Homelessness comes to the fore at Christmas, as people realise that many individuals and families will be spending the festive period in a strange environment without their own belongings. And this year, many renters are finding themselves homeless as Christmas approaches… but whose fault is it?
To highlight the increasing issue, Tenant Referencing UK has compiled some figures from the South West, showing how many families will be spending Christmas in temporary accommodation:
And the issue is widespread across the whole of the UK. Recent figures from housing charity Shelter show that around 250,000 people currently have no permanent home.
So are landlords to blame? Following announcements of a lending crackdown and the reduction in mortgage interest tax relief, many investors are deciding to sell up as they find themselves making losses rather than profit.
Paul Routledge, the CEO of Tenant Referencing, retaliates, however, insisting that landlords aren’t the cause of the problem: “I just sold 13 fantastic flats that were rented out to great tenants for over eight years – only two were bought by investors (who immediately showed they did not understand the requirements of them as a landlord and also increased the rents) and the rest were bought by individuals.
“The Government will say that’s great because 11 more people own a home, and to that I reply: ‘But 11 people who could not buy and who relied on a professional landlord with fair rents are now homeless, paying increased rents elsewhere and/or living in a lesser quality home.’ These know-it-all, never-been-a-landlord politicians need to see the big picture and not the inside of the bubble world they all live in.”
He continues: “This Government needs private sector investment to help house the population of this country, but this lot do not entice investors to invest, they just pour more and more legislative salt and taxes on landlords every day and expect us to take it.
“Well, Mr. Barwell Housing Minister, you can shove you dictatorial, oppressive, money-grabbing housing policies where the sun don’t shine, ‘cause me and all my mates are selling up and leaving you to work out what you are going to do with all the homeless families wandering the streets. I say: ‘Good job done son.’”
One landlord from Bristol responded: “Ironically, Paul, I think you’re right, because today, the BBC West has posted that 2,000 families who rent cannot now find a home to rent in Bristol within a price range they can afford. What this mob do not understand is that as landlords leave in droves, they create more of a shortage of rental stock, which is putting the price up and for those that cannot afford to buy, they are becoming homeless daily.
“What sort of Government do we have that does not realise that the more pressure they apply to landlords will create a shortage of rental stock, and those who need to rent will simply be priced out of the rental market?!”
Landlords, if you are forced to put rents up as a result of Government policy, you must be aware of the impact of this on your tenants. Make sure to communicate regularly with your tenants about their financial circumstances and put Rent Guarantee Insurance in place to protect your rental income.
In the fight against homelessness, we have teamed up with Shelter to launch a fun Christmas competition – Simply post a photo of your festive property on Facebook or Twitter, tag @JustLandlords and #JLChristmas, and you could win a John Lewis voucher. We’ll also donate £1 to the charity for each entry. See full Ts and Cs here: https://www.justlandlords.co.uk/news/christmas-shelter-competition-terms-conditions/