Residential Lettings Sector needs a Nanny

Apparently the lettings sector is in urgent need of support, so much so that The Nationwide Building Society is amassing a support group to sustain the struggling private rental sector.

The Nationwide Partnership Board is backed by the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), Countrywide, the National Landlords Association, the charitable Nationwide Foundation and even the charity Shelter, which is known to heavily criticise letting agents and landlords.

The cynical part of me can’t help but question this sudden nepotism on the part of these groups suggesting that the health and development of the private rented sector requires such care and attention. The reality is that as long as landlords and agents don’t cream the skin off the back of tenants and maintain the properties to a decent standard there shouldn’t be any problems.

Having said that the real problem is more likely to be associated with the financial impact of multiple tax and regulatory changes faced by landlords, which could lead to increased rents, reduced maintenance spending and landlords being forced to sell properties to make ends meet. Boo Hoo.

The YouGov survey of 1,000 landlords – commissioned by The Mortgage Works, Nationwide’s buy to let arm – found that many landlords have shielded their tenants from the financial impact of the changes, with almost 29 per cent having never increased their rent.

However, the survey shows that 44 per cent are now considering increasing rents while 10 per cent say they will reduce the amount they spend on property maintenance.

Some 14 per cent intend to start managing the property themselves, rather than using an agent and 22 per cent are even considering selling their rental property. Nationwide says this is evidence that changes intended to level the playing field between owner-occupiers and landlords risk reducing choice and value in the private rented sector, affecting those who live in Britain’s 5.3m privately rented homes.

“There are more ways than one to skin a cat” the old saying goes and plenty of landlords have been doing this since renting out their investments began. If it wasn’t for certain rules and regulations in recent years we would see a Dickensian private rental sector. Landlords and Tenants have equal rights and both parties owe a duty of care to each other and the property.

The Government has not made it easy for landlords. Whilst one can understand the government making more money out of multiple property landlords who have 10 or more, perhaps there should have been a sliding scale for others who own 2 or 3 rather than a blanket one remedy suits all.

And in other news, have you ever questioned by it seems to be hard to swat a fly? This  question was posed to BBC World Service CrowdScience team addressing the apparent super powers of tiny animals. The answer is that, compared with you and me, flies essentially see the world in slow motion. The reason for this is that the speed of time differs depending on one’s species and the speed at which those images are processed by the brain is called the “flicker fusion rate”. In general, the smaller the species, the faster its critical flicker fusion rate – and flies, in particular, are like “super species”. We will let you have a look at the BBC article that discussed in more detail the species it’s super powers and the “killer fly” at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-41284065.