Today we hear yet another announcement from the Labour Party about the Private Rental Sector. According to reports this morning, under new plans being unveiled by Labour, renters could be given the right to keep pets as Jeremy Corbyn seeks to become the party of animal welfare (he’s certainly not seeking to become the party of the Landlord!) – Read More
“Labour will today promise to do more to stop people who do not own their home from having to give up their pets when they move, amid fears animal shelters are seeing an increase in abandoned cats and dogs”.
Are these politicians completely out of touch ? If there was ever a statement which proves that they do not understand the sector they are meddling in, this has to be the one! Forget previous none thinking missives; such things as Rent Control and the outlawing of “No Fault Evictions (Section 21)” (they can say not fault, but Landlords know differently), to name but two. This one finally proves they don’t have a clue about the PRS and the life of a Landlord, but they probably don’t care!
Do these politicians really think that Landlords who do not allow pets do so because they are not animal lovers themselves? Landlords who have this policy, (and it’s not all Landlords) do so because they probably had a bad, and expensive experience, not because they are animal haters!
This might come as a bit of a surprise to our elites, but Dogs chew doors, skirting boards, architraves etc, not to mention that they leave pretty bad dog odours and other things! Cats scratch, they do the same to doors, and to woodwork and they particularly like wall paper, and not surprising they also leave odours and other things!. Indeed I spoke to a Landlord only this week who was in utter shock when she found that her tenant had a reptile house in their home which resulted in the complete destruction from high levels of condensation of the bedroom it was housed – caused by the high levels of humidity these reptiles need to survive!, and the tenants?, well they left without a trace!
I deal with Landlords everyday who are having issues with tenants not paying their rent, yet they can afford dogs and cats and all the associated costs! where are their priorities? Then there’s the small question about animal management; many tenants simply cannot look after themselves, let alone their animals, these tenants live chaotic lives, so Landords are actually doing them a favour by not allowing pets. Whilst we understand that the Devil will be in the Detail, from this and their previous announcements, in my view, the Labour Party simply do not understand this sector.
Would this policy be an across the board policy? Houses in the countryside are far more amenable to housing dogs than small terrace houses in the inner cities are. How would this new law deal with high rise flats? Often leaseholders conditions do not allow animals, would they then be breaking the law? And for good reasons, many Local Authorities do not allow animals too, how will that go down with the party faithful or will they be exempt?
If this policy is implemented, how would Landlords deal with it? We know (because of impending legislation) that Landlords could not increase the amount of the Tenancy Deposits to accommodate what they know would be a cost to them at the end of the tenancy. Would they insist on a special Insurance policy for damage and what would that insurance policy cost and who would pay? Given that charging fees to tenants will be outlawed, would the landlord be expected to pay?. The simple facts are (and every Landlord will know this) that tenants will not take responsibility for the damage their animals do. Tenants are never going to call their Landlord to tell them that the dog has just chewed through the door and to ask them how much a replacement door would be are they? If the Labour Party think they are, that not only proves their naivety, it confirms their lack of understanding of this sector.
What I say to the Labour Party is stop meddling in something you clearly do not understand, you are doing this for ideological reasons and certainly not for practical reasons. I can see exactly where this is heading and it is my view that something more sinister is afoot! You can see in time where Landords will not be able to decide on who takes their tenancy and lives in their property, that will be decided by the Government, where will this stop?
Politicians of all parties need to stop for a moment and think about the sector they are constantly attacking and what the consequences of those attacks might be. This sector is essential to the economy, in more ways than one. There are 1.75 million landlords renting out in the region of 14 million homes in the UK and no amount of house building or political promises will be able to replace this scale of renting or get even anywhere near to it, so meddle at your peril!
What the politicians need to quickly realise is that Landords are free (at least at the moment!) to decide whether or not they want to remain in this sector. When you take away their right to decide what is best for their property and their business (properties they actually own- although you wouldn’t thinks so!) it’s likely that they are going to start to exit the sector, or at the very least, they’re not going to re-invest, especially if they think that the world and their dog are against them!