A Bit of Sympathy For the Devil


When it comes down to actual ethics, many landlords differ.  Those who employ a letting agent obviously have less trouble than those who take full responsibility of their own tenanted property.  But where do you draw the line?

Once a landlord has fulfilled their responsibilities to both tenant and property, there’s usually a calm space that represents the line between landlord and tenant and everything after that should run with ease.  In most cases this is the rule to the exception, but not always.  Unfortunately, landlords get given a bad image, which probably reaches back from a Dickensian era, where ruthless property owners laid waste to impoverished families, throwing starving mothers and ailing infants onto the freezing streets.

Obviously fairy tales as they are, the outdated and unfair image portrayed of landlords hasn’t really recovered.  On observation at various meetings and networking groups around the country, it becomes clear that the vast majority of the public and even public bodies seem to regard landlords as greedy property owners skimming a profit off the needy, underprivileged and vulnerable.

Ask any landlord of a single property or a large portfolio who has ever been victim to property damage and rent arrears, or a landlord that has extended every courtesy to his/her tenant, only to find the tenant absconded with a sizeable amount of unpaid rent, how much sympathy or support they receive.

As landlords struggle to meet repayments on BTL lending, unpaid rent or covering costs to damage can make or break a landlord.  One landlord recently notified the council that he had issued a notice 8 & 21 to an immigrant family.  Worried that the family had not responded and the possession hearing loomed, he felt within his conscience to seek help in re-housing them and to spare them an eviction warrant. As a result he was made to feel guilty and wrong for his actions.

If an employee of a company stole money or an employer failed to pay his staff or business bills, not an eyebrow would rise in any legal reprisal of such an action, but a landlord protecting his income and business receives little worth.

Madalena Penny