There’s always plenty of jargon that pops up in property news articles and a term we’ve seen a lot lately has been ‘absentee landlord’. It does have a variety of connotations and was, originally, coined by renowned economist Thorstein Veblen who used it to refer to a property owner who takes the rent but doesn’t live in the area. It’s a term that’s been taken up by the press too, but are you an absentee landlord?
On a practical level, if a landlord doesn’t live in the area that could suit a lot of tenants! Tenants don’t want to be disturbed on a daily basis. They do however, want the proper maintenance levels to be kept up and they want repairs to be conducted as and when necessary. An absentee landlord is, usually, someone who fails to keep up this maintenance work and lets the property fall into disrepair.
Though the term ‘absentee landlord’ is definitely a personal one, it doesn’t have to be the landlord who physically does the maintenance work. Plenty of landlords have never met their tenants and they use a clever combination of letting agencies, property management services and landlord insurance policies to manage from afar. This works fine in many cases, as long as the agencies are doing their jobs properly.
In some cases, landlords have been accused of failing to take proper care of who they are letting their property to, and these tenants then go on to disturb the local community. There is certainly an argument that landlords who do live locally have more at stake when it comes to taking on the right tenants, but often for landlords the best business decisions are the best social decisions, and well-behaved, no-fuss tenants are best for both worlds.
For most landlords the question of whether they are an ‘absentee’ seems ludicrous: the amount of work that it takes to manage a property leaves you in no doubt that you’re doing your job. However, if there is a property that could do with a new lick of paint then why not give it some attention: it’s never too late to recover your reputation.