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  • In the Spotlight

    "The Week the Landlords Moved In" - Ep. 3



    The third episode of this series aired tonight and featured Paul Routledge, Founder of Landlord Referencing Services and self-proclaimed property guru, Samuel Leeds.

    Samuel is just 25 and has a property portfolio of £1million.  He earns up to £20K a month profit.  They have flashy cars and lots of holidays.

    He bought his first property when he was just 18.  "It was all about BMV", he claims.

    He claims he made £20K overnight on his first deal.

    Samuel has never had a proper job.  He and his wife Amanda live off "passive income".  He has no contact with his tenants and never visits his properties.

    As a devout Christian, Samuel runs training to share the property love.  Cut to footage of him presenting with the claim "You can invest in property with no money".

    He knows he's a good property investor, but not sure if he is a good landlord.

    They are going to spend their week in a 3 bed terrace in County Durham.  Their tenant is single mum Marie.

    She has been in the property for 3 years.  She said the house was in a disgusting state - covered in dog and cat faeces, and maggots in the carpets.  Samuel set a low rent of £400.00 if Marie agreed to manage the property herself.

    She shows slug trails on the stairs.  There are hardly any door handles.  There is a damp and mouldy wall.

    The biggest problem is the roof, which has a huge leak in it and the ceiling has come down.  She doesn't tell Samuel of the problems, because she fears a revenge eviction.

    They are worried that Samuel will "see the potential of the house and put the rent up".

    Samuel has not set foot in the property for 3 years.

    Samuel arrives at the property and both he and Amanda think it's "nice".

    They find the hole in the ceiling.  They are shocked as Marie had not mentioned it.  He is not happy.

    Cut to Paul Routlegde's beautiful house with sea views.  Paul and his wife have made millions from renting out properties for 30 years.  Their spend around £1K per week on living.

    The majority of their rentals are in Weston Super Mare and they largely take tenants on benefits.  The portfolio is worth £10 million and they have 44 flats on the sea front.

    They have heard every excuse as to why tenant's do not pay their rent.

    Sharon does the maintenance and deals with the compliance side of things.

    Paul and Sharon are moving into a two bed flat in the town centre. Tenants Chris and Courtney live there with their baby.

    They say that have no storage, but they do not ask for more as they fear revenge eviction.  They were given two new mattresses, but the old ones are still in the flat and have never been removed.

    Their rent is £600.00 pcm and the heating is controlled by the landlords. They say heating does not work and that they feel cold a lot of the time.  When they complained to Sharon, she said she would send a maintenance person round, but so far, no one has turned up.

    They hope that Paul and Sharon will do something about the heating and also get the mattresses removed.

    Paul and Sharon arrive and immediately notice the old mattresses.

    They are given the tenant's budget to live on for the week - £70.00.

    They notice that the tenants are short of storage.  Paul says he has 109 shirts in his wardrobe, all colour co-ordinated.

    Paul says the benefits system makes people "lose spirit".  

    Tenant Chris has recently returned to work after being signed off work due to a back injury.

    In Durham, Samuel and Amanda have to adjust to a budget of £62.00 per week.  At home they eat out all the time or order take-aways.

    They go shopping and look for food deals.

    They spend £47.87 on the first shop.

    Back in WSM, Paul and Sharon have been shopping.  Paul says its an "easy option" to exist on benefits.

    Sharon and Paul got on the property ladder early.  Sharon bought her own first house at the age of 22.

    WSM is one of the most profitable towns for landlords in the UK --- apparently.

    Samuel only makes £25.00 per month profit from Marie's rent.  

    They notice slugs on the hob.  Amanda is disgusted.

    Cuts to shots of Samuel and Amanda singing in the local church.

    County Durham is shown as a very poor area.  Samuel says he bought the house without viewing it, because his friend told him it was a good deal.

    The local Reverand says that being a landlord might conflict with Christian values as you may have to evict someone.

    Samuel's tenant is in rent arrears and he is losing patience.  Marie was a theatre nurse until she had an accident and hurt her back.  She is now studying full time to be a social worker.  Her housing benefit was stopped 4 months ago.

    Back in WSM, Sharon and Paul do not understand why the tenant's say the property is cold.  The boiler is locked away and only Sharon and Paul can set the timings.

    Sharon and Paul said the tenants had nothing when they came to them, and they gave them "an opportunity" to live in a property within their means.

    They go around bleeding the radiators.

    "Tenants should not think of landlords as hoteliers" says Paul.

    Their tenants feel uncomfortable about complaining as they could be evicted.

    In Durham, Samuel is addressing the hole in the ceiling.  He gets a builder round who quotes £900.00 to do the work.

    Samuel is not a happy bunny.  He wants rent coming in!

    In WSM, Paul and Sharon go to the library and read the papers. They look at the property listings as they are always on the lookout for a bargain.

    They chose WSM because they thought it would be re-generated, but so far it hasn't.  They did their properties to a high standard, but tenants did not respect them.  They reduced the standard of the properties to reflect the clientele.

    Paul and Sharon say their landlord life is very stressful and the stay in their rental property feels like a holiday!

    Paul and Sharon go to meet Chris and Courtney.  They have never met face to face before all together.

    The tenants say they are struggling for storage and the house feels cold.  Paul says he has bled the radiators.

    Paul says the electricity would go up from £10.00 a week to £40.00 per week if they wanted to heat the flat.  Paul says they have to cut their cloth appropriately.  Courtney starts crying as she does not like to confront Sharon and Paul.  

    Sharon apologises for the mattresses.  They are pleased to hear Chris has gone back to work.

    Back in Durham, Samuel and Amanda are struggling to survive on the tenant's budget.  They finish the week with £2.00 left - they feel they "lived like paupers".

    Marie's oldest daughter works as a care assistant and subsidises her mum.

    Samuel has run out of money and feels hungry so they ordered a Chinese takeaway to be delivered.

    Back with Sharon and Paul, Sharon is on a mission to find out the truth about the property maintenance. She asks her office manager to bring up the maintenance report for the house.  Sharon thinks the maintenance has slipped.

    Sharon has lost trust with tenants as so many have tricked her.

    Samuel says the rent on his house is below market value and he's being generous with the low rent.  A local lettings agent says he should be able to get £550 per month.

    Marie says her property feels like home and where she will grow old.

    She is worried that Samuel will evict her and/or make her life more difficult.

    They meet in a local cafe.

    The tenant says she notified Samuel and sent him pictures of the hole in the ceiling.  Samuel says it passed him by because he was on one of his many holidays!

    Marie is worried that Samuel will put the rent up.  Samuel asks why the benefits have stopped.  Marie says it will get sorted.

    Marie leaves the meeting feeling more worried.

    Samuel says that he is not a charity.  From a business point of view, the smart thing to do is evict her and get someone paying more rent.  

    The landlords pack up and return home.

    Paul and Sharon let their tenants know that they have set up an on-line maintenance reporting system.  They have left the tenants some new furniture and have removed the mattresses.

    Marie is told by Samuel's note that he will not put up the rent for 2 years and that he will get the roof fixed.

    She is relieved.  The slug problem has been solved.

    Chris and Courtney say the flat feels warmer and that they feel they can approach Sharon and Paul now.

    Sharon and Paul hope their tenants will be able to buy their own home.

    Samuel says he will send out a tenant survey every six months to offer his tenants a better service.

    Paul says that landlords all want long-time tenants.

    Marie's claim for housing benefit was rejected and she had to move out.  She left with 6 months rent arrears.

    Read our previous reviews from the series:

     BBC 1 Landlord Programme - Review 

    "The Week the Landlords Moved In" - Ep. 2

    The programme is available on iPlayer >>> here.

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    Opinion:

    This show was the least sensationalist so far.  In fact, it was a bit of a damp squib all round imho.

    Paul and Sharon acted professionally but some of their comments were a bit controversial or edited to make them look bad.

    Samuel was troubled by his moral dilemma for about 5 seconds. He was more interested in his stomach than his tenants.

    I noticed that his own home was only shown very briefly and looked like a modest 70's style terrace.  It was no mansion or lavish home.

    I must have misheard how much money a month he is making from his property portfolio?  Unless he spends all his profits on holidays and takeaways?

    His property workshops were only featured briefly, but he was offering a training course for £95.00.  He would have to sell 9 of those to repair the hole in the roof. It does not seem a very "passive income" to be running property seminars costing so little.  Why does he need to sell cheap courses if he is making so much money per month from rental income?

    Twitter reactions:







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    Just proves that it isn't worth taking on HB tenants.

    No matter what you do for them you will receive no thanks.

    Which is why I don't take them on amongst many other reasons.

    LL don't really need HB tenants anymore, but HB tenants do need LL.

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    On his Facebook page, Samuel has recorded a video about his experiences on the programme.

    He's currently doing a three day training programme!!

    He did the show for 3 reasons:

    1.  He would like to get involved in acting. It's a passion of his. He wanted to see how he would react to the cameras.

    2.  He was interested in the programme and thought it would be a great experience to live in one of his properties.

    3.  He is financially free and can indulge himself because he can.  (So why running a three day training programme ...?).

    He thinks he was portrayed fairly.  The first 3 minutes made him cringe when there were cars and holidays in the intro.

    He says he has 16 houses in total - mostly HMOs.

    He says his PA was managing the property as the tenant did not want a lettings agent involved.

    He says there is nothing wrong in letting to tenants on benefits.  He calls them DSS - which is out of date terminology.

    He learned from the programme that he should have a property manager and that someone should be speaking to the tenants more regularly.

    He bought the property in Durham as a "no money down deal".  He did not put a penny of money into it to buy it and has earned a lot from it, so he's not bothered about the low rent.

    He wants his followers to "spray him with love hearts on Facebook".

    His tenants CHOOSE to pay him money because he is adding value to their lives by providing a nice home.

    He doesn't spend much on his properties to convert them to HMOs. He's happy with his strategy.

    He's not been in touch with Marie since she vacated the property.

    He's currently running a "no money down" property programme where you don't need money to invest.

    Samuel offers packaged deals occasionally.

    He probably wouldn't take part in the programme again as he found it an intense experience.

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    From these programmes so far the main thing I have noticed is that there seems to be communication problems..

    Tenants seem to have difficulty in advising LL of property issues and are seemingly scared to mention the problems

    As far as I am concerned it matters not what the rent levels are as a LL you should ensure that the conditions are not as they have been presented..

    Especially due to the fact that degradation of the property occurs .

    So even from a non- altruistic perspective a LL would wish to retain the property value by ensuring the fabric of the property remains in excellent condition.

    As can be seen from the home in the ceiling caused by an alleged leak, the damage has now increased.

    I expect my tenants to advise me of any problems.

    Mostly they do and then I fix the problems.

    It seems to me that LL and tenants need more formal methods to communicate as it seems there are doubts as to whether problems have been reported.

    I do believe that had these LL and tenants communicated in more formal ways the problems highlighted would have been addressed.

    I do believe that there is willing on the part of all the LL shown so far to ensure their properties are in good condition..

    I believe what we have here is a failure to communicate.. That is not to excuse the circumstances at all

    Given more effective communication I believe these tenancy issues would disappear.

    These LL are not rogue LL they just need to change their communication skills to ensure their business operates more effectively.

    • These LL are perfectly content to carry out repairs etc, they just need to know the problems exist.

    I have never had any issues communicating with my tenants.

    There is simply no way I want my properties degrading through lack of attention

    It must be obvious to any LL that usage of a rental property will result in wear and tear on the property.

    Just like with a car there will be usage issues that need to be addressed.

    I totally disagree with the twiterati that seem to think stating you are a LL to make money is a wrong thing to say or do.

    Absolute rubbish; I am a LL to make as much money and profit as I can.

    I don't exist to provide affordable accommodation.

    I exist to provide accommodation and charge the highest rents I can realistically achieve.

    But I do understand and accept that I have a responsibility to my tenants that they receive the service they are paying for.

    Profit is not a dirty word..

    There is no such thing as excessive profits for LL.

    It is the market that provides the profits that LL attempt to achieve.

    LL cannot be blamed for the state of the housing market.

    They are behaving like any other entrepreneur would in exploiting market opportunity.

    But I reckon many LL will take these series of programmes as an opportunity to improve their communication with tenants as this does seem to be the main problem.

     I do believe that most LL will fix problems if they are aware of them.

    Most of these LL could easily inspect their properties every 6 months.

    It would be no hardship to do so.

    Even if they have LA allegedly managing things it would still be worthwhile a LL inspecting if for no other reason than to ensure the LA are doing their job for which they are being handsomely paid by the LL!!

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    Thanks for clarification Sally. What did you think of the programme and how it portrayed Samuel?

    It's hard to believe that he's making huge amounts of cash off a £1 million portfolio of low value properties.  I am struggling with that point, I must confess.

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    I wasn't working for Samuel when the programme was made, which is why I replied with my comment. I think it gave a true representation of him. I can't comment on his portfolio as I didn't get involved in that.

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    Not sure if I saw the same programme. Yes editing can make an innocent comment look out of place or worse but there was a complete lack of empathy from Paul last night. One common theme through all shows was that the tenants are scared to report issues as they fear eviction.

    How does that get addressed?

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    Regards Simon Searchlight Finance

    Fulfil Your Property Ambitions

    01565 654005

    HMO Finance I Complex BTL I Bridging Finance I Development Finance Buy to Let I Portfolio Finance I Commercial Mortgages

    I never get why tenants are scared of being evicted.

    If it was me as the tenant I would just say to the LL go ahead and evict me.

    It will take you many, many months to evict me.

    It will cost you a fortune in no rent and court costs none of which you will he able to recover from me.

    Or you could do the repairs and I'll carry on paying the rent.

    Because you are a stupid LL and don't have RGI on me I control the tenancy not you.

    So simple choice Mr LL do the repairs which you'll have to do anyway for any new tenant or don't do them and evict me which will cost you a fortune.

    Tenants aren't the ones who should be scared it is the LL that should be!

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    I always said that landlords would come off badly as a result of this program.  Twitter comments say it all.

    On the flip side, I take it everyone noticed at the end of the program that Samuel's tenant left owing 6 months of rent?  

    So, she effectively moved into a larger house than she needed, in the perfect location for her, at a discounted rent, because it needed some work, which presumably she agreed to do as part of the arrangement. Then, in the end she left it in a worse state, having lived there for half a year for free and it is her we are supposed to feel sorry for? Or have I missed something?  He will never see a penny of that money and if he hadn't come across as so arrogant people might have realised that it was actually him being robbed.  Mind you he should have known that would happen because at 50mins 45 secs when talking about her housing benefit she said "I don't doubt for 1 minute that it will NOT get sorted"

    This program has only served to make landlords even more hated than we already are and also perhaps to put landlords off ever renting to housing benefit tenants.  

    I too rent a mid terrace house to a family on housing benefit that have stopped paying because they chose to come off housing benefit and are now struggling to go back on it (he thought he got a 50k a year job where in the end he didn't get paid - I have no more detail than that). 

    So I lose whilst they carry on as normal. So currently I am working hard to provide for my wife and 4 children whilst also paying to house them and their 2 children, whilst they sit playing computer games at home, clearly not having cleaned the house or touched the garden for at least a year.  At least that's what they were doing yesterday when I visited in the middle of the day.

    I think landlords in general are starting to get an unduly rough ride.

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    From the three programmes I for the most part felt for the tenants.

    Tenants should be able to expect a decent place to live, at a reasonable rent, then their responsibility to look after it - this does not include carrying out maintenance which is the landlords responsibility.

    It is the landlord's responsibility to ensure the property is properly prepared for a new tenant before they move in.

    I was also left with the feeling that there needed to be tighter controls for HMOs.

    Perhaps where Housing Benefit was paying for the accommodation that there were some checks that it represented reasonable value for money. It is our taxes that fund housing benefit and I would like to think we are getting value for money.

    A need for young people to be taught basic house crafts, as an example to understand that if a room is not warm because the radiators need bleeding, not necessarily to bleed the radiators but at least to be able to report to the landlord.

    Also how to budget and cook - both the young landlords and tenants appeared to lean towards living off processed foods or takeaways.

    Some of the landlords came over as arrogant and just saw the property as a monthly cheque without any consideration of the tenant's circumstances.

    I am also now leaning to thinking there is a need for rent controls, I struggle with this as I also feel that this could lead to fewer properties being available.

    There is a need to ensure tenants know they can, and should, report problems without the fear of eviction.

    Landlord's property but tenant's home.

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