‘Student landlords are being demonised like wartime Jews’
Property lettings owner’s startling comparison in business rates row
A buy-to-let property mogul has likened the treatment of student landlords in Canterbury to that of the Jews in Nazi Germany.
Bob Leydon, who runs city-based Leydon Lettings, claims the situation is “reminiscent of wartime German hatred” towards “decent Jewish people”. He made the alarming comparison after the local authority took steps to try and make landlords pay business rates to help cover £5.5 million lost through student council tax exemptions.
Mr Leydon, who has more than 50 properties in Canterbury and manages many more, said: “Reminiscent of wartime German hatred, generated by the then German government against decent Jewish people, the UK government has pandered to populist, vote-winning, misperceived community hatred against decent, hardworking UK landlords.”
He later admitted his comments would be seen as “too strong”, but says he is frustrated that the “once noble” position of landlord had become so stigmatised.
He said: “I’m not advocating that it’s the same hatred towards landlords – who would argue that? It’s not on the same level. But there is a mantra that bad things happen to good people who do nothing.”
Hitting back at claims by city councillors that landlords are making “huge profits” in the city, he accused them of “revenge politics”.
Mr Leydon, who has been in the property lettings business for 30 years, says they are being “unfairly demonised” by “misinformed, populist rhetoric devoid of understanding”.
He said: “Landlords already pay punitive taxes and many only sur- vive due to the low interest rates because, like mine, their properties are mortgaged. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. There are huge risks and sacrifices involved.
“Many landlords only survive because of the low interest rates.”
It is not the first time Mr Leydon has made the war-time Germany comparison in defence of landlords.
Commenting on plans to curb tax breaks for buy-to-let landlords in October 2015, he wrote “Hitler applied similar illogical policies towards decent Jewish people.”
In another article on the same topic on landlordtoday.co.uk, he commented: “Resentment politics was adopted by Hitler against successful and honourable – but hated, Jewish people. Think about what this says about our government and sadly ourselves as people?”
His latest outburst follows a decision by the cash-strapped city council to authorise its leader Simon Cook to lobby the government for a change in the rules so property landlords will have to pay business rates. It follows heavy cuts to government grants to help local authorities cover money lost through student council tax exemptions, forcing them to find new ways of clawing it back.
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Property landlord Bob Leydon