What about the accidental landlord?

30 08 2011

I was speaking to my local councillor last week about an issue regarding the area where my flat is. We are having trouble with slumlords and anti-social tenants and Glasgow City Council are slow to respond, wanting more evidence than any reasonable person can provide before they take action.

I was telling the councillor how I was unable to sell my home and that I was being forced into renting it out as a Landlord.

Well it seem’s he missed the point completely, ranting and raving about how bad *all* landlords are, how regulation needs to be tightened, how they need to be fined more, blah blah… and it made me realise there are a whole new group of accidental landlords getting a raw deal because of those who gain profit from their portfolios and who do not look after their properties.

And these accidental landlords are lumped in, punished and treated like criminals because of the actions of the rogue majority.

Who are these accidental landlords?

Well they’re people like me. People who cannot sell their property due to the economic conditions but cannot continue to pay their mortgage.

When I realised my flat wouldn’t sell in the next 12 months I registered as a landlord with the local council. This cost me in the region of £60 (including an £11 online discount). I had to gain the permission of my mortgage company costing me and additional £100 and then I had to change my buildings insurance.

The buildings insurance for non owner-occupiers is around seven times more expensive than for owner occupiers. Whereas I has been paying in the region of £120 a year, I was getting quotes in the region of £700 a year. The cheapest gave restricted cover and still cost £470 a year.

When it came to working out what I’d need to make in rent to meet my basic costs (mortgage, insurance and admin expenses), not make a penny profit, I would be pricing myself out of the local market.

Even renting the flat out, I would still be out of pocket. But it’s cheaper to be £40 a month out of pocket than £450+ a month or even bankrupt. So it looks like I have no option. I shall end up paying money from my own pocket for a stranger to live in my flat.

Of course none of this takes into account yearly ongoing repairs and maintenance, or emergencies. The cost of getting everything up to council standards then checked each year hasn’t been included either.

And now the government are discussing setting up a compulsory deposit scheme for landlords.

This is a fantastic idea to protect tenants deposits, that are too often not returned… however, I’ve heard the cost of being forced to participate in the scheme could be expensive for the accidental landlord, who do not do this for a profit. Costs being rumoured in the region of £100+ a year to join the scheme and with no indication of what happens to the interest on the deposits over the space of the tenancy.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen my fair share of slumlord properties being run into the ground and I’ve seen family and friends shafted by rogue landlords… and these people do need to be policed better, but in the end, the people who suffer are the ones who are forced into the position of landlord against their own desire.

With all these additional costs, I cannot even afford to be a landlord unless I do so illegally and then I am no better than the rogue landlords.

It’s a terrifying prospect when my family are already on a very tight student budget, but if we want to be together as a family then this is what we have to do.

And my home could help any number of homeless families but they just wouldn’t be able to afford the rent, given the pitiful housing benefit and local authority allowances. In all conscience, I don’t know if I could rent to a family/couple/person who would struggle to pay the rent as I do.

I feel truly fucked from all directions.

Thank you bankers and Tory wankers.

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One response

17 09 2011
Chris Lamb

Hi. If you’re talking about Govanhill can you email govanhillresidentsgroup@googlemail.com please?

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