We live in a world of unintended consequences.
Private landlords are clearly deserting their space, as evidenced by mortgage figures from UK Finance showing advances to landlords down 75% on 2007 and falling, to the extent that a recent Times headline read “Days of amateur landlords drawing to an end”.
Bear in mind that many invested in property after normal investment returns dried up following a disastrous economic shock, partially caused and mishandled by duff politicians.
The result is that a huge group of people, well over 2m, have been left blowing in wind.
The daft thing is it was a similar bunch of clowns, albeit from a different party, who later worried that the possible end of the low rates that had caused the original issue, would bring about another apocalypse when landlords all headed for the exit.
So they blithely decided to tax and strangle this overwhelmingly well-meaning group who have quietly been supplying the fastest growing living sector in the UK.
Like the tax saga on diesel cars, politicians really don’t care about or consult on the fall-out.
For many an agent a rental portfolio is their backbone.
Yet despite the vast majority doing a good job, individual landlords are now being forced to drop their agents in the search for yield, post Section 24.
Meanwhile the much heralded, but so far absent, replacement Build To Rent sector will use huge national companies to manage their portfolios, not local independents.
It’s a sad fact that the estate agency world is divided and finds it difficult to react to well-intentioned but badly executed legislation, like the tenant fee ban and the ever-tightening noose of legislation.
Either way it’s a no brainer that your average hard-working agent will lose out, and it’s my bet tenants will too.
It’s a vast sector serving over 5m tenants, and the consequences of government interference, especially given the backdrop of a continuing new housing drought, is likely to be significant and take a long time to unravel.
I very much doubt that politicians, who usually have a maximum five-year view, have given much detailed thought to the future of this sector, let alone that of agents who will suffer as a result.