For­get the wicked step­mother, ‘wicked’ land­lord gets a bash­ing

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Land­lord bash­ing seems to be a pop­u­lar sport at the mo­ment with those rent­ing out prop­er­ties in the pri­vate rented sec­tor in the UK see­ing as­saults from many van­tage points.

They be­lieve they are be­ing bashed by the Chan­cel­lor of the Ex­che­quer in terms of tax, ac­cused of rent­ing too many homes to peo­ple on hous­ing ben­e­fit and reg­u­larly get a bad press for the state of homes in the rental sec­tor.

Since April of this year any­one en­ter­ing the buy to let sec­tor faces pay­ing an ex­tra 3% stamp duty charge on the pur­chase and from next year the cur­rent tax re­lief on a buy to let mort­gage will grad­u­ally be re­duced un­til it meets the ba­sic tax rate in 2020.

Var­i­ous com­men­ta­tors have warned that this will mean higher rents as land­lords will pass on any ‘ex­tra cost’ to ten­ants and de­ter new land­lords from com­ing into the sec­tor. The tax re­lief change is be­ing chal­lenged and a court hear­ing is ex­pected soon to see if cam­paign­ers can launch a le­gal chal­lenge on the move.

A few days ago PRS land­lords were ac­cused of ‘lin­ing their pock­ets’ by rent­ing to peo­ple on hous­ing ben­e­fit. Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Hous­ing Fed­er­a­tion, which rep­re­sents hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tions pro­vid­ing low cost rental hous­ing, the amount of tax payer’s money go­ing to pri­vate land­lords has in­creased twofold in the last decade to £9.3 bil­lion.

The NHF claims that as pri­vate rents are gen­er­ally higher than so­cial hous­ing pro­vided by as­so­ci­a­tions this is not good news for the taxpayer and that this set of af­fairs is ‘mad­ness’.

But the Na­tional Land­lords As­so­ci­a­tion (NLA) be­lieves the fig­ures are out of date and that num­bers are now fall­ing and that any­way PRS land­lords should not be crit­i­cised as they are pro­vid­ing much needed homes to rent as the so­cial sec­tor can­not keep up with de­mand.

There can be no doubt that find­ing a good land­lord and find­ing good ten­ants is not al­ways easy and there are rogues on both sides. As some­one who has bought a home af­ter al­most three years of rent­ing I have per­son­ally ex­pe­ri­enced the wor­ries a ten­ant can go through and I think this should be taken into ac­count more.

Yes, we know that land­lords can face night­mare ten­ants who trash prop­er­ties and don’t pay their rent on time but I think some­one should also be speak­ing up for those rent­ing a prop­erty who spend time and money mak­ing it a home. It is shock­ing, for ex­am­ple, that new re­search shows that the ma­jor­ity, 70%, of pri­vate sec­tor ten­ants in the UK are wor­ried that the de­posits they pay for their rented home are not pro­tected.

The re­search also showed that only 50% of ten­ants re­ceived con­fir­ma­tion that their de­posit is in a pro­tec­tion scheme and three quar­ters of ten­ants be­lieve their land­lord, or agent, will try and keep the de­posit at the end of the ten­ancy.

On top of this a fur­ther piece of re­search has found that over a quar­ter of ten­ants feel that they were rushed into en­ter­ing their ten­ancy agree­ment and more than half re­gret­ted rent­ing their cur­rent prop­erty.

The four bed­room house I rented was prob­a­bly at the bet­ter end of most peo­ple’s ex­pe­ri­ences but the garage door was rot­ten and de­spite re­quests for it to be re­placed it was even­tu­ally tar­geted by lo­cal thieves. I went past it the other day. It is cur­rently be­ing got ready for the next ten­ants. The garage door has been patched up not re­placed, the grass we cut the day be­fore leav­ing has been al­lowed to get knee high, the rooms have been re­painted with the same cheap paint that came off when you tried to wipe a mark off a wall or door, the ren­der­ing that has been com­ing off the back wall since be­fore we moved in is still fall­ing of the wall and a lovely tree in the front gar­den has been hacked so much that I will be sur­prised if it survives. I sus­pect the chronic damp in the bath­room has not been treated and the rusty bath not re­placed or the leak­ing waste pipe fixed or the cracked wash hand basin re­placed, all is­sues that were there long be­fore we moved in.

This is not a case of a rogue land­lord but it is a case of a land­lord charg­ing more to a new ten­ant (I know this from the ad­vert) with­out ac­tu­ally ad­dress­ing any of the is­sues that have af­fected the prop­erty for many years. He also has an an­gry neigh­bour who is con­cerned that damp is get­ting un­derneath the ren­der and af­fect­ing his prop­erty.

If even the bet­ter land­lords scrimp and avoid spend­ing much needed money on their prop­er­ties I can have lit­tle sym­pa­thy with them.

All should be as­pir­ing to pro­vide the best home pos­si­ble to their ten­ants and those moan­ing about a few tax changes should get off their high horse and make sure they are do­ing their best to im­prove the UK’s PRS if they want to gain the back­ing of the gen­eral pub­lic.

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