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  • Property-a-holics

    Landlords should not be allowed to let their own properties

    Landlords should not be allowed to let their own properties

    This evening I've had a heated exchange of emails with a chap called Mike who's opinion is that "landlords should not be allowed to let their own properties". I invited him to produce an article as he set me a challenge and I wanted him to offer his challenge publicly to the readership of Property118. Mike refused on the basis that we are self interest group and went on to say that he doesn't expect me to agree with him "because you have a vested interest and are biased".  There's nothing to stop me writing the article though and summarising the points he made and the gauntlet that he threw down which I refused to pick up unless it was in public forum.<!--more-->

    I know Mike is an avid reader of Property118 and possibly also Property Tribes and even though we had some heated exchanges and several fundamental differences of opinion I will not reveal his identity. He may however, wish to post on this thread - he is a regular poster here under the pseudonym "Industry Observer".

    Mike made some interesting remarks in his emails along the lines of:-
    • You can't do an MOT on your own car just because you own it
    • You can't sell pensions unless you are authorised
    • You can't perform surgery unless you are qualified
    So why are landlords allowed to let their own properties?
    And to quote Mike word for word ....

    "What chance have private Landlords got of getting it right? I don’t blame them but I do think tenants need protecting from it. Housing is just too important in my view."

    And when I pointed out that a landlord takes on a lot more risk when he hands over the keys to his property than a tenant does when he pay his first months rent and deposit Mike said ....

    "Depends if the house is safe of course, whether you have had the gas boiler gas safe registered in the last 5 years, will come barging in when me and my missus are in bed (drunk and with a baseball bat in your hand etc etc) and so on. You get the picture? What risk anyway? The Law is on tenant’s side but only short term all cards are in LL hand in long game."

    This is the gauntlet that Mike threw down ....

    "You are convinced any private Landlord should retain the right to let their property and manage it themselves with minimal intrusion and interference from outside. Fine – forget you are an expert and socially conscious and legally aware Landlord. You give me 6 good reasons why these other not their fault necessarily but unaware Landlords should be allowed to. If you get past 3 I will be impressed!!"

    Below are some extracts of from the emails and the points I made to counter Mike's arguments. Note that I did not take up his challenge, I want the landlord community to do that because I suspect that as landlords we are going to have to deal with a lot more people like Mike in the not too distant future. Politicians and the mainstream press will no doubt encourage it as it makes for good reading and potential vote winning campaigns. As landlords we are considered to be soft targets. We must unite and fight back!
    1. Mike, what’s your definition of a competent letting agent? I’ve walked into several letting agents offices with a national presence which are members of ARLA, NALS, SAFEagent, RICS etc. and I have been greeted by completely incompetent clueless bimbo’s offering advice on lettings to both landlords and tenants. These firms operate in every City and most towns. How would you stop this?
    2. If a licence was no more expensive or difficult to obtain than a TV licence I think that would be fair. Then, when landlords are found guilty of the types of criminal activities you have described below the licence should be revoked. Lesser offences are already punishable by fines, e.g. no gas safety certificate or failure to protect a deposit etc. With regards to lesser offences, licencing of landlords could operate on a three strikes and you are out basis. If it was made illegal for mortgage lenders to lend to unlicensed landlords and for Courts to take possession of any let properties from unlicensed landlords and sell them at auction that would certainly cut out 90%+ of the problems don’t you agree? Trouble is, that’s the concept on which legislation is often first discussed, then the do good numpties in Whitehall start bolting stuff on like exams, compulsory CPD, submissions to regulators etc. and economies go into reverse thereafter very quickly in real terms, viz financial services as a result of the FSA.

    So, who wants to be first to take up Mike's challenge?

    "You give me 6 good reasons why these other not their fault necessarily but unaware Landlords should be allowed to. If you get past 3 I will be impressed"


    Mark Alexander - Property118.com
    Twitter: @iAmALandlord
    Don't get it as LL are heavily regulated as it is.
    We HAVE to comply with the law.
    Sufficient laws exist to police LL.
    Damp in house and mould, get the council EHO round, they can force LL to carry out works or shut the property down.
    Do these councils bother enforcing existing laws.?, no they don't
    If the existing legal entities did their job properly then there would be no issue with LL .
    If the law can't trap tax evaders who owe millions what chance the local council housing dept of doing their job properly.
    Licencing won't achieve a thing apart from create civil servant non-jobs.
    LL are not allowed not to know things as if they don't know they could be subject to legal processes.
    If they don't know, that is their lookout.
    Compliance with the LAW, I would have thought is a business imperative.
    Pointless being a LL if you are locked up and cannot spend all your ill-gotten rent monies!
    Defacto most LL comply.
    Those that don't need prosecuting but don't.
    Councils have reduced their housing enforecement officers etc, just ask Ben Reeve-Lewis about his workload!?
    If laws were enforced that would get rid of most rogue LL.
    It will NEVER happen.
    How many cars are driven with dodgy MOT's!!!?
    How many pensions advisors are being done for mis-selling and the companies themselves!
    How many surgeons are struck off for incompetence despite licencing.
    There are thousands of hotels and B & B's that are licenced and subject to many laws.
    Are they all of the same standard...NO but they are all regulated.
    The same applies with LL.
    You pays your money and takes your choice.
    Nobody forces someone to stay at a down at heel B & B rather than a 5 star hotel.
    All regulated but different standards.
    For the money you have you have to make a choice as to what you can afford, a spanking modern flat or a sad mid-terrace up North.
    We have a market economy which correctly policed will generate market choices by providers and users.
    Well, first of all Mike - if you are reading this - I feel your pain.

    It seems you have had a bad experience of Landlords and I can only empathise because I know that there are some rogue landlords out there who treat tenants like "sh*t".

    In my recent blog I stated that to "de-humanise the tenant into a rental payment is the worst things a landlord can do".

    Unfortunately, a culture of "great rich quick through property" has built up in the last decade and attracted a significant number of people into the arena who only think about how they can make as much money as possible while giving the minimum of effort, and not even knowing or bothering to understand their legal obligations.

    The answer is to empower tenants to know how to vet their landlord!

    This would mean that the rogue landlords would be outed out of the business because they could not rent their properties.

    Like any arena, there are good service providers and bad service providers. Education is key to get tenants to understand how important it is to find a professional landlord and lettings agent.

    The private rented sector provides a huge amount of housing and there is currently no appetite for government regulation ... so we, as landlords, have to self-regulate and promote best practice.