Pity the poor landlord; he seems to be under attack from both sides. On the one hand there is a government – even a Conservative one – that seems to have fallen out of love with the vital private rented sector; and on the other are the more traditional antagonists, the tenants themselves.
Buy to let under attack from crippling tax regime
In its edition of the 22nd of August 2015, the Telegraph newspaper carried a detailed report about the likely effects of changes made by the government on tax liabilities for buy to let landlords.
The story explains in some detail the effects of tax changes involving the removal of landlord’s previous ability to deduct the cost of interest on their buy to let mortgages when calculating their tax liability.
The removal of that relief is likely to hit smaller buy to let investors in particular – those who have large mortgages and a relatively low income from rents.
Indeed, for those landlords who mortgages cost more than 75% than the income they are receiving from rents, says the Telegraph, those businesses will see any profit completely removed in tax.
Landlord tenant wars
In many a classic scheme of things there is no love lost between a tenant and his landlord:
- the tenant is convinced the landlord is charging an inflated amount of rent for a poorly maintained property; whilst
- the landlord is constantly on tenterhooks in case the tenant defaults on the rent, damages the let property or simply does a moonlight flit.
It doesn’t have to be this way, of course, and like many a stereotype, the reality is generally quite different to the myth.
Even in a perfect world, the perfect landlord is unlikely to be the best of friends with the perfect tenant, but it is still possible for landlords to help themselves by forging an harmonious business relationship.
And it is indeed the very concept of a relationship that is key – a relationship that is based on mutual trust and respect.
For the landlord to build up that trust and respect, it is important that the tenant knows exactly what is going on in relation to the home he is renting. If it affects the tenant’s occupation of the accommodation in any way, there is nothing to be gained by keeping him or her in the dark. There is nothing to be gained by failing to update the tenant at regular intervals about anything relating to the tenancy.
Such a degree of frank openness might make it possible for a tenant to swallow even some of the more bitter pills. The top thorns in the flesh as far as tenants are concerned were listed in Building Construction and Design, published on the 17th of June 2015. Unsurprisingly, these included rent increases and a failure to attend quickly enough to repairs.
With a timely, honest, and transparent explanation by the landlord of the need for a rent increase or for any delay in attending to repairs, however, tenants’ fears and animosity might be lessened.