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Article > Rogue Landlords; Urban Myth or Letting Reality?

Article kindly provided by Julie Ford

Hemel Landlord Property Network
07904 288188

Since Channel 4 aired the Dispatches episode highlighting the appalling way some landlords run their properties, the media have jumped on the rogue landlord bandwagon with vengeance and the documentary has certainly stirred up new calls for mandatory licensing of landlords and letting agents.

The housing charity Shelter has published New research revealing that rogue landlords are operating unchecked across the country, even after they have been reported to local authorities. The report shows that local councils are dragging their feet when it comes to enforcement action.

The research was carried out across 326 local authorities, worryingly the results show that 1,477 landlords known to local authorities who are said to be repeatedly making tenants’ lives a misery, have not yet been approached to be dealt with. A big concern for local authorities, show that complaints about serious and potentially life-threatening hazards, including dangerous gas and electrics, have risen by 25% over the past two years.

But are all the reports of unscrupulous landlords renting out sub-standard and in some cases down right dangerous properties true?

If you look at the figures, complaints about rogue landlords have risen to 86,628 in the last year. But the bigger concern is that just 270 successful prosecutions have been brought by local authorities against landlords during the same period. This all sounds very worrying and on the surface would indicate that renting is a very hazardous choice for any would be tenants, but lets take a step back and look at the facts,

Out of the 21.6 million households in England, 3.4 million people, 33%, are currently in rented accommodation. Both Dispatches and Shelter only showcases a minority of landlords who choose to flout the law and risk the safety of the tenants in the interest of simply making as much money as possible.

Another area that has recently been highlighted and received its own share of column inches is the amount of so called ‘Slum Landlords’ who are cashing in on the recent changes to the housing benefit payments which has forced many families to rent cheaper and less well maintained properties in an attempt to keep a roof over their heads. Some less conscientious landlords have chosen to cash in on this market and are letting out sub-standard and poorly maintained properties.

In a shock announcement, Grant Shapps has said that the pending localism bill will now include standards for private rental property to reach prescribed higher standards. As yet, the Housing minister has not elaborated on what or how these stipulations will effect landlords and the properties they let out. But with the Green Deal to come into force next year, there is speculation that this may well be a major part of the Localism bills higher standards requiring landlords to increase insulation and energy efficiency of their properties.

If the speculation is correct, then when the next stage of the Localism bill is introduced, then private landlords could be in for a hard time not to mention an expensive one. The commencement of the Green Deal in 2012 will assist landlords in resolving the energy efficiency issues, however it will not offer funding for the more important and possibly more expensively aspect of the impending higher standards which could include, re-wiring and extreme maintenance of all properties that don’t meet current standards

So while the media circus continues in regards to a failing minority of ‘Rogue Landlords’ we must not forget the 1000s of good landlords who are getting it right and are letting out decent homes to tenants across the UK. Until there is a nationwide scheme adhered to and regulated by one body, then renting a property will always be a lottery in regards to what type of landlord you get.



About the Author

Julie Ford runs the Hemel Landlord & Property Network

The network is predominately designed for landlords and property investors, we offer advice and guidance on all aspects of buying, selling, renting and managing your property, whether you are a 1st time landlord or a seasoned investor The Hemel Property Network has all the tools you need to help you make the most of your investment.

We meet Last Thursday of the Month, at 19:00 and encourage our guests to arrive early so that you can get to know your fellow property networkers.

Next HLPN Meeting : 29th September 2011 - 19:00

Venue : Holiday Inn Express - Apsley Lock - Stationers Place, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire HP3 9RH



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