Monday, 21 January 2013

Legends of the Landlords

New landlords have a complex system belief system, based, like all religious belief, on fear and superstition. No, they haven’t created new pantheon of skygods, and do not, unless I am mistaken, dance naked at midnight around graven images. They do, however, believe some really, really weird things.

Many fear the Great Squatter Devil. Newbie landlords have an irrational fear of squatters, and imagine that if they do not harass renters they can stay put forever, with no hope of eviction no matter what. It’s just plain wrong. Firstly, squatter’s rights were abolished by our Condem overlords, meaning that even empty properties cannot be occupied. But still landlords cling to the belief that hordes of frenzied, drug crazed, benefit ‘scrounging’ thugs are waiting to move in and stay for all eternity.

Some landlords imagine they enjoy an ancient entitlement of ‘Freedom To Roam’ (Into Your Home) The right to wander in at will or the cult of ‘It’s My House I Can Do What I Want’ sustains itself by repetition. Landlords feel that not wandering in at will is a rejection of their ownership, and a negation of their rights as owners, landlords and indeed human beings (I’ve heard the phrase: ‘It’s my civil right’ being used.) It’s also kindness. Wandering in our home at will makes us feel loved and cared for.

That they can do what ever they want. I think it’s the lack of training, but new landlords persistently imagine that the ‘But it’s my house I own it’ defence exists, and will stand up in court. I’ve experienced landlords who have, inter alia: moved their delinquent daughter into a spare room, collected choice pieces of furniture as ‘it’s too good for us,’ raised rent and given notice to quit using telepathy. Because they imagine they can, when they seriously can’t.

The religion of course concerns raising money. Tenants pay a tithe, or tribute, which must cover all the owners expenses – ie everything. And I mean everything. Landlords are forbidden in religious law from paying. If they pay they will go to a burning Hell for all eternity. When I was told, in a furnished flat, that I should pay for and install in the bathroom both a cabinet and heating, this was obviously the reason why. Same reason explains not paying for repairs – they might actually go to actual hell. And if they pay the fees letting agents fees charge them for running whata is their business, they might literally burn for all of actual eternity, so tenants should pay. You’d do the same. Wouldn’t you?

I realise that landlords must be careful, but the emerging philosophy of new buy to let rentiers is that they want the money, the pension, the equity, but they want none of the work, and none of the expense. In truth, they would prefer not to house actual human tenants at all.

Meanwhile tenants have started a new cult: it’s called standing up for themselves. And landlords could save time, money and their own nerves if they listened, learned and followed best practice. It’s your property, but it’s not your home. Let it go.


Barney from Newington said...

Whilst some landlords may have irrational fears of squatters what is a rational fear for landlords is if you get a tenant that know how to play the system.

Landlord zone forum is full of landlords who are experiencing this problem and it is clear that in this situation the law is very much in favour of the tenant.

From the information on landlord zone the average rent lost is around six months whilst you go through the court process of removing the non paying tenant.

RenterGirl said...

That's not what I'm talking Barney. I'm talking about actual squatter's rights where people stay for years.

space cadet said...

The law follows correct process to evict a non-paying tenant. And any business has risks. If it's any consolation, tenants don't even know if a) if the landlord has declared the property as rented b) they have the correct mortgage on the place and c) if their payments are good. And we can find ourselves asked to leave, at a moment's notice! Unless we change the locks and hide behind the sofa to buy valuable time Do quit talking like this is a game and tenants have the upper hand. It simply isn't rue.

RenterGirl said...

And until errant, even criminal landlords lose their property as consequence of harrassment/disrepair/neglect, as bad tenants lose theirs, there will no equality. Tenants always lose. Eventually.

Dazzla said...

Does anyone know of any other sites like I'm not unhappy with it, I'd just like as broad a choice as possible.

I love SpareRoom. It's made my life so much better.

RG: Any chance of a discussion forum here? :)

ps: I'm not affiliated in any way with SpareRoom. I just think it's an idea that's been a long time coming.

RenterGirl said...

I don't know about discussion forum. I can't be around to moderate. An alternative to spare room are rentlord, who I like because they allow tenants aand landlords to evaluate each other, not just continuation of landlords subjecting tenants to horrible checks - they get checked too.

Dazzla said...

Thanks for that.

It's a shame that, having come so far into the social web, we haven't yet managed to crack the holy grail of moderation-free forums.

Barney from Newington said...


Aagh the old it's a business excuse.

That's the equivalent of me saying to you as a tenant that if you don't like renting then why don't you buy your own house. I do though accept your point regrading people who rent out their properties without the permission of the lendor and the risk that puts the tenant under.

The fact of the matter is that the non payment of rent is the number one problem for landlords just now and it isn't just being ignored - Shelter and council housing officers are actively encouraging tenants to force the landlord to evict them.

Also for fans of a landlord registration scheme the cost of running such a scheme in Scotland is a ridiculous 400k per rogue criminal

it is strange that the Scottish Govt expect landlords to pay fees to run their registration scheme but when letting agents run referencing schemes for tenants they make charging for this service illegal.

Dazzla said...


Would you like to provide a source other than the obviously biased article posted on a site provided for landlords to gripe about how unfair it all is?

"it is strange that the Scottish Govt expect landlords to pay fees to run their registration scheme but when letting agents run referencing schemes for tenants they make charging for this service illegal."

No it isn't. They are business costs that should be borne by the business owner.

Stop whining. Grow a pair. If you don't want to pay the costs, don't do the business. You have a choice. Tenants usually don't.

RenterGirl said...

Also: Barney you have placed your whinge in the context of something else: squatters rights. That's not the same as what you are griping about. But, landlords get to profit. Landlord's get to pay.

Barney from Newington said...


As requested:

Dazzla said...


"Scottish Association of Landlords policy and parliamentary affairs officer John Blackwood said the scheme did little inspire confidence in members or tenants."

Sorry, who was that?

"John Blackwood"

And what organisation was he representing?

"Scottish Association of Landlords"

Ah, I see. And was there any balance to the article, say, a comment from a tenants' association?

Your desperation to accept any old shit as long as it supports your point of view is beneath you.

Barney from Newington said...

The information gathered in the report was obtained from various freedom of information requests.

I would not expect a Tenant's association to comment on landlord registration as it has little to do with them. Landlord registration is an irrelevance for most tenants.

Perhaps you should accept that this report is proper information that has been obtained from official sources and not the one two miss a few, ninety nine one hundred type reports you get from Shelter.

Barney from Newington said...

Nearly £18 million has been spent on a landlord registration scheme which has seen just a tiny fraction of landlords struck off, figures obtained by the Conservative Party have revealed.

Around 100 landlords have had licences refused or revoked in the last five years, just 0.05% of the 200,000 applications since the scheme's inception.

Only 11 landlords have been reported to the procurator fiscal for serious breaches in the last two years.

Landlords have paid £11.2 million in fees, while the start-up Scottish Government grant for the scheme was £5.2 million.

Annual running fees for the website since 2006 are estimated to be just under £300,000.

The Conservatives said the figures demonstrate that the scheme has been a costly failure, but the Scottish Government said it was not designed to prosecute landlords but to provide reassurance for tenants.

Tory housing spokesman Alex Johnstone said: "This farcical programme, introduced with the best of intentions, is failing to deliver at a tremendous cost to the taxpayer.

"And responsible people with aspirations to get into the property business are being hit in the pocket because of this inadequate scheme.

"The private rented sector is playing an increasingly important role in delivering solutions to housing need in Scotland, and we need a robust an efficient mechanism to help achieve that.

"These figures suggest that, at the moment, the Private Landlord Registration Scheme is not it."

space cadet said...

It's about prevention of course, not cure. Those figures fill me, as a tenant, with encouragement. Licenses being refused or revoked, landlords being reported.

When retaliatory convictions are not commonplace, for daring to even question your landlord, let alone report them here in Scotland, you'll suddenly see those numbers go up. In the meantime, idiots like you Barney will continue to grab at your straws.

Glasgow City Council was happy to spend 15 million redeveloping George Square. Put your violin down Barney and learn a different tune.

space cadet said...

* Retaliatory EVICTION (not conviction)

RenterGirl said...

So ARLA, and other lanadlord groups are to be trusted? And Shelter, are so you say, dodgy? You realise people can see and read this, can't you Barney? Landlords can give notice, randonly on a whim, because they feel like it. Tenants? How many landlords have actually lost their home because of their: assaults, negelct etc. Barney, just because you wnat something to be true doesn't make it true: landlords have all the power. Fact.

HMO Landlady said...

There is also the fear of "Not Knowing"! Taking on a tenant into an HMO where their, possibly, anti-social behaviour impacts on other tenants fills me with dread every time we sign the tenancy agreement.

I've just spent the morning with a homeless young lady trying to get her to understand the need to outweigh her criminal conviction and gang association with the need to provide references that she's a decent, law abiding tenant who won't invite her mates in for an all night party.

I have to give tenants a 6 month tenancy, but it isn't fair on the rest of my tenants to put them through 6 month's of potential hell.

Once they get the keys, it's every landlord's fear that they will make their fellow tenants and landlords lives unbearable. And who will carry the blame? The landlord, of course, for letting them in.

RenterGirl said...

Hello HMO landlady. I agree that when managing HMO's the risk is alaso on those sharing with the 'accused.' Not quite the same as demanding exhauastive, multiple guarantors etc to eliminate aany risk. Letting flats is a business, and the chance of making a loss in inherent in the plan.

space cadet said...

@HMO Landlady: Are you letting the other tenants meet any prospective new tenants, and have an informal chat over a cuppa? I really hope so.

HMO Landlady said...

@space cadet. A great idea in theory but it's very difficult to pin everyone down. I try to schedule viewings at a time when most of them will be home. I do listen if any of them raise an objection though. I've developed a pretty good gut feel and ask certain questions which gives me an insight into their personality, but it's only when they've moved in and settled down that their real persona is revealed! To be fair, as long as everyone can communicate effectively and without accusatory swearing, we can normally sort problems out.

space cadet said...

Yes, it always comes with huge risk, for the other tenants and landlord alike. How we all live is such a personal matter, after all. Be sure to let the prospective tenant ask you some blunt questions too. It's not because they want to be difficult, but really because they want to feel secure in their choice also. And it really has to work both ways.

RenterGirl said...

The enforced sharing space, including personal space, and bathrooms nd kitchens, is a grwoing problem and I get many search term hits. Post to follow soon (-ish.)
Gut feeling usually better than outstanding references which cn be code for 'Glad I'm rid of that sociopath.'

lso - am enjoying new bout of spammers who bad mouth my spelling/lay out/comment availability!