Nearly everyone has an opinion when it comes to landlords and how much power they should have over running their businesses and protecting their tenants.
This causes a number of issues in the private rental sector, as many people claim that landlords should do more for their tenants, while at the same time hold onto their power to control their businesses.
So how much power should landlords have, why is this such as big issue and, most importantly, what can you do to ensure that you protect both your tenants and your business?
Looking after your tenants
As a landlord, you are legally responsible for ensuring that your tenants are safe in your property, which means that you need to install basic necessities such as fire alarms and reliable locks.
This also means that you need to ensure that your building is structurally sound, as if your tenants are injured by falling down the stairs due to a broken bannister, for example, you will be held liable and will likely have to pay your tenant a substantial amount in compensation.
However, recently we have seen housing charities call for landlords to be required to offer longer minimum tenancies to tenants in order to provide emotional and financial stability as well as physical security.
With so many people now relying on the private rental sector, it is not surprising to hear that they want landlords to become more humanitarian when it comes to their businesses.
Protecting your business
At the end of the day, being a landlord is neither cheap nor easy, which means that those who do take the plunge want to ensure that their investment will always be protected.
Think of it this way, would you buy something extremely expensive and then give it to a complete stranger without having some form of protection or the right to take it back from them?
Obviously not, and this is why all landlords must protect their businesses with landlord insurance as well as intricate tenancy agreements. This is also why many MPs and politicians are wary of bringing in stricter regulations for landlords, as it means that they may be put off investing in further properties, which will harm the market and make it more difficult for tenants to find a home.
Finding the right balance
In order for both tenants and landlords to benefit, it’s important to find the right amount of power to give to each party.
Giving either one too much power would ultimately harm both as well as potentially the UK’s economy, private rental sector and property market, which is why many people are concerned when politicians talk about reform.
However, there is no way that the status quo can remain, as the housing crisis is putting millions of renters in danger of becoming homeless, an issue that housing charity Shelter has been campaigning over heavily during the past few months.
Allowing landlords to protect their businesses is completely understandable and logical, however, at the same time, it is the Government’s duty to ensure that the quality of life for everyone in the UK is of a suitable standard, regardless of whether they own or rent property.
What can you do?
Even though as a landlord you are legally bound to provide your tenants a suitable property, your responsibility towards them doesn’t have to stop there.
Securing regular income from your properties is just one goal you should strive to achieve, so make sure that you also try and think about ways in which you can contribute to the improvement of both your tenants’ lives and the private rental sector.
As a landlord you have a great amount of power – you own and look after the roof over numerous people’s heads – which means that you should ensure that you take your position seriously and ensure that you always treat your tenants the same way that you would want to be treated.
It is currently not clear what will happen in the future when it comes to the amount of power landlords are given, as this is intrinsically linked to the current housing crisis and how long it will last. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t start using the power that you have to improve your tenants’ lives today.