Landlords need some good PR

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Reading the RLA Forum and taking into account recent media coverage, it occurs to me that Landlords need good PR. Landlords are still largely viewed by the Government, the general public and the media as still taking the Rachmann approach to tenants and being tough and ruthless, whereas the tenants are largely seen as vulnerable and exploited.

In fact the huge raft of Government and EC legislation which has been put upon Landlords over the past few years is crippling - and it looks like there is more to come. Only this week we read about potential water charges for Landlords and today, the likelihood that the FSA will announce next week that there are no more Self Certification mortgages at all, even for Buy to Let. Unless Landlords have 3 years certified accounts showing a decent profit, no more finance available. Having been a Landlord since 2002 with a growing portfolio I struggle to make a profit from my rents, mainly due to tenant negligence in not looking after the properties (damp, mould, broken boilers, blocked drains etc) with no chance whatsoever of getting most tenants to pay up for the damage. No point in taking them to Court as they plead poverty. At least two tenants a year do a runner, having wrecked a property, but the Police and the Council are not bothered whatsoever and just expect Landlords to claim off their insurance, which is not always possible and only leads to high premiums for everyone.

Surely the RLA and other Landlord organisations could get together and hire a good PR agency which could start to change the image of Landlords? We need to be able to run our businesses as any other trader rather than be hampered by the investor tax rules and we need to be able to make profits without being perceived as nasty Landlords who are exploiting the poor old tenants.

We are told that the private rented sector needs to grow significantly to accommodate our growing population. Housing Associations etc are given a lot of Government assistance, but not individual Landlords. Landlords are providing a service which the Government cannot - the country is broke and no longer able to build a lot of public housing, even if it wanted to.

We need a national campaign to give Landlords a better image.
Let's hope the RLA can start one.

14/10/2009 00:00

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