Private Landlords: Good Guys or Villains ?

By Marco Da Silva    25th October 2018

Private landlords provide a vital service for people looking for housing, and that is why the government is wrong to persecute those who invest in the buy-to-let sector, according to haart.

A growing number of people are opting to rent as a lifestyle option, with most tenants satisfied with their existing landlord, which is why the lettings and estate agent is baffled as to why landlords often demonised by politicians, including the Treasury.

“Private landlords are providing a vital service for people looking for housing, yet the job they are doing is massively underappreciated,” said Paul Sloan, development director for haart. “Renting is regularly portrayed as a wholly negative option that people can’t wait to escape from.”

Data released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) earlier this year revealed that 20% of households now privately rent their home, compared with just 13% a decade ago.

The increase in renting affects all age groups apart from the over 65s – in particular, the percentage of 35 to 44-year-olds privately renting has doubled in the past decade from 13% to 26%.

haart’s research found that many tenants are now actively looking for the benefits renting offers – whether it’s the flexibility of being able to move without having a property to sell or the freedom from worrying about home repairs and maintenance.

The company is calling on the government to rethink policies which harm the rental sector, including the 3% stamp duty surcharge and tax relief changes which are currently being phased in.

Sloan commented: “Contrary to popular opinion, renting can actually offer extra financial certainty for tenants. When anything goes wrong in a rental property, for example, it’s the landlord who arranges the repairs and picks up the bill, not the tenant.

“Terms of notice and any rent rises should be laid out in the contract before the tenant moves in so there should be no surprises during the tenancy. Indeed, many renters develop a mutually beneficial relationship with their landlord through our managed services which offers both parties the security they’re looking for, giving the tenant a secure place to live and the landlord a secure income.

“Meanwhile, renting is also a great option for those who think their circumstances might change at short notice – they can move on without having to worry about selling their home and can upgrade to a bigger or better rental property if funds allow.  It’s also great for those who have sold in order to move into a new home, putting them in prime position to buy.

“It’s clear to us that for many, renting is an active choice rather than something they feel forced into. Landlords shouldn’t be penalised for giving people this choice.”