Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Landlords VS Tenants: A Critical Look at your Money’s Worth


False promises, poor communication, damaged and dilapidating properties, unfair rent increases, poor resolution of complaints, the list of tenant complaints about landlords could go on and on. But it seems the landlords also have their own share of bad tenant experience. 

CURRENT STATE OF EVENTS 
 
It appears tenants’ complaints will increase owing to the high percentage of Londoners resorting to renting. It is predicted by PwC that 60% of Londoners will be renters by 2025. The incidence of “high prices, unattainable deposits and mortgages” has reduced the percentage of people between the ages of 20-39 most likely to own a home by 2025 to 25% (theTelegraph) .

Recently, the UK capital has seen a 7.7% increase resulting in an average rent of 1,543 while outside London experienced a 5.1% increase to an average rent of 764 ( source The Guardian).
The facts above shows the effects of the inflation on prices and purchasing power. Tenants pay more now and expect to get their money’s worth.

Most disgruntled tenants complain about dodgy landlords who wouldn’t honour the Tenancy agreement on repairs, rent increases, deposits, etc. The Rogue Landlord covers his tracks so well that most times there isn’t any legal implication of their actions. But an angry soul needs an outlet. So tenants resorted to shaming Landlords on the internet. The #ventyourrent is trending on twitter. But does it really have an impact?

Disgruntled and unhappy renters in the UK have turned to twitter to shame their landlords. On twitter they put up a picture with a placard with their address, rent and problems they are experiencing. The #ventyourrent is trending as hundreds of UK residents have joined in the trend. The complaints include bedbugs and other infestations, broken appliances, no heater/boiler, unfair rent increase etc. The trend has gotten the attention of Britain’s prime news house, the BBC, with an article “Vent your rent: How bad is yourhome?”.

There are also websites like thetenantsvoice.co.uk and asktenant.co.uk which provide tenants a platform to review and comment on their experiences with landlords.
But again, have all these really made an impact? The impact of this campaign is yet to be felt by the teeming tenant population of UK. Their frustrations are real and like all social media campaigns, it is gathering momentum. We hope for a climax that helps their situation.
Looking at both sides of the coin, not all landlords are bad and not all tenants are good. Some landlords who have experienced bad tenants also took to social media to vent their frustration and experience with bad tenants.

 This Australian Based Facebook page Name and Shame Bad Tenants with 2,193 likes, regularly features UK landlords venting their anger and frustration on defaulting and bad tenants. Their strategy seems a bit more subtle as they only give the name of the renter and how he mismanaged the apartment rented to him and advise other landlords not to rent to the individual.
Landlords talk about dirty and unruly renters, debtor renters, etc; and sound a warning to other landlords. About 20,000 Landlords also use LandlordReferencing.co.uk to reference and it seems to also blacklist tenants.

Is This An Unfair Advantage?

The owner of the site, Paul Routledge explains that the site is not a “tenant blacklist" but a "community" where information is shared on both good and bad tenants. He further explains how it works: "We don't give away information. Landlords upload tenant information and if another landlord searches for them and there's a match, we put the landlords in touch with one another." (Source – The Gurdian)
When he was questioned about the risk of a landlord lying in revenge to a tenant because of a minor misdemeanor, he answered: “Why would they lie? They don't lie because it's a criminal offence and because it's libelous. The site is data controlled and we vet the information we are given. The site is basically to make sure landlords turn down tenants who left their last property owing rent or having trashed the place. We don't just add tenants because they've been a pain, because they got orange paint on the carpet or owe £30, for example. They have to be pretty bad." (Source – The Gurdian)
  
WHAT DO GOVERNMENT/POLITICIANS SAY? 
One of London’s top contender for Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has promised to empower London rent payers to have their own house and to improve the standards for those renting. Mr. Khan, as part of his Manifesto, plans to name and shame Rogue Landlords in London via a website. He promises to create a web based platform with a database of landlords who have been successfully prosecuted in housing- related offences. In addition to this, the UK government has announced that it will clamp down on Rogue Landlords and letting Agents in the housing Bill. It will also setup a database of offenders and seek banning orders and impose fines. (Source standard.co.uk)

The tussle between landlords and tenants seems to have been a protracted one. But truth be told, there are bad landlords and there are good landlords in the same way that we have good tenants and bad tenants. It may not be fair to tag one party as the victim, but a tenant deserves to get his money’s worth in the same way that a landlord deserves to have his property treated well.
The scale is not perfectly balanced, but these are our thoughts. They are not absolute and we would love to know yours.
 

Source Website: TheHouse Shop