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As far as Google is concerned, far more people express love for their landlords rather than hate. A Google search for "I love my landlord" will yield a search result of 46 million while typing "I hate my landlord" yields a mere 7.3 million result. Obviously there's nothing scientific about these statistics, but there seems to be a major disconnect between what landlords are and what landlords are perceived to be by the media.
It is true that there are certainly bad landlords, but whether this is true for the majority is doubtful. The same likely applies to both property managers and tenants, but why is it that landlords are so often referred to in popular culture with the same disdain as politicians and used car salesmen?
The truth about being a Landlord
So what are landlords actually like?
Generally speaking, landlords are often situated within the middle and upper-middle classes. They don't own hundreds of properties and a majority of them (around 80%) are in the "mum and dad landlord" category with one to three rentals, likely acquired over many years from working hard, saving, and being financially astute.
The best landlords want to provide the best accommodation and services for their tenants so they have less issues and have a consistent income stream. They are available if there is a maintenance problem that needs fixing such as a leaky tap or missing parts. The state of their property (their investment) is important to them as much as it is for the tenant.
In return, landlords want a reasonable rent (paid on time) that will cover their mortgages and operating expenses, and generate income. Surprisingly, very few landlords are actually living off their rental income profits. With multiple new laws being introduced which make profitability for real estate investments harder to achieve in reasonable timeframes, its becoming even more expensive be a landlord. Laws like ring-fencing tax losses means that a rental property owner cannot use losses from a rental property against tax paid on other income (a practice that is still an option for other investments or businesses). Many landlords still have full-time day jobs and have to hire property managers to look after their properties.
Real estate investing is the most mass marketed investment globally, historically beating investing in shares or government bonds. It provides a tangible benefit to everyone linked to the property. Landlords in the private rental sector (PRS) provide around 85% of the homes tenants live in. The PRS fills the gap for those people who have a job or don’t qualify for housing benefits, and for the many of us who don't want to own property!
The majority of landlords aren't trying to steal your future home. They are not trying to become the next billionaire property tycoon. They are regular people who are trying to invest their saving, your typical "mum and dad" landlords who understand and remember what it's like being first time home buyers or renters. People who you wouldn’t mind sitting next to on the bus, they'd probably offer you a pineapple lump if they had one.
So why all the bad press?!
The likely answer is that a small minority of troublemakers are giving the large majority of good landlords a bad name. Those who break the law, overcrowd houses, revenge evict, don’t maintain properties, and avoid paying taxes.
These landlords make for a quick and easy headline at the expense of everyone else.
Todays news headlines should be shining some light on the vast majority of great landlords and property investors instead of focusing entirely on the bad few. Let the 99% of landlords maintain there good reputation and not be grouped with the bad ones.
How about some headlines promoting better relationships between all of the parties involved in real estate?