In recent years the Government has hit landlords with extra Stamp Duty and the removal of several tax reliefs, but now it seems officials, at least at a local level, are starting to realise you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.
Vanessa Warwick, of landlord forum PropertyTribes, was shocked to see officials from Croydon Council at the Landlord and Investment Show, 44 miles down the road in Brighton.
It turns out that the council, which introduced landlord licensing in 2015, is facing a shortage of properties for their social tenants.
The officials told Warwick that they are promoting landlord incentive schemes such as rent guarantees to help social housing tenants currently needing accommodation, of which they currently have 736 on their books.
Warwick spoke to Denise Dje Komenan, Shannon Tavernier Gustave and Jojo Blankson from Croydon Council.
Dje Komenan explained that the team was at the event promoting incentives for landlords to rent both in Croydon and to rehouse tenants outside the borough.
She said: “Because of demand we have, we look at neighbouring boroughs and will take properties within the M25.”
Tavernier Gustave added: “There are not so many social housing properties. We are here to get landlords to help provide properties for tenants in need.
“There are 736 tenants waiting to be housed at the moment and every week more forms come in. We are asking landlords for help.”
Blankson was then asked by Warwick if recent Government clampdowns on buy-to-let had discouraged landlords and forced them to search beyond Croydon for people to help.
He said: “We are raising awareness in different areas. For us, coming to places like Brighton, we can go anywhere, we are not confined even to just the neighbouring boroughs. I found myself in Bedford the other day.”
A Croydon Council spokesman rejected suggestions that its licensing scheme had turned landlords away from the borough.
A statement provided to EYE said: “With major public and private sector regeneration, Croydon is a high demand property area. To attract more supply from landlords across the south-east, the council offers initiatives including guaranteed rents and long-term deals.
“We have over 28,000 flats and houses with a Croydon private property licence, and there is no evidence this scheme has caused a dip in supply. Properties outside Croydon don’t need a licence unless the local authority operates something similar.”
Warwick wrote on her website after the interview: “This is deeply ironic, bearing in mind that the Government is actively deterring landlords from investing in the sector by way of increased legislation, fines, Stamp Duty and, of course, Section 24.
“It would appear that the Government has no idea of the reality of what is going on at the coal face.
“If there are 736 tenants in emergency accommodation in just one borough, how many is that nationwide?
“Taxpayers are footing the bill for housing these tenants in emergency accommodation, when it is far less expensive to house them in private sector landlords’ properties.”
She said the video should be shared with MPs to show why private sector landlords need support.