Negative media portrayals of the buy to let sector could help to tip Britain into a housing crisis, claims an online lettings agency.
MakeUrMove says two thirds of landlords believe the bad name they are getting is making them question if it’s worth continuing to rent out their properties.
Some 65 per cent of landlords feel that TV shows such as Landlords from Hell, and The Week The Landlord Moved In are providing the British public with a distorted and disproportionate view of the sector.
While many respondents agree it is justified to expose these criminals and money-grabbing charlatans, they believe more balance is needed to show the bigger picture and represent private renting more fairly, especially as these programmes tend to show landlords with multiple properties, who represent the minority.
The agency says rather than making a full time income by renting several properties, 60 per cent of investors are ‘casual’ or ‘accidental’, letting out a second home or inherited property to supplement their income.
“The portrayal in the media is leaving good, honest landlords feeling hugely undervalued. We’ve found that a majority are happy for their tenants to make changes to the property, with 71 percent allowing them to make alterations, and many also try to do the best for their tenants even if it impacts their margins, with 46 percent saying they will keep their tenants rents the same despite rising costs, which is the complete opposite of the TV image” explains Alexandra Morris, managing director of MakeUrMove.
“With more than half also feeling the government afford them little to no value, it’s having a real impact on a vital part of the UK’s housing sector, risking crucial landlords leaving the market” she adds.
Morris says that in contrast to TV portrayals, many investors have experienced problems with tenants, with 47 per cent having previously had to chase late rent payments.
A quarter have experienced tenants refusing to pay for something they had broken in the property and 22 per cent say they’ve discovered extra people not on the tenancy agreement have lived in their properties.
“Given the heavily saturated nature of ‘rogue’ landlord TV programming, these findings may come as a surprise to many and hopefully provide a sense of perspective. TV paints a picture of nightmare landlords running amok in Britain, when in reality, the majority of landlords are genuine, hard-working people who want to maintain good relationships with their tenants” claims Morris.
She says the reality is that 92 per cent of landlords have a good relationship with their tenants, 98 per cent agree it’s important to keep their tenants happy and 96 per cent aim to provide the best property they can.