Liam Reynolds
 
I am an experienced member of Shelter’s Research team, and have recently specialised in Welfare Reform, and the Private Rented Sector. Outside of work I am a season ticket holder at Spurs, keen squash player and reader of internet discussion forums.

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By Liam Reynolds

8 things you didn’t know about private landlords

The number of private landlords has exploded in recent years with the growth of the private rented sector. But in spite of this, there haven’t been many big studies dedicated to landlords and how they run their businesses.

To plug this gap and get some up-to-date data on landlords, we recently commissioned YouGov to carry out the biggest and most representative survey of them for five years. You can find the full results here, but here are a selection of the survey’s top findings about landlords.

Tenure

40 More than 40% of landlords are mortgage free, meaning they have no outstanding loan on any of the homes that they let out
6 Only 6% of landlords rent themselves. This rises to 10% in London.

Professionalism

59 Almost 60% of landlords only let out one home, with the overwhelming majority (92%) letting out less than five.
12 Not many are accredited or in a trade body. The small-scale nature may also help to explain why only 1 in 8 landlords are currently members of an accreditation scheme or trade body.

Barriers to access

63 Nearly two thirds of landlords don’t like to take people on housing benefit. 42% have an outright bar on benefit recipients, 21% occasionally let to them, but prefer not to.
44 Almost half are less likely to rent to people they think are immigrants in the future. Over four in ten of those landlords that make letting decisions themselves (rather than via an agent) agreed that the ‘Right to Rent’ legislation would make them less likely to let to ‘people who appear to be/ I perceive to be immigrants’.

Good practice

51 Half of landlords are having regular electrical safety checks. This is in spite of the fact that only a tiny proportion are legally obliged to.
64 Most landlords are open to the idea of offering longer tenancies. 31% said they would like to try longer tenancies and 33% are unsure, but would try them if they saw them working in practice.

These are only a few of the insights that our research on landlords have uncovered. The findings are an authoritative source of information for anyone who is interested in landlord business models and attitudes, something that anyone who wants to improve renting needs to know about. You can read it in full here.

5 Responses to 8 things you didn’t know about private landlords

  1. Edd says:

    Landlords should not be criticised for not accepting HB. The main and principal reason I would no longer accept it is that councils (namely LBHF) are a disgrace and so poorly organised that payments are stopped at random, over paid and clawed back, under paid and not reimbursed for and you cannot speak to a human being no matter how hard you try. We have had a complete nightmare with a poor girl who rents from us and is reliant on HB. At one stage, despite the payments being paid directly to us, or not as the case was here, we were in £8k of arrears due to a council cock up. Yes we were reimbursed but had to forego rental payments for nearly 7 months before it was sorted out. Luckily we didn’t have a mortgage to pay else we would have lost the property and perhaps our principal home as well. This was not the tenants fault, it was the councils and I am positive that we are not alone in this!

    • Sarah says:

      My Landlord needs so much work done to the flat I rent from him…. The windows need replaced as they don’t shut properly. are producing mold and leaking – the heating does not work – the radiators are SO OLD. The fire alarm does not work (we told the letting agency to get it fixed and the guy just said it needed a new battery) we got a new battery and it still does not work. The lock on the front door is skewed and we asked for a new one… it became skewed again as the door itself has eroded wood. This meant that our inspection did not go ahead as they couldn’t get in… I gave them the option of me being in on their next visit or to fix the lock or get a yale… their response was…. okay, see you on this date. The heaters in the bathroom and kitchen don’t work. The bath taps let out bits of plastic when running. The carpet is a disgusting brown colour – the walls were obviously quickly and terribly painted. Would you rent out a flat in this condition? Would you say it is more the letting agency that are pitiful at getting things sorted? It was our only option and to be fair it is a great size and great location. But I do not think the rent justifies the condition. What are your views on this?

      • TheLandlordWhisperer says:

        Anything of genuinely poor or dangerous quality should be reported to Environmental Health. Mould is a ventilation issue rather than damp – check out any reputable website on the subject, including your local authority. If it was that bad, why did you take it – or in truth are you actually saying the size/location made you overlook the shortcomings? Can’t understand how plastic comes out of the taps – sure it’s not limescale?? 😟

  2. Colin Lunt says:

    Your situation and that of your tenant sounds like a good case for the Local Government Ombudsman

  3. Sociopol says:

    Some ideas of letting from the Scandic countries should be applied here.
    The poor standard is a joke

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