Wednesday, 15 February 2012

It's all Landlord's fault says Shelter

Another year, another attack by Shelter on Landlords. Continuing their campaign Evict Rogue Landlords Shelter has now issued a 5 point plan they want the Government to implement.

This Shelter's 5 point plan:

Tougher sentencing for rogue landlords. Raise the maximum punishment from £5,000 to £20,000.
Make sure local councils prosecute rogue landlords by bringing in a new prosecution fund. £10m would help prosecute the very worst offenders.
Protection for tenants against retaliatory evictions. Imposing a ban on fasttrack eviction notices if a landlord has not complied with a court order would protect tenants from being thrown out of their home because they complained. Shelter knows that more than 230,000 tenants are reluctant to report complaints against a landlord because they worry about the consequences.
A national website listing all convicted rogue landlords would be a powerful deterrent for landlords and a useful warning system for potential tenants.
A minister-chaired rogue landlord summit: bring together courts, tenants, the police, local authority figures and landlords to agree an action plan to crack down on rogue landlords.

Nowhere in their recommendations does Shelter even begin to acknowledge that there might be Rogue Tenants, simply Rogue Landlords.
The reality is that there are Rogue Landlords, Rogue Agents and Rogue Tenants. All are as bad as each other and all damage the lettings industry. Simply picking out one group and making them the scapegoat for all housing ills does little to foster a vibrant lettings market in the UK.
The fact is that at this time the country needs the Private Rented Sector. The fact is that the overwhelming majority of Landlords in the UK offer decent housing. The fact is though that the majority of Landlords have experienced tenants who have caused damage, not paid their bills, left owing rent and a host of other problems that the Landlord is left to clear up.
For example, the water industry had to write off approximately £328 million in unpaid bills in 2010-11, mainly from tenants in rented properties, the Government has said. The problem is so severe that the Government is considering legislation to make Landlords liable for tenant's unpaid water bills.
It is estimated by LSL Property Services that 10.7% of all rents in the UK are either late or unpaid, totalling around £300 million.
Last year NetRent ran a Facebook campaign called The Damage That Some Tenants Do and we were inundated with pictures from Landlords of the damage and destruction that some tenants have caused. The photos were truly awful, but Shelter is oblivious to the problems tenants cause – the damage some do, the bills left owing and the rents that are unpaid.
NetRent calls on Shelter to stop polarising the lettings industry by insisting that it is only Rogue Landlords who are the problem. There are a minority of Landlords, Agents and Tenants who cause problems for the rest of the lettings industry.
The whole lettings industry needs to work together to eliminate these rogue elements, picking out one group and blaming them for all the ills will not solve the problems. That is the only way to build a fair and sustainable private rented sector in the UK.