It seems that Buy-to-Let Landlords are slowly joining bankers, estate agents and MPs as the latest pantomime villains. “Oh no they’re not!” you may say, but I would say “Oh yes they are!”
For the past few years there have been rumblings from the Labour Party about Rent Control and a number of lefty councils have for several years been operating a compulsory registration schemes for landlords. These are ostensibly designed to control ‘rogue landlords’ who let out sheds in their back gardens in places like Tower Hamlets, Newham etc, but in reality it’s yet another money-making scam to milk landlords, because of course there’s a handy Registration Fee.
Attacking the Evil Landlord over ‘Revenge Evictions’
There have been documented cases of rogue landlords evicting tenants after the tenants have complained about their accommodation, such as a boiler not working properly etc. LibDem MP Sarah Teather is introducing a Private Member’s Bill designed to put an end to this outrageous practice – and it is outrageous. The bill will have received its second reading by the end of November 2014 and the aim is that it should become law next year.
“Buy to Let Landlords are a disaster for Britain and the economy”
“Outlaw Revenge Evictions’ so says Shelter, the housing charity “…”It’s time to stop the light-touch approach to the private rented sector” – Tom Copley, New Statesman, “Buy to Let Landlords are a disaster for Britain and the economy” – Phillip Inman, The Guardian (who else!). And so the fashionable anti-landlord rhetoric mounts…
It seems that Ms Teather’s Bill will receive Government support, so there is a fair chance that it will make it on to the Statute Book by next year – no doubt it would have to be before the election, because after that the LibDems will no doubt all but disappear!
Sarah Teather’s Bill
Landlords can already suffer if it is found that they have not dealt with the security deposit in the prescribed manner and it usually mean that should they seek a Repossession Order that a judge will not grant it if he or she discovers that the deposit has not been ‘protected’. The idea of this bill is that landlords will suffer the same fate if it is found that they have evicted a tenant ‘without good reason’. Obviously it will be for a judge to decide whether or not a landlord had ‘good reason’ to evict a tenant.
The Road To Hell
Like all recent dewey-eyed government legislation it is very well-intentioned but let’s hope that it is not something that can be abused by bad tenants. Of course we must remember the old saying that ‘The Road to Hell is paved with good intentions’. The problem with the current bunch of boys and girls (most of whom have never done a proper job) is that they are obsessed with ‘rogue landlords’. They forget that there are many ‘rogue tenants’ too.
But, as I said, there is a fashionable tide running against buy to let landlords, who are increasingly being portrayed by those of a liberal tendency to be the root of all evil. I think all landlords should be aware of this tide because there will be more and more anti-landlord legislation on the way – particularly if that bunch of Labour losers get in again in May 2015!
UPDATE DECEMBER 2014
Looks like this legislation has been delayed by the actions of Conservative MPs at Westminster. But we’ll keep you posted.