21 May 24

So, another week in landlord land and another slew of stories highlighting how bad landlords are for selling up – but there’s no perspective of WHY landlords are choosing to sell. And there’s a good reason for that. No one, literally no one, cares about the why.

They only care about handing control of rented properties to tenants via the Renters (Reform) Bill, without considering the implications.

First, we had the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) flagging up government figures that show that 45% of tenants asking for council help had done so because their landlord had sold up.

Note: the rate of evictions was just 20%. So, why is the media and tenant campaign groups so focused on Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions?

Obviously, it’s because landlords are bad people for owning a home and having the temerity to charge someone to live in it.

And they just love evicting people for no reason (Another note: There is nearly ALWAYS a reason).

The NRLA played a cheeky card when it highlighted that Generation Rent had warned that homelessness was being caused by landlords selling.

Generation Rent hit back complaining

Then we had Generation Rent hit back complaining that its words were being used against it.

Even worse, they say that landlords selling up makes little difference to the housing market.

Excuse me?

They explain that the houses don’t disappear because they could be bought by another landlord, a first-time buyer or a social landlord.

Wow. Landlords are selling up because of your antics and you think another landlord will step in?

I know of portfolio landlords who are finding other landlords to buy their properties but for the rest of us with one or two rented homes, isn’t selling up the best of both worlds?

We get to offload a property to a buyer (we don’t really care who, natch), and get the cash to invest in something that is less stressful and won’t be taken from us. Hand-rearing sharks, for example.

Landlords should be incentivised to sell

I do agree with Generation Rent that landlords should be incentivised to sell with a sitting tenant to another landlord.

That won’t happen.

We can’t even claim business expenses when running a business.

And the notion that is growing in popularity that landlords should offer moving expenses when they want possession made me choke on my corn flakes.

I really am living in a different world.

One of the issues I have is that while the Renters (Reform) Bill is undoubtedly an issue, landlords must face increased regulation and rising interest rates.

That means being a landlord, that’s the actual job of providing a safe and secure home for a tenant, is becoming less attractive.

NRLA should be highlighting the exodus of landlords

To me, the NRLA should be highlighting the exodus of landlords because of the growing economic pressures, not just the Renters (Reform) Bill.

This is a different issue than evicting tenants because there are growing numbers of landlords who just cannot make the numbers work when they remortgage.

The days of cheap money are over, and many landlords are being found out.

But there’s also another reason why rents are rising, and rented homes are becoming harder to find.

And that’s the level of immigration.

We haven’t built enough homes for the numbers arriving and when demand is high and supply is low, what happens?

Rising rents aren’t always down to ‘greedy’ landlords.

Sometimes, increasing the rent to match the levels of demand and expenses means keeping the business going – and keeping a roof over a tenant’s head.

If the government isn’t going to invest, then encourage landlords to do so.

Councils can’t afford to do it and Labour says it will build should they get in, but they won’t do it either (for the same reason the Tories haven’t managed to do it).

Focusing solely on Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions

I’m really worried that by focusing solely on Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions from a tenant’s perspective means we ignore the bigger picture.

Everyone involved in the provision of rented property, including the tenant campaign groups like Shelter and Generation Rent, need to address the real reasons for landlords leaving the market.

It won’t be a pretty or friendly conversation but without a supportive environment, landlord investment will decline.

Either we sell up, or move into holiday lets, or we could provide temporary accommodation to the homeless families because demand is going through the roof, but this will see a squeeze on available rental stock.

Basically, we need a sustainable model that considers both landlord profitability and tenant affordability.

But that means focusing on realistic strategies, not using ‘leverage’ to build a property portfolio but having a solid base that delivers a healthier private rented sector for the long term.

Until we do have that conversation, everyone but landlords will be focused on eviction when investment and encouragement are the best ways to deliver lower rents and more choice.

It won’t happen because no-one cares about landlords and what we do for our tenants.

Until next time,

The Landlord Crusader

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