As someone who has been a residential landlord for the past 40 odd years I was astonished to read a report written by one of our city politicians claiming rents had gone up in the past year by 25%.
Now I would be the first to agree that rents in our city are way too high and that some landlords are just plain greedy. However most of these will be people who have taken a chance and bought a couple of Buy To Let properties. They will have been buoyed up by young eager inexperienced agents chasing commission and will have been led to believe that some ridiculously high rent is the norm. An experienced landlord by contrast will steer well clear of eager agent Justin age 12 and pitch their rents just below what is the expected norm for their area. It is much better to keep tenants happy and not have lengthy void periods whilst Justin tries to convince some other poor mug that they are getting value for money.
With the virtual abolition of empty rates it is in every ones interest not to have lengthy voids as not only is the landlord unable to pay their mortgage but they will now also face a hefty rates bill. It is my experience that there is currently a huge disparity in rents caused by misinformation coming from our politicians and consequently the press. It is extremely irresponsible for a politician to be misleading people by making wild statements such as those made in the other local tabloid recently. Such silly scaremongering simply encourages impressionable new landlords to demand even larger sums of money than Justin age 12 has already insisted are achievable.
It is my experience that since housing benefit caps were introduced real rents locally have actually gone down. Savvy tenants know this and will now negotiate with you as they know no landlord wants an empty property. In this environment it is indeed true though that some inexperienced landlords are listening to all this clap trap about rising rents and are chancing their arm so here is an idea for our wonderful local politicians to mull over.
Why not lead the way Brighton and Hove to do something truly useful for both landlord and tenant alike. We all know rent controls don’t work as there immediately becomes a shortage of property. Therefore why not add onto your rating dept a rent advisory section. This would not be compulsory for landlords to register but for a small fee your property would become accredited. The advice could be that a fair rent in our city may be deemed to be £600 for a one bedroom flat for example. Therefore when advertising that flat to let you would advertise your flat as accredited at £600 but to let at perhaps plus £50 because it is in good decorative order etc hence a rental asking price of £650. The prospective tenant would be far better served and would help take the uncertainty out of the market especially for those just starting out and moving into rental accommodation. It would also stop Justin age 12 from misleading new wannabee landlords into thinking they can get ridiculous rents. Fuelling equally ridiculous remarks by politicians who quite frankly ought to know better.
We need politicians with business acumen who can actually think outside the box and come up with innovative ideas not political whingers who are continually sniping at each other. Lets hope we get some at the next election and that we see a better selection of candidates on all sides than the majority of those currently on offer.