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| Express Property

Are landlords the Government’s Public Enemy Number One?

You wouldn’t have to be the ace detective Columbo to work out the Government has landlords fixed in its cross hairs.

The clues are plentiful, there are the tax hikes, stamp duty increases and relentless regulations.

Add to that the media being filled with stories of rogue landlords, rocketing rents and young couples priced out of the market due to property investors.

Now, I have great sympathy with young couples, families and anyone who struggles to find suitable homes.

As a father and grandfather I’m concerned that we need to act quickly and decisively so our future generations do not suffer.

The situation is bordering on a national scandal and it is one that a succession of Governments has created.

Regardless of the colour of the rosette I feel it’s our nation’s leaders who are to blame for this situation; not landlords.

Housing is becoming unaffordable for too many people.

That’s because successive governments did not build enough new homes for both the private and social sectors.

So now the Government needs a scapegoat and have decided they’ll vilify landlords.

Of course, as in any walk of life there are rogues, but these landlords and indeed letting agencies need to be targeted and not decent, law abiding ones.

The maths is simple. There are more voters who are tenants than there are landlords. And in true political style all parties know they’re not going to lose too many votes hammering landlords.

It’s this political football syndrome which is the problem. Rather than dealing with the issue of a shortage of homes the various parties see housing as primarily an opportunity to gain votes.

I’m sceptical about all of the London Mayoral contenders too. Too many agendas, too many self serving policies and nowhere near enough being done to address the real problem.

I remember in the late 1980s / early nineties the Government could not get enough of the Buy to Let market. They encouraged it wholeheartedly. Now landlords are faced with the polar opposite.

My manifesto for change would be to begin with three simple steps.

  • 1) The obvious. Build more housing for private and social sectors.
  • 2) Place a cap on the money that can be charged to tenants as administration / referencing fees.
  • 3) Police and enforce existing legislation. Too much of it isn’t and that allows it to be ignored or abused by unscrupulous agencies and landlords. It punishes the good letting agencies and landlords who adhere to the rules.

For the sake of our children and their children we need to stop bashing landlords and start building more homes.

Thanks for reading,