The Tories have ruined my life as a landlord – but Labour has me scared witless

Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party
Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party

Trust me, I want change. I want an end to the chaos in this country and I’m sure many of you feel the same.

But as a landlord I’m scared witless. Labour have spouted so much anti-landlord, nay, anti-private rented sector stuff in the last few months I don’t know which way to turn.

The last 14 years of Tory rule have almost destroyed my buy-to-let business. The private rented sector is now on its knees thanks to their feckless interference.

But what happens next?

The Labour manifesto pledges the party will abolish Section 21 “no fault” evictions immediately should it get into power. Does that mean when a tenant is “at fault” (such as if they haven’t paid the rent) I can still recover my property?

But what about if I need to sell? The tenant may not be at fault, but what happens then? Are they going to overhaul the court system where year-long waits are now the norm? Will they get extra judges in to sort the current backlog in the same vein they’re promising to get new teachers?

Labour claims they will “legislate where the Conservatives have failed, overhauling the regulation of the private rented sector”. But what does this mean in the real world? How many more regulations and rules are landlords going to have to abide by on top of the 170-plus we’re already trying to muddle through?

Labour says they will “prevent private renters being exploited and discriminated against, empower them to challenge unreasonable rent increases and take steps to decisively raise standards, including extending ‘Awaab’s Law’ to the private sector.”

But what does any of that mean to private landlords who are already penalised for having the audacity of renting out a home. In what world does Starmer live where I can find a contractor to go and wipe mould off a wall within a few hours?

What protections do landlords get from tenants who blatantly refuse to ventilate a property or turn on the heating – despite it causing condensation mould and posing health risks to themselves?

Labour claims they will build 1.5 million homes over the next parliament and prioritise social rented homes, but in the meantime – and while they look for the manpower to build this out and the money to fund it – it will be the private rented sector that will continue to pick up the slack.

But who is going to stay, and why?

With manifesto pledges to improve the energy efficiency of homes by 2030, despite expert’s assertions that EPCs are not fit for purpose, what will be the metric? Who is funding the bill? Am I, as the landlord, once more expected to find that illusory money tree at the bottom of the garden?

What freaks me out the most is the lack of detail about the current housing situation, or rather what we all know as ‘The Housing Crisis’.

Starmer says: “The housing crisis is well known to be one of the country’s biggest barriers to growth”, but at no stage in reading the manifesto did I feel encouraged to invest. In fact, when I read the words “we will make housing more affordable” I felt the hairs on the back of my neck shoot up.

He doesn’t say how – does that mean I will be forced to sell to my tenants? Or will they just simply take away any rights I had to the property in the first place?

Or maybe they’ll just tax me out of existence.

Given tax has become one of the cornerstones of this political in-fight, it’s bile-inducing to see the loudness and clarity with which Labour has declared they won’t be increasing income tax, National Insurance or VAT.

The omission of the other taxes is blatant. The silence is soul-destroying. What, then, will happen to capital gains tax? Inheritance tax? Stamp duty?

Starmer’s plan is to put wealth creation as a top priority, but is that so they can create a new wealth tax? I mean, he goes on enough about looking after “working people”, but once you’ve worked (and paid your tax on your wages) and then invested, you’re getting “unearned” income from an asset.

That doesn’t necessarily make you wealthy, but I’d suggest it makes you a tasty target for a new kind of tax.

I won’t deny my head is spinning. It’s the silence that gets me, and the knowledge Labour will have a giant funding black hole to fill.

They’ll be looking for an easy target, and as a landlord, I’ve got used to that being me.


The Secret Landlord is a monthly column by an anonymous buy-to-let investor. Email: secretlandlord@telegraph.co.uk