tax attacks on landlords have hardened us to the point of being corporate in mindset.

After thinking things through whilst laying by the pool we decided that we will no longer sell all properties as they become vacant either. Never before had we increased rents other than between tenancies but we do now. Some tenants cannot afford the increased rents and it is those who move on. Nevertheless, the number of new tenants interested in our properties continues to rise every time we re-advertise. This is not of our making. Government policy applied pressure to us and we are merely passing that down the supply chain. If the Government add extra fuel duty in the Budget the Oil companies will do exactly the same thing.

Like most good landlords, we welcome any steps that will drive out the small minority who give us a bad reputation. We are hopeful that the new regulations via the back door to be announced in the Budget will help to weed out more of the rogues, unlike the fund raising scams we all know as Selective Licensing which serves no purpose for good landlords and tenants and only creates "jobs for the boys". Only time will tell.

The PRS has driven house building over the last few decades and the pressure that has now been applied will see that element of the economy shrink back again. Of that I have absolutely no doubt. Instead of fixing the housing crisis, Government policies are making it worse, and the Conservative policies are positively benign compared to those of the other policital parties.

I have made it my personal mission to help as many landlords to survive the attacks on the PRS as possible. However, sometimes I feel like the only medic on the battlefield, and pot shots from the media do not help anybody.

Landlords and tenants will continue to suffer equally until they realise they are on the same side. We need to work together to make sure that enough housing exists of all tenures to give people a real choice. Nobody will choose to live in a dangerous property by choice, only an increase in supply of properties of all tenures will facilitate that choice.

People need to be educated that the true villains are the politicians who turn people against each other to hide their own failings. The biggest crime is failing is to facilitate the building of sufficient housing.

The main reason for both rental inflation and property appreciation is demand outstripping supply. If another 5 million rental properties came on the market today rents would fall. If another 5 million houses were built today for first time buyers then house prices will fall.

Turning homeowners against landlords or vice versa achieves nothing more than displacement of competition at best. Why do you fail to recognise that in your reporting?

Rant over - for now!

Sarah Quinlan

A week ago

As ever, thanks for representing us Mark!

Richard U

A week ago

If this is an example of the fairest article produced, then I can't see why anyone would trust The Guardian to do anything different in the future. Perhaps whilst you are here, you could explain how Landlords are 'responsible for the younger generation', being 'unable to get on the property ladder'? Also why is taxing good landlords through licensing an acceptable idea? Also why is it ok to 'vilify the majority of landlords?'
I for one am proud of being a landlord. Rather than dining out on credit for consumer goods, I chose to save hard, living well within my means for many years to raise a deposit for buying property. I have improved properties for tenants to live in, responded quickly at all hours to everything from: how to programme a boiler to tenants being locked out. I have spent thousands repairing properties, when maintenance issues have arisen - meaning some years when I have made no profit whatsoever. I have paid all the tax due and am happy to contribute to our public services. As a tenant for many years, I do not understand the Guardian's devisive stance of 'us and landlords'. We are all the same people. Of course there are some people not meeting the necessary standards - this goes for landlords and tenants - I have had a number of tenants not pay me rent - which has meant I have had considerable stress and financial strain as a result. I also know landlords that don't play be the rules - I am sure there are journalists like this (I remember something about phone-hacking?) as well. These individuals need to be dealt with as did the journalists. Only lazy journalism would tar everyone with the same brush and frankly if there isn't a good argument or evidence for statements then this is tantamount to slander. I'll provide the key stat that maybe you could update your article with? Circa 50% of the homes needed in the UK are built each year. This economics 101: Supply and Demand. Not enough supply = price inflation. Please explain how landlords are limiting supply of stock? In some cases landlords are bringing uninhabitable houses back into use. Is there any chance of balanced/evidenced reporting in the future please? Perhaps once I see some, I might help you sell your papers by providing some content.

James Fraser

A week ago

I can't wait to see who co-operates with Collinson and his highly-ridiculed - er! I mean 'respected' - Guardian. Judging by his track record, I'd say you are NOT going to get anything like a fair hearing and certainly will not be portrayed fairly or correctly, but used as a scapegoat for the cause of everything from Ebola to the death of Kennedy. Most of Collinson's articles on property are nothing short of shameful. Even the article he links to concludes that no, landlords have not been vilified enough. They need more pain. Be very, very careful if you're planning to reply - it won't end well for you, of that you can be sure.

John McKay

A week ago

Collinson is neutral on landlords??? That really is NEWS! If ever there was a poor excuse for a journalist then this man is it. He hasn't a clue about the PRS and the way landlords work. I wouldn't give him the time of day.

Anon

A week ago

Investment into the provision of all housing tenures needs to be incentivised to attract anybody with money, not just the corporates. That is the only way to fix the housing crisis.

Increase supply, increase competition and increase choice.

Discouraging investment into any housing sector provision is plain lunacy. Why can't the Chief Money editor of The Guardian not see that? Why is he so brainwashed by political propaganda?

Homelessness and poor living conditions only exists in the absence of supply of decent housing.

Increase supply!

Encourage investment.

John McKay

A week ago

Reply to the comment left by Richard U at 14/11/2017 - 10:53
I know at least 5 landlords that are building houses right now.

Mark Alexander

A week ago

Reply to the comment left by John McKay at 14/11/2017 - 11:12

John, I know of at least 500 landlords who are selling and 10's of thousands who are no longer buying.

It seems to me that that's what Collinson thinks the Country wants.

His answer to the supply and demand issue increasing rents will probably be to cap rent. That will only exasperate the problem, i.e. even more will look to sell.

If he thinks finding a decent place to rent at a decent price is difficult now, wait until a few years have passed.

I feel for anybody who needs to rent for job mobility, students and all those who don't want the millstone of homeownership around their necks whilst Government and media want to deflate property prices.

Do Guardian readers really want to buy a house which the majority of other Guardian Readers seem to want to see decrease in value? Surely that would be bonkers? And
if they don't want to buy then presumably they will want to rent? If that is the case, and the majority of Guardian Readers want to exterminate the PRS, how exactly will that work? Who do they hope to rent from?

If landlords aren't buying, and there is no incentive to get into home ownership on the basis that property values are likely to fall, why will builders build?

Reply to the comment left by Mark Alexander at 14/11/2017 - 10:23
Fantastic, to the very point summary mark. The question is if Guardian, who hates PRS and has been demonstrating that for years, will eventually listen? I have my very strong doubts and really hope that I am wrong here...

Kathy Evans

A week ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark Alexander at 14/11/2017 - 10:23
Why don't these people realize that until recently (and Right to Buy) just as many people lived in rented accommodation as owned their on properties an d it is often cheaper for them as they don't have to do any repairs or worry about what to do when they want to move. People need homes, not rungs on a ladder. Casting landlords in the role of "the evil one" isn't helpful to anyone.

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