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Housing

Landlords want to rebrand as ‘small housing providers’ because they feel ‘vilified’

Landlords say they are unfairly portrayed as “financial bogeymen” but campaign group Generation Rent scoffed at the idea they should instead be referred to as “housing providers”.

Landlords want to rebrand themselves as ‘small housing providers’ in the face of negative press, a new survey has found.

The term landlord carries “much more baggage than it once did”, and over half surveyed by Mortgages for Business want to drop it.

And three quarters said they were unfairly painted as “financial bogeymen”.

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Dan Wilson Craw, deputy director of Generation Rent, said the idea of landlords as housing providers was ludicrous.

He told The Big Issue: “For people relying on Universal Credit and struggling to find anyone who will rent them a home, the idea of landlords as housing providers will come as a joke.”

Gavin Richardson, managing director of Mortgages for Business told Landlord Today the findings showed how much landlords had been unfairly treated.

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Richardson said: “Sections of the media have vilified the buy-to-let community. The government has hammered them – think Theresa May’s three per cent Stamp Duty surcharge and other tax deterrents.”

He continued: “What would happen if we took landlords out of the housing equation? The impact on the property market would be significant and almost entirely negative.

“It’s not as if the government is pouring money into social housing – or making any progress on house building.”

Over half – 59 per cent – of survey respondents said the term ‘landlord’ was outdated, and just 36 per cent said they wanted to keep the term.

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‘Small housing provider’ was the preferred term of 43 per cent, while ‘Rental Accommodation Provider’ was chosen by seven per cent.

Richardson added that buy-to-let investments were a prudent way to invest for retirement, pointing out that millions are facing poverty in retirement as a result of not saving enough.

He said: “It is regularly drummed into us that we need to invest for a comfortable retirement. And yet, when people start building a nest-egg – investing in property to try to ensure they have an income for their retirement – they are reviled.” 

Tenants amassed £360 million in rent arrears during the pandemic – with The Big Issue’s Stop Mass Homelessness campaign revealing that the failure to fix this could cost the government £2 billion.

And in November it was revealed that 25,000 tenants had been handed section 21 ‘no-fault’ eviction notices by landlords since Theresa May vowed to scrap them.

Wilson Craw added that landlords are not essential to the provision of housing.

He said: “Landlords like to think of themselves as ‘housing providers’ but their involvement in providing homes is incidental. If landlords weren’t in the picture, their properties would still exist, many of which previously accommodated people as owner occupiers or council tenants, without a private landlord’s involvement.

“Ultimately, if we want our economy to provide more housing, we shouldn’t be encouraging more people to become landlords and buy up existing houses: we have to get more new homes built.”

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