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Margaret Thatcher Loved Landlords

The queen is dead! Yes off course I’m referring to Margaret Thatcher.

Now she never said it, but I suspect that Margaret Thatcher loved landlords. Why do I say this? Well, it was no coincidence that both significant pieces of legislation that saved; YES saved the private rental sector from obliteration were enacted during her leadership.

Landlords on their knees

In the late 1970s, when she came to power, the proportion of households living in the private rental sector had dropped below 10% and was at the lowest figure in living memory. It was on its knees, following decades of the Labour Party trying to kill it off and replace it with huge soulless monolithic council estates.

Housing Act 1980

The Housing Act 1980 & its successor in 1988 introduced the Assured Shorthold Tenancy which meant that tenants & their families no longer had full security of tenure and opportunities to regulated rents. Both of these Labour Party initiatives, whilst popular with tenant voters, had condemned landlords letting out their residential property to uneconomic returns on their rental properties. Can you believe that as recently as 25 years ago, a landlord could not charge a market rent for a rental property and neither could they sell a property with a value destroying, ‘sitting tenant’. It’s no wonder that the rental sector spiralled down into poorer and poorer quality housing, where landlords underinvested and were then accused of ‘Rachmanesque’ practices of selling squalor. This was the reality of the pre-Thatcher rental sector across the whole of the country.

Supply Side Economics

The core aspect of Thatcherism was supply side economics. She believed that what a successful economy needed, was a healthy market of lots of suppliers and plenty of competition. Only then would consumers benefit from a fully functioning market and proper consumer choice (go to South East Asian countries like Malaysia & Singapore to find out how this feels). This model is the epitome of the private rental sector and private landlords everywhere.

Private landlords should REMEMBER

The private rental sector now comprises of 16.5% of all households, or nearly 3.8 million homes in England (DCLG figs April 2013).

Predictions from the likes of Savills are that by 2016, 5.9 million, or 1 in 5 households will be renting privately.

Landlords who are now experiencing a buy-to-let boom or have made their fortunes over the last 25 years should remember, that this wouldn’t have happened without the beliefs and actions of a conviction politician, such as Margaret Thatcher.

My personal debt to Margaret Thatcher

Without the revolution in the private rental sector I wouldn’t have had the opportunities to build up a property portfolio that gave me the personal and financial freedom to go off and set up Property Hawk for a start. So whether you loved, or hated her; private residential landlords do have a debt to someone who really did set them free.

Agree or disagree – please post your comments below

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