Caring nature of landlords highlighted by survey

by Gary Whittaker

There are those who would claim that landlords are only interested in making money and don't actually care about their tenants, but a new survey has suggested that idea is wildly inaccurate.

A poll by Simple Landlords Insurance has found abundant data to show this is so, and it gives some clear signals of how landlords who want to build good relationships with their tenants can do so.

Universally helpful '

For example, there is the issue of having tenants who might be on universal credit or have problems requiring special help. The survey found 43 per cent of landlords would be willing to support vulnerable tenants, such as those receiving housing allowance, if they failed to report damage to their property. Only 27 per cent would serve an eviction notice in such circumstances. 

Indeed, fears that landlords might be unwilling to take on tenants on universal credit were also dispelled, with only 16 per cent saying this would alter their investment strategies.

Head of operations at Simple Landlords Insurance Alex Huntley said: "It's refreshing to how many landlords actively want to support tenants when they get into difficulties, and how many want to help plug the social housing gap so many local authorities face."

"We hear a lot about rogue landlords, but this research presents a rather more humanitarian view. Landlords are people. The problem is, that they are not charities. They are people who are running businesses and they can’t run at a loss."

Ms Huntley added that there are concerns that landlords could come under more pressure because of issues with the introduction of universal credit.  

Indeed, this issue is one that will concern many landlords. There are some who might want only to cherry pick the 'best' tenants, such as well-paid professionals in stable jobs who should have few problems making payments. That, however, would automatically reduce the potential pool of tenants.

The gift that keeps giving

Nonetheless, finding the right balance between making a living from being a landlord and maintaining good relations is an important one. The survey found many landlords go the extra mile to do this, with as many as one in four buying presents for tenants. Of course, much of this may simply manifest itself in the wider social benefits of friendships that could endure beyond the duration of a tenancy, but it also provides reassurance to tenants at a time of much negative publicity about landlords.

Reflecting on this, Ms Huntley said it is now time to "ditch the image of the heartless landlord", not least as having positive relationships with tenants makes good business sense. 

Safety first

The survey came out just before the memorial service for the victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster, a major factor in the negative view some have of landlords. Once again, however, the reality is far removed from the notion of complacent or uncaring landlords who willingly take risks with tenant safety to protect their bottom line.

Instead, the study found that since Grenfell, 40 per cent have checked fire alarms, while a quarter have installed carbon monoxide alarms checking out the safety of construction materials and undertaking fire assessments. 

Of course, as Ms Huntley noted, there are "bad apples" in this basket like any other, but it is precisely because landlords need to be seen to care and take additional steps to look after their tenants in the current climate that those who do so can benefit from taking the extra mile. 

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15-December-17Property Management