to be happy that "Generation rent" is finally being recognised

(109 Posts)
vitaminZ Mon 12-May-14 11:32:29

Ok, I know Labour have a lot of responsibility in causing the ridiculous housing bubble and encouraging BTL but I am happy that the issues experienced by tenants in the private rented sector are finally coming into the political consciousness. I know it is cynical of Labour to use this issue to get votes but since none of the other parties seem to care about the millions of renters stuck in shitty accommodation with no security of tenure and no hope of ever owning their own home, any party that raises this is going to get my vote. Well done Miliband. It's not perfect but it's a start.

www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/investing/buy-to-let/10799998/Labour-to-cap-landlords-rent-on-buy-to-let-homes.html

Ronmione Mon 12-May-14 13:20:34

Any government that is prepared to cap rent will get my vote.

AgaPanthers Mon 12-May-14 14:43:15

It seems like shit to me. They want to cap rent, but rents aren't rising, not in my experience. My rent has gone up 3% in seven years, and they want to make it 3% EVERY year.

Rents aren't the problem so much as the fact the BTL exists at all. Without the BTL plague largely presided over by Labour from 1997 to 2010 I wouldn't be renting.

Bastards.

bochead Mon 12-May-14 15:11:03

Aren't a lot of rents dependent on mortgage rates?

If so what happens when the magical figure of rent = 125% of the monthly mortgage becomes rent = 90% of the mortgage? Will the banks demand that Landlords sell up?

I'm asking because I'm aware that interest rates cannot stay this low forever, but am unfamiliar with the ongoing terms of BTL mortgages.

I'm just wondering if as usual with Labour the soundbite will sound good but the detail will mean people (tenants in this case) get shafted in reality. Many BTL landlords are on interest only mortgages but totally reliant on one or two BTL properties for their pension.

AgaPanthers Mon 12-May-14 15:16:33

I don't think rents are based on mortgage rates necessarily. I think they are linked to incomes - people's ability to pay.

Not every BTL landlord is mortgaged up to the hilt.

If you are, then you can't simply raise the rents if the rest of the market is charging much less - nobody will pay. Outcome should be that the overleveraged BTLs go bust.

expatinscotland Mon 12-May-14 15:20:58

No government will do a thing that doesn't involve protecting the housing bubble. Should have let it and banks go to the wall back in 2008.

Pixel Mon 12-May-14 20:30:03

How can it be people's ability to pay when so many working people in private rental need subsidy from housing benefit?

GwenStacy Mon 12-May-14 20:35:35

Aga - you're lucky! Mine has just been put up 15% in a year.

itsnothingoriginal Mon 12-May-14 21:05:28

Pleased that it's being acknowledged but have serious doubts that any of this will come to fruition. Too many MPs have property portfolios and the vested interest in keeping house and rental prices high and tenants at the disadvantage remains strong sad

We had to beg from family for large deposit to buy a few years ago because we were being turned out of yet another rental so LL could sell up which would have meant our kids moving schools again. Renting was crap for us but only because of the insecurity. I actually dislike being a homeowner and would have continued renting had there been longer tenancy agreements available.

Andrewofgg Mon 12-May-14 21:19:56

If you are - or aspire to be - a homeowner then one day you will be a house-seller: if not you then your executors.

Will you refuse to sell to a BTLer and only sell to a would-be occupier? Will you even ask?

If you will then you can complain about BTL. If you would just takethe best price you can get then you can't.

AgaPanthers Mon 12-May-14 21:58:18

What a strange argument. For many people renting their home that's a purely hypothetical question. Bizarre.

TucsonGirl Mon 12-May-14 22:01:54

I'll believe it when it actually happens. Might just be a better idea to address the causes of the problems instead of just addressing the symptoms by setting caps etc.

specialsubject Mon 12-May-14 22:03:03

no, on balance this one is just going to turn into 'all landlords are rich over-entitled bastards making tons of money', so I don't think I'll bother, beyond stating that you can already negotiate as long a tenancy agreement as you and your landlord can agree on.

Milliband's promises are hot air. He cannot do ANYTHING that he is promising even if he is elected.

AgaPanthers Mon 12-May-14 22:03:38

They aren't all rich, but they are all parasites.

Paq Mon 12-May-14 22:16:06

The thing is, the private rental sector is providing a service, you can't get rid of it. There will always be demand, so the "parasites" are needed by lots of people.

roguenight Mon 12-May-14 22:20:35

It won't work, its a crazy policy which will unravel quickly to accompany the energy price "freeze". There are too many factors involved in the market that the Government in theory no longer has control over interest rates so how they can claim to do this I don't know

SaucyJack Mon 12-May-14 22:30:02

The private rental market isn't providing a service that anybody is actually choosing to use tho. People rent because the market is so fucked up normal people on normal wages cannot buy normal houses- not because they genuinely want to pay off parasites other people's mortgages for them.

You could very easily do away with BTLs actually, and I'd be surprised if as much as 5% of people felt they "needed" them back.

MrsWinnibago Mon 12-May-14 22:32:10

YANBU! Every time I see another article about it I do a little dance inside.

Paq there is nothing wrong with providing private rental accommodation as long as people have a CHOICE. A choice to rent or buy....a choice to rent a place and stay for a reasonable amount of time...time enough to put down roots....to make a home for their children without fear of being moved on.

What is needed is some serious rewards for landlords who offer long term secure tenancies.

Whilst I'm one that would benefit from it, how can you stop an individual from charging what they want for a service they provide?

Note I say individual, because we're not talking like massive companies.

SaucyJack Mon 12-May-14 22:42:41

Whilst I'm one that would benefit from it, how can you stop an individual from charging what they want for a service they provide?

They could make a law about it tomorrow if they wanted. They could cap rents at at third of the market rate for an average mortgage for that property size, or a quarter of the mode average wage for the area or any other method of calculating a reasonable rent for the property size in that area.

Gas/Electric/Water companies can't just charge as much as they they wnat and force people to pay it because they don't have the choice to go without fuel or sanitation. Housing should be the same IMO.

MrsWinnibago Mon 12-May-14 22:43:52

Tequilla it's more than a service, it's a human right and a necessity. That's how. It's not the same as a hairdresser charging over the odds.

Ubik1 Mon 12-May-14 22:44:40

We share a building - 8 flats, five of them LL owned. The 'landlords' are, in fact companies based in the Middle East. They do not pay for building works. We desperately need a new roof, water coming in to top flat, it is a communal cost but they will not pay up.

The flat we bought was netting the LL £22,000 per year. We have just had it rewired as it was dangerous. The gas meter was also a fire hazard. This flat would have housed your student children, it houses my young children.

The rental sector is a disgrace because if these people.

MrsWinnibago Mon 12-May-14 22:44:47

They could also make LL's pay council tax on the properties they rent out. And not make SOME pay it if they offered long term tenancies.

I specifically said individuals because I knew someone would compare it to Gas/Electric/Water.

When we get our gas and electric from individuals instead of massive companies it can be compared IMO.

Those monopolise the market so obviously have to be looked at.

Housing though, each landlord is an individual. I don't think it's right to tell them what they can charge to allow someone to live in their house.

Mrs it's a human right and a necessity they don't have to provide though.

No-one is entitled to their property, as they own it. They are chosing to make it available to the general public. I'm not sure how laws can be passed to control how much an individual charges for their property.

MrsWinnibago Mon 12-May-14 22:50:02

Tequila no they don't but there's plenty of the buggers queuing up to do it isn't there!

The way to make lls charge reasonable rent and to help renters feel more secure is to make LLs pay their OWN council tax even if they are renting the property out....and if they offer long term lets then they don't need to do this.

AgaPanthers Mon 12-May-14 22:51:09

There was no BTL pre-1997. Legal changes created a whole new class, and similar legal changes could kill it.

I think people should pay council tax themselves, it pays for a whole lot of stuff we benefit from.

I say this as a private rent tenant by the way, not a landlord.

MrsWinnibago Mon 12-May-14 22:56:57

I don't Tequila....I think that if you're renting a house out on a short term let...say 6 month contract, then you, as the owner of said property are statistically more likely to benefit from the services that the ct pays for than the tenants are. Also, you can't have your cake and eat it.

SnowinBerlin Mon 12-May-14 22:57:06

YANBU. The private rental sector is like the wild west and I'm in London where it's particularly bad. Milliband has been the only party leader so far to at least acknowledge that there's a problem. The proposed crack down on letting agents double charging both tenants and landlords for the same service is extremely welcome.

We're a year away from a general election and I want to see the plight of renters, as well as proposals to tackle under-supply, tackled by all the main parties in their manifesto. Not that idiot Grant Shapps yelling "OMG communism!' when people point out there's a problem.

ubik is right to point out the lack of controls on sub-standard property. The other issue is security of tenure. At the moment you can be kicked out with 8 weeks' notice. The Labour moves towards longer contracts and greater security of tenure are really necessary.

SaucyJack Mon 12-May-14 22:57:36

BTL landlords as a whole monopolise the housing market Tequila. It is absolutely comparable to fuel companies. Those who cannot buy and cannot get a council place- which is the vast majority of people round here (Sussex coast)- have no choice but to rent privately in exactly the same way you have no choice but to pay your local water board.

None of you are special btw. There are no special circumstances any of you are in which entitle you to leech any more money off the general public than can be objectively considered fair.

MrsWinnibago Mon 12-May-14 23:02:05

We have not long ago secured a Housing Association property and I can't BEGIN to tell you the relief. It's like a HUGE weight has fallen off my shoulders and DHs too. We spent ten years in private rental...always at the mercy of "Oh I'm selling" landlords.

Now we have a place we can basically call our own and the feeling is indescribable. It's much less "fancy" than some of the rentals we had but that's not even an issue compared to the knowledge that the council won't turf us out on a whim.

THIS is one of the main reasons that LLs should be rewarded for offering secure tenancies.

Yes but they're still individuals saucy, they aren't the part of the same profit making company, whether they're under the same title or not.

It just worries me because if they can force landlords to cap what they charge on their own property, for their own service they provide they've set a precedence to do it elsewhere. To have that control. Will they do it with nannies, since childcare is so high?

Who's none of you are special to? I'm not a landlord.I'm a tenant.

SaucyJack Mon 12-May-14 23:17:36

It doesn't matter if they're individuals Tequila. They have gone into the business of providing an essential service, and therefore they should be subject to certain controls. People do not have a choice but to privately rent (unless you count living in a cardboard box as a choice). Having a roof over your head is a basic human need.

There isn't a precedence for other services IMO. Childcare/hairdressing/cleaning/plumbing are not essentials. People are not forced to use them so there's no need to make sure they're charging fair rates.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 12-May-14 23:18:51

I bought to let as did many of my generation.
Your inheritance makes no interest in a bank, so for the long term is a better investment.
Most I have come into contact with don't have a mortgage on the property.
People have always invested in property to let, it was going on in the 80's and 90's and fewer people were entitled to council houses, or they were all being bought on a right to buy basis.

MrsWinnibago Mon 12-May-14 23:21:31

So what's your point potatoprint?

ReallyTired Mon 12-May-14 23:23:56

I think we need a royal commision to look at the issue and make recommendations. I believe that some of labour's policies could backfire on tenants. (Ie. longer tenancies would reduce supply of property.)

At the moment labour are taking a knee jerk approach and care more about winning votes than sorting out the letting market. The rental market is an area where politicans have little understanding.

"THIS is one of the main reasons that LLs should be rewarded for offering secure tenancies."

Landlords are quite heavily financially penalised for offering longer tenancies. At the moment rules on stamp duty discourage longer tenancies. A six month AST avoids stamp duty as the amount in the contract is less than 5K. I feel that tenants would get longer tenure if the stamp duty system was reviewed.

I feel we need more regulation of letting agents who push up rents.

MrsWinnibago Mon 12-May-14 23:25:50

Longer tenancies would not reduce supply. There is what there is....that's it. Unless you think tenants are on some merry go round of homelessness and housed?

SnoozingAndLosing Mon 12-May-14 23:26:13

Hear hear. I'll be voting for the party who looks at this issue. I'm sick of being ripped off and sick of my young kids having to live in substandard property, with no garden, horrible, dangerous blinds (I broke down and cried when I discovered the management company had installed blinds with dangerous loops which they had actually left dangling in my baby's cot). I wrote to my MP and got a letter from
the relevant minister saying that private tenants had a "choice". I do have a choice and I will be exercising that choice at the next election.

BrianTheMole Mon 12-May-14 23:39:27

3 year tenancy? Really? If people know how long a tenancy is for at the start, then they can choose to go elsewhere. crosses labour off the list

ReallyTired Mon 12-May-14 23:40:02

"Longer tenancies would not reduce supply. There is what there is....that's it. Unless you think tenants are on some merry go round of homelessness and housed?"

If landlords are forced to offer longer tenancies then it will reduce supply. For example a landlord who goes to live abroad for two years will not want to rent their house out.

The problem with longer tenancies is that they become a lease rather than a rental property. Our tax/ rental system is not set up well to cope with this. Stamp duty is not applicatable on most ASTs.

We need to think what laws need to change to facilate short term leases. With a short term lease what repairs should a tenant be responsble for. In a long term lease I would expect a tenant to install blinds, to be able to re decorate without needing permission and take on more responsiblity for maintaince generally.

MrsWinnibago Mon 12-May-14 23:44:03

Tired they won't be forced to offer longer tenancies but they won't benefit from being able to pick and choose any more. So your landlord who wants to bugger off abroad for two years CAN do that...but he won't get the same benefits as his brother who has allowed his tenants to stay for 5 years.

Families do not want short term leases. They want HOMES in communities they can stay in....so their children do not have to keep uprooting and changing schools.

ReallyTired made a good point, if people want longer tenancies there will have to be more responsibility on the tenants part surely

I broke down and cried when I discovered the management company had installed blinds with dangerous loops which they had actually left dangling in my baby's cot

hmm

Really? You didnt just think, oh that's easily sorted - I'll tie them up to the top? Job done.

MrsWinnibago Mon 12-May-14 23:47:58

Yes....I am sure most people would be happy to take on some maintenance and repainting etc for a longer lease.

But let's not get this twisted....landlords are sitting pretty right now...sure, they can whinge "Oh but we're paying for everything" but at the end of the day they're also making money...while the tenant has a borrowed home.

MrsWinnibago Mon 12-May-14 23:49:13

Quibbling about "who paints the walls and repairs the pipes" seems pathetic really. When we're talking about families with no home....and landlords happy to chuck them out on a whim.

You can make it emotive all you want MrsWinni but at the end of the day it is still a business transaction and we can't rush into making decisions without looking at things like that - to protect both tenant and landlord.

MrsWinnibago Mon 12-May-14 23:52:30

Tequila are you really a tenant? You speak like a mustachioed evil landlord straight out of Dickens.

MrsWinnibago Mon 12-May-14 23:53:29

And I bet LOADS of LLS would be all precious about their tenants undertaking repairs and decorations....I've met some who want to do their own bloody gardening! And others who won't let tenants hang a picture on the wall!

ReallyTired Mon 12-May-14 23:55:06

Labour's policies are a lot of hot air with no real substance. The housing market is a complicated beastie and changes to law best decided with careful consideration.

Sadly most of our political parties seem to make up policy on the hoof.

BrianTheMole Mon 12-May-14 23:58:15

Sadly true tired. And when it gets to it, they never deliver anyway.

Yes, I'm a tenant. I'm also a student, so not what you're imagining smile I've experienced hardship, lived on my own since I was 17 and had to deal with landlords and all that malarky. But it's true, it's still a business transaction. It's still a service and product being provided.

MrsWinnibago Mon 12-May-14 23:59:15

I don't give a shit about politics. I give a shit about action....people need to stop being so complacent and start doing something. Is there such a thing as a tenants union? Some sort of guild of tenants? If not then there bloody well should be.

Charities like SHELTER go a long way to advising tenants of their rights but they're sadly under funded and under staffed so the help is often not there at the crucial moment...

BrianTheMole Tue 13-May-14 00:00:04

Exactly that tequila.

MrsWinnibago Tue 13-May-14 00:00:08

Tequila it's far from a product. A home is a right and not comparable to buying a haircut or a spade.

BrianTheMole Tue 13-May-14 00:02:13

Its a business mate. And unless you are housed by the council or housing association, it remains exactly that.

A home is a right

yes but someone elses home isn't I'm afraid.

MrsWinnibago Tue 13-May-14 00:04:51

Brian mate...do you consider the right to have a baby safely as "business"? The right to bring a child safely into the world? Or what about the right to education?

How is housing those children adequately any different to making sure they arrive in the world safely and get a decent education once they're here and established.

MrsWinnibago Tue 13-May-14 00:05:53

Tequila no...so those landlords who don't want to provide a decent, secure home to someone else, can go off and do something else with it then can't they? OR does their right to make money off someone elses financial status trump the right of someone else to have a home?

ReallyTired Tue 13-May-14 00:07:28

"I don't give a shit about politics. I give a shit about action....people need to stop being so complacent and start doing something. Is there such a thing as a tenants union? Some sort of guild of tenants? If not then there bloody well should be."

Being emotive and passionate does not lead to good law making. Laws have to be desgined with the brain rather than the heart. Making laws on impluse leads to loopholes and horrible consequences for the people you might be trying to protect.

I think you are being daft lumping all tenants together. One of my tenants is on a short contract and plans to return to south africa. His needs are very different to a family. I doult he wants to belong to any "guild of tenants".

A tenancy can be anything from a two week holiday let to a 6 month AST to a 125 year lease. Laws have to adapt to all these situations.

BrianTheMole Tue 13-May-14 00:07:31

No, but the nhs and education is generally publicly funded. Private landlord is something very different. More like your local shop.

MrsWinnibago Tue 13-May-14 00:11:07

Tired this is a subject which deserves some emotion. If you don;t think so then I doubt you're qualified to discuss it with any real insight.

Brian

How come it's ok to get emotive about education and not about housing? A child's home is more important than it's education actually. A child who lives in poor environment cannot learn well or enjoy it's life or be healthy...or even live up to it's full potential and there are many children in situations right now which I wouldn';t wish on my worst enemy as far as housing goes.

ReallyTired Tue 13-May-14 00:13:08

would you come on this thread and tell Spaghettio she is being ridiculous and greedy.

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/property/a2060501-Landlords-retaining-some-of-the-deposit-fairly?msgid=47005780#47005780

I think clearer guidelines on what a tenant can do their home would help both tenant and landlord. Some landlords have totally unrealistic expectations about wear and tear.

I think this thread shows how important it is to make expectations clear from the start.

MrsWinnibago

The thing is I think some tenants want more than want a landlord can possibly give. Landlords situations change too, landlords need to sell up, repossess, go back living in the property even.

Tenants do need more security, but there has to be middle ground. People seem so so quick to condemn landlords on here.

If you really want full security then the only option is to buy. Obviously the majority of us can't do this so have to rely on renting, but whilst we're living in someone else's house we have to understand that we are limited, there are risks involved. I have a one month rolling contract. It's shit, but I accept it. Would I like longer? Yep. But my want shouldn't trump someone else's right to their own property in my honest opinion.

BrianTheMole Tue 13-May-14 00:16:00

You know Winnie, when I had to go to court to get my tenants to move out (because they didn't pay rent and trashed the pad) they turned up to defend their position. The judge turned round to them and said Miss Brian is not a charity, nor is she the benefits agency. And on that point he gave them notice to move asap.

This is exactly the point. I am, or was, a good landlord. But at the end of the day, not a publicly funded service. If you want security then HA is the best option. I'd always do my best for a good tenant anyway. But being a private landlord is a business, same as any other.

MrsWinnibago Tue 13-May-14 00:16:43

Tequila no...buying is not or should not be the only option. For many people it's simply never going to happen and nor should it...buying isn't something which NEEDS to happen for most people. Limits are of course something which would need to be considered...but, having said that, when all most people want is a home for a decent amount of time and a decent amount of notice (more than 2 months!) then that's not a lot to ask.

HeartShapedStone Tue 13-May-14 00:18:34

I have been a tenant for less than a year of my life, bought just before the crazy years, so have benefited hugely from the housing bubble.

I still think it is utterly wrong, I can't understand how in the 90's there was enough housing stock that anyone could buy it for a reasonable price and by the early 2000's there was such a shortage it was worth 2 or 3 times the amount? It's wrong, but if a 'correction'of the market comes, it will destroy everyone who bought in the last decade, so that's also unthinkable.

I do think much better rights for tenants is the way forwards, not least because it would weed out the less useful parts of the buy to let market.

JassyRadlett Tue 13-May-14 00:44:35

Tequila, in your argument you need to decide whether it's a business or 'an individual'. I see providing rental property as a business, and a business of providing an essential human right, so there should be more stringent safeguards than other businesses.

And let's not kid ourselves. Most landlords are not renting out the property out of the goodness of their hearts. They do it because they make money from it. If they aren't making enough money, they'll sell. I wouldn't be sad to see some contraction in the BTL sector simply because BTL helps to push up property prices at obscene rates, pricing out would be homeowners and driving up rents at the same time, way out of proportion with incomes.

An individual can have a business. It's actually called a sole proprietorship.

JassyRadlett Tue 13-May-14 01:00:36

And once they've done that, they are choosing to act as a business subject to relevant regulations. Emotive nonsense about them being individuals who are willing to rent out their homes, and this should not be treated in the same way as other businesses providing essential services doesn't alter that fact. If you choose to provide an essential service you should be willing to be subject to appropriate regulation. If not, open a different business.

And it's quite ignoring that many landlords are not sole proprietors or even partnerships renting out one or two properties, but rather extremely large concerns.

I have not once stated they shouldn't be subject to relevant regulations, what I am defending though is the landlord's rights as the owner of that property.

What I am questioning is the level of control the government wants to have over what a person does with their own house, how much they chose to charge for that service/product and when they'll actually be able to get it back at the end.

If you choose to provide an essential service you should be willing to be subject to appropriate regulation
Which they are aren't they? All this talk in this thread of new legalisation, just won't happen. It's an absolute minefield.

There just seems to be far too many people who seem to think landlords are there to act as a charity and shouldn't have the right to look out for themselves. If a landlord is charging x price, that's the price. If a landlord wants you out after the agreed 3 months, sorry but that's that. It's their property to do what they will with - as long as they abide by the law. I don't think taking away rights from landlords is the way to go.

I'm in the exact same boat as millions of other tenants, I'm not secure, I can't have a pet, they don't accept DSS, I can't paint a wall, I probably won't be able raise a family here... but I accept it. Because I don't own the place. I don't expect legalisation to change so I can take more control over someone elses property.

Paq Tue 13-May-14 05:59:34

You could very easily do away with BTLs actually, and I'd be surprised if as much as 5% of people felt they "needed" them back.

Really? What about students, or young people who want to live in shared houses with their friends, or people moving around who need the flexibility of a short term let, or people living together for the first time who don't want to buy a place together, or those with bad financial records who will never get a mortgage, or older people who wouldn't be granted one because of their age... I could go on.

There has to be a private rental sector, so there has to be BTL landlords. For every rip-off landlord who runs a substandard let, there are five who have invested to make a property habitable again, bringing it back into to housing stock where it would be otherwise lost.

As you have probably guessed I am a landlord (residential and commercial), it was the right financial decision for me. I'm not rich, or a parasite, I'm running a business providing a service. I would love stricter regulations on the private rental sector, and would even welcome rent controls. I am equally sick of criminal, lazy or draconian landlords who makes the lives of their tenants miserable.

bochead Tue 13-May-14 06:29:53

After years in my own home, I rented privately as part of a cross country relocation while we looked for somewhere to buy. If I can help it, I'll NEVER return to the private lettings market!

It's permanently colored my approach to a long held ambition of acquiring a BTL property as a pension. (Getting stuck in the carers trap has ruined my previous pension plans). IF I ever manage to raise the 25% deposit needed for a BTL mortgage it'll be for a fixed term tenancy that lasts as long as the longest mortgage fix I can manage - hopefully 5 years. The idea being that both tenant & I can have some security.

I'd also manage the property myself as these agencies seem to charge Landlords and awful lot for doing not a lot as far as maintenance is concerned. As the property is not theirs, if there's a leak etc they have no financial incentive to fixing things quickly which means the tenant suffers and the property degrades over time. I thought I'd just picked a dodgy agent, but talking to people who have been stuck in private rented all their lives in various parts of the country tells me this is the norm, not the exception.

Add in a few dodgy, possibly overseas landlords to the toxic agency mix and it's no wonder so many tenants are unhappy. Changing tenants often so rents can go up, and repairs undetected/undone seems to be the more profitable route for too many in the current system.

Some London councils are negotiating 5 year tenancies, and for many families this does seem the way to go for families with children at least. The days of rent controls in the 1970's didn't seem to help curb private cowboy land lords. Often rent controls kept rents too low to do essential repairs.

I'm glad the issue has been highlighted but lack faith in any of the political parties to DO anything, given their own addiction to using the housing market to disguise the terrible state of the wider economy. Labour also over saw the largest decline in social mobility in modern times during their last reign and I don't see any commitment from any of the major parties to reversing that trend.

Joysmum Tue 13-May-14 07:11:39

I would not want to offer a 3 year tenancy initially. I like to treat the initial 6 month period as a probation period.

In my town. Much of the market is 6-12 month rents because we have people from all over the UK move here temporarily with the forces. 3 year lets wouldn't work here.

All of my tenancy agreements have a clause written into them that the maximum I can raise rents per year is £25. That's 4.5% for my cheapest house and under 3% for my dearest. Despite this, I've never raised rents during a tenancy as it's in my best unrest to keep my good tenants and not want an empty house and the expense and uncertainty of ending and finding new tenants.

If I were forced to offer 3 year tenancies, my properties would remain empty, reducing the housing stock, if I knew I wanted to sell within 3 years. I, and other landlords in the area would also be likely to raise rents in accordance with regulations which would actually raise rent prices faster than is currently happening.

Sorry peeps, these measures won't have the purely positive effects you believe they will.

Callani Tue 13-May-14 07:49:53

I don't think capping rents will work - there'll just be some sneaky way around it as per always e.g. Landlords kicking out old tennants who pay low price to get in new tennants to rip off.

I'd rather they regulated landlords more and prosecuted people who refused to complete necessary repairs such as boilers breaking down, massive leaks, damp etc.

MrsWinnibago Tue 13-May-14 07:55:14

JoysMum "In my town" that's EVERY town....no matter whether the renters are families from the area, forces or whatever...your town is nothing unusual. Your properties would not remain empty. Families would live in them.

bochead Tue 13-May-14 08:00:35

At the moment as far as I can tell too many tenants and landlords alike are being ripped off by cowboy middlemen. That at least provides a middle ground where it should be easy to come to a common agreement about how to improve things for everyone.

HoopyViper Tue 13-May-14 08:03:30

Joysmum, Labour's proposals are for a 3 year tenancy with an initial 6 month probation. I am guessing what might be different is that a LL would not be able to evict after 6 months on a whim, unless for compelling reasons, otherwise, we might just see more turnaround for families every 6 months, which has surely got to be the opposite of what is wanted!

I have to agree with others though, some acknowledgment of the plight of renting is a very welcome start indeed.

Out of interest Joysmum, if say, you were financially penalised for leaving a house empty (in an area of evidenced high shortage for example) might it encourage you to rethink your need for that 2nd property? Might it be the case of another house on the open market? Or would it force you to go with the 3 years and plan accordingly?

JassyRadlett Tue 13-May-14 09:09:51

Tequila, if an elected government decides to implement rent controls - which aren't exactly unheard of elsewhere in the world - them yes, the fact that the business is a small one or run by an individual is utterly irrelevant as far as I'm concerned.

The situation where tenants are regularly turfed out so that rents can be hiked 10% for the next people being fleeced in a spiralling market, where people can't get decent security of tenure because there's no incentive for landlords to offer it and being a landlord is seen by too many as a hobby or a benign investment rather than as a business - yes, I think that situation needs serious repair.

PatrickStarisabadbellend Tue 13-May-14 09:14:55

I would love to see a cap on how many homes one person can own.
I had a landlord with over 100 properties. He was a terrible landlord and to be honest it's just pure greed.
A house is to nest, not to invest.

bigkidsdidit Tue 13-May-14 09:35:46

Tequila you're ignoring housing benefit. Te government currently pays an enormous whack of the renting cost - its not a business where the market sets the cost as simply as you describe. When the government has to pay that I think it's quite right to set conditions eg longer mee secure tenancies, no big increases in rent for example.

HoopyViper Tue 13-May-14 09:42:53

There does need to be some flexibility, and different solutions are needed for the two main groups who rent; those who are transient in nature (so students, forces, young single people) and those who need stability. The problem is we have one inefficient system for all.

Either we have to come up with a solution to provide two different services completely (I'd personally like to see some kind of housing association specifically for our armed forces, that they have to put up with artificially hoicked up prices, and risk unscrupulous LLs whilst already risking their lives for the rest of us, seems just plain wrong) or, rightly, we have to put children and their families at the top of the list of priorities, and find other solutions for the more transient population (lets face it, if the Tories have anything to do with it, the majority of young people are going to be living at home until they're 25!).

MrsWinnibago Tue 13-May-14 09:48:16

BigKids exactly! The current figures on working people in receipt of benefits is hugely changed over the last few years and apparently there's been a 50% increase in working families claiming housing benefit. That's wrong....working families should be earning enough to cover their rent. Why aren't they? Because wages are low and rent is high and the government are paying the shortfall.

HoopyViper Tue 13-May-14 09:49:03

Oh and also Joysmum if a landlord want to sell up or move back in they can in any case with 2 months notice. The only thing this proposal seeks to end is ll kicking people out to put the rent up in line with current market prices. It really is a half-hearted attempt at a solution.

HoopyViper Tue 13-May-14 11:45:19

And to add to that, the being allowed to sell up or move back in with 2 months notice gives LL MORE flexibility then they have now - at least now tenants can be assured of their home AT LEAST for the duration of their contract, whether that's 6 months or a year.

Under this new proposal, a family could be kicked out after 6 months, or effectively at any time after with 2 months notice - that is LESS stability, not more. Clearly also, should a LL default on the mortgage, the lender can evict with 2 DAYS NOTICE. Only no-one lets on about this until it happens.

Come on Labour.

Could. Do. Better.

JassyRadlett Tue 13-May-14 13:07:44

Excellent point, bigkids.

Hoopy, most rental contracts I've seen include break clauses for both parties after 6 months, so that insecurity already exists to a certain extent I think. I agree that this would perpetuate it.

ReallyTired Tue 13-May-14 13:57:48

I feel that the issue of a mortgage lender being able to evict with 2 days notice is more of a problem. I was under the impression that a lender gave a tenant 2 months notice if it was a proper buy to let mortgage. Tenants only get evicted with two days notice in circumstances when a landlord has let a property illegally. (Ie. without permission from the mortgage company). I feel it should be made a criminal offence to let or sublet a property without permission of the mortgage company/ head lease.

ReallyTired Tue 13-May-14 14:15:34

"Tired this is a subject which deserves some emotion. If you don;t think so then I doubt you're qualified to discuss it with any real insight."

I disagree with you. There are times when emotion clouds judgement. Why are my opinions on this subject invalid? Surely its important to know how a landlord's mind works if you are drafting legislation. Real life landlords will look at a situation with no emotion. A calm and cool head makes it easier to find loopholes in the law and exploit them if you are an unscrupulous landlord. If you want to avoid loopholes in the law then legislation needs to be planned and carefully researched otherwise you end up with a situation worst that what you had.

"Hoopy, most rental contracts I've seen include break clauses for both parties after 6 months, so that insecurity already exists to a certain extent I think. I agree that this would perpetuate it."

I think that with 3 year contracts landlords would be less inclined to give a difficult tenant the benefit of the doubt.

HoopyViper Tue 13-May-14 16:06:13

...most rental contracts I've seen include break clauses for both parties after 6 months

Jassy, I too have seen break clauses for both parties after six months, but they are certainly not in all contracts. IME (20 years renting) it depends which agency is managing the contract, they usually have their preferred, standard contract terms.

...it should be made a criminal offence to let or sublet a property without permission of the mortgage company/ head lease

I completely agree ReallyTired, and you are correct, it happens if the LL do not have permission to let. Letting agencies should also be struck off if they let out a property where they haven't documented evidence. Getting a LL to sign to say they have permission, rather than actually see the paperwork is a way too easy cop out, and utterly worthless if the LL is abroad.

HoopyViper Tue 13-May-14 16:07:58

And it's interesting isn't it, we never hear from letting agents on these threads

grin

Shewhowines Tue 13-May-14 23:12:50

How often do people actually have to move out because of ll selling up, in reality? Is the problem really as bad as it seems on Mumsnet? Surely most ll and tenants want long term leases. I'd welcome a tenant who wants a 3 year lease after a 6 month probation period. That saves me arrangement fees and gives me security. Also saves on 6 monthly redecoration. Surely this is true of most ll?

Lanabelle Tue 13-May-14 23:37:42

We aren't all parasites, I don't have a BTL morgage, just permission from my lender to let. I had a flat which I owned before I got married and bought a house with DH, I let it out because I no longer live there but I will be in serious negative equity if I was to sell it just now. Its a 1 bedroom close to the centre of town and I let it for 330pcm. I let them have their cat there, they can decorate (within reason) and as long as the rent is paid then I am pretty much happy. The rent charged covers the mortgage payment, the landlords insurance and the buildings insurance, I think I make £1.26 each month and set rent to 330 just so it was an even number. Please don't tar us all with the same brush, some of us are just trying not to lose thousands on houses we bought before the market crashed that would never sell now for what we paid

UtterFool Wed 14-May-14 00:18:33

I agree, us landlords aren't all bad. My house is top notch and I've not put the rent up since I started renting (2 years ago) and have no intention to either.

As per Shewhowines, I would welcome long term lets and hope mine stay forever! They're great tenants and I make sure the house remains top notch and as cost effective as possible.

Putting a cap on rents would make no difference to me but don't like the idea either. Bad landlords need to be flushed out and tighter regulations put in place to assure the quality of homes but it'll be impossible to cap rents.

ReallyTired Wed 14-May-14 11:02:06

Many landlords have been tenants as well. We have been ripped off by bad landlord. I had a ghastly landlord who used to let himself into my flat and would prefix very sentence of his with "I'm a Christian" in a horribly camp voice. I don't know why I didn't tell him, "yes, I have heard you the first time. Now please will you go away and let me shag fornicate in peace with my multiple boy friends." I suppose that I was young and far too shy.

GwenStacy Wed 14-May-14 11:55:13

My last landlord was pretty good! Less than a 5% increase over 5 years, and when he found out we were moving because we needed somewhere bigger, he tried his best to juggle dates for us so we could move to another of his properties, where he offered to lower the rent by £250 a month so we could afford it.

This one said he wanted long term tenants, and said he was glad a young couple with a baby were moving in as we'd make it our home. Less than a year later he's put the rent up 15% and I'm sitting here in tears because we have to move our of our home.

I would love longer, more secure tenancies. I can't buy, and I hate feeling this vulnerable. I feel guilty for having a baby in this situation. The whole system is degrading and I hate it.

PennyTheProcrastinator Wed 14-May-14 12:32:11

We have issues at the moment with the property we rented 3 weeks ago. I was told by the Letting Agent that the LL was happy to give a one year tenancy which is what I wanted as next year I hope to be a position to buy a house again. When I went to sign the contract I was told that as I was paying the 6 months rent in advance due to a bankruptcy 5 years ago, they would only give me a 6 month tenancy but would do me a new tenancy for a further 6 months afterwards. I had already had to pay £1250 at that point and they said if I withdrew I would not get it back! I also needed somewhere to live so OK fine, I thought.

I find out from next door that the landlord had been trying to sell it without success and the previous tenants had left as they didn't want people coming round to view it all the time. The property is still on Rightmove today and I fully expect in 3 months time to be told that the landlord wants me to agree to viewings! I was also told by the Letting Agent AFTER moving in that I would have to pay the additional 6 months rent in advance as well or they would charge me £250 for an new credit check/admin fee and an additional £75 tenancy renewal fee!

Toddler DS opened a letter addressed to the Landlord the other day (I did not see that he had got the post and ripped it open) from their mortgage lender saying that their mortgage payment had bounced. I am assuming that they have not told their mortgage co that they are renting the property out as it was sent here and they have not lived here for 2 years at least. They live abroad and seem to have a 100% mortgage on this property on a not very good rate as the mortgage payment is much more than the rent and the rent is not cheap. They also have this UK mortgage while not living or working here so not UK resident. Is that even allowed?

If they continue not paying their mortgage, the house will be repossessed and we could be kicked out even though we have paid 6 months rent and deposit up front! Anyone know how long this process takes if the mortgage co repossess? I think they were desperately trying to sell as they were having problems paying the mortgage but couldn't so took us as tenants instead in the full knowledge that they were going to shaft us and try to sell again after 4 months.

Really don't want to move in 6 months as have 4DC! Added to that, we still have not seen the gas safety certificate angry.

IdealistAndProudOfIt Wed 14-May-14 12:39:59

What makes me laugh is the way they get "accused on Wednesday night of attempting to introduce rent controls like those blamed for damaging the property sector during the 1960s and 1970s."

Yes, they're trying to do something for ordinary people for a change and put the property market back to the way it was in 70's, ie affordable, instead of doing yet more for the rich - and incidentally moving us back more and more to the situation pre-public sector in 1800s like the Tories. What exactly is wrong with that?

It's like accusing people of being socialists, or of 'idealism'. I wish there was more need for such accusations, we desperately need to readjust the balance back to the working classes.

SnowinBerlin Wed 14-May-14 20:44:15

Well Labour introduced an amendment to the proposed Consumer Protection Bill, which would have banned letting agents charging fees to tenants.

Yesterday the amendment was defeated by a majority of 53, 281 to 228, with all but three Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs present voting against it.

Still, we're all in this together, eh? angry

writtenguarantee Wed 14-May-14 23:46:30

None of you are special btw. There are no special circumstances any of you are in which entitle you to leech any more money off the general public than can be objectively considered fair.

there is no such thing as "objectively fair" rent.

A cap is a silly idea. it will do exactly as predicted; create an even bigger housing shortage. A cap does nothing to solve the real problem, and that's a supply problem. what the govt needs to do is address the lack of supply. it either needs to build some housing, or let the private sector do it by easing planning permission.

writtenguarantee Wed 14-May-14 23:49:06

another thing they can do besides a cap is give tenants more and better rights.

mimishimmi Thu 15-May-14 01:27:39

It's a bad idea to impose controls but I do think LL's who offer longer leases and moderate rent raises could be rewarded through tax concessions for doing so.

AgaPanthers Thu 15-May-14 17:08:08

Landlords already get substantial tax concessions. Tax increases would be more appropriate.

HoopyViper Thu 15-May-14 19:45:35

Is there room for a graduated scale of tax?

So, higher tax on short-term lets, lower rates for long-term.

I don't know what impact that would have.

ReallyTired Thu 15-May-14 22:14:16

"Landlords already get substantial tax concessions."

No more than any other business. What tax concessions are you thinking off. Landlords can ofset the cost of maintainance from their income. If you prevented them doing that then landlords would not do any maintainance and that would hurt the tenant. Encouraging landlords to do maintainance is good for the ecomony.

"Is there room for a graduated scale of tax? "

We have a graduated scale of tax already. All landlords have a personal allowance. Depending on their income they are either base rate tax payers or pay tax at the higher rate.

"So, higher tax on short-term lets, lower rates for long-term."

The only way to do that would be to reform stamp duty. At the moment a long term let is considered to be a lease and attacts stamp duty.

AgaPanthers Fri 16-May-14 10:48:19

"No more than any other business."

But landlordism is not any other business, it's based on buying up the supply of shelter, which is a basic human right.

Also I'm pretty sure it's easier to avoid capital gains tax on a £500k BTL sale than it would be selling £500k worth of shares, say.

ReallyTired Fri 16-May-14 11:51:40

"But landlordism is not any other business, it's based on buying up the supply of shelter, which is a basic human right. "

Tesco sells food. Is that a human right? Should TESCO, Sainsburys and Waitrose be taxed differently because food is a human right.

"
But landlordism is not any other business, it's based on buying up the supply of shelter, which is a basic human right. "

Landlordism supplies shelter to those who cannot or don't want to get a mortgage. People need choice and if the only landlord is the council then people won't be able to find accomdiation quickly.

AgaPanthers Fri 16-May-14 12:17:27

The difference is that Tesco are manufacturing and importing food, which is basically unlimited in supply relative to UK demand. Landlords are buying up supply. Also food is fungible, unlike say homes for someone working in London.

The supply of properties to live in is very strictly controlled in the UK and it's not comparable at all.

"Landlordism supplies shelter to those who cannot or don't want to get a mortgage. People need choice and if the only landlord is the council then people won't be able to find accomdiation quickly."

That is because landlordism PREVENTS people getting mortgages. We have far too many landlords now. Compared with 20 years ago, home ownership has fallen and private rental increased, and this is because there are now so many more buy-to-lets.

It doesn't constitute 'choice' when your only option is to rent off a landlord.

Buy-to-let is a bad thing.

cestlavielife Fri 16-May-14 12:59:24

I am on a two year AST. it allows for annual increase up to 8%. (and having tog et landlord to make basic repairs to appliances and windows etc but that is another issue)

my last landlady did not raise rent in six years.

cestlavielife Fri 16-May-14 13:00:50

allowing BTL to take off mortgage interest from their income for tax purposes is a massive tax concession.
wear and tear yes,
maintenance yes.

but the mortgage interest relief is huge.

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