New research from Simple Landlords Insurance has found out the despite a tough year for landlords - and tougher headlines - landlords actually DO care about their tenants.

“It’s time to rid ourselves on the image of the slimy or ‘slum’ landlord taking advantage of tenants,” says Simple’s Alex Huntley, Head of Operations. “There are certainly bad apples - but we’ve found most landlords WANT to support their tenants, and think that looking after them well actually makes good business sense.

“That doesn’t just apply to the ‘good’ tenants either - but even those facing difficulties.”

In fact, in Simple’s recent survey, more than four in ten UK landlords said they would support vulnerable tenants, including those receiving housing allowance, if they failed to report damage to a property. Just over a quarter would serve notice.

Meanwhile, only 16% of landlords said Universal Credit was going to change their investment strategy, indicating many would continue to rent to tenants in receipt of benefits.

Most landlords are also prepared to work with Universal Credit tenants who fall into arrears - with figures from the RLA indicating that nearly two thirds of landlords have successfully put in place Alternative Payment Plans when things have gone awry.

Coming just before Christmas - traditionally the season of goodwill - it’s a refreshing view of landlord/tenant relations, strained over 2017 by tighter regulations and lending rules, increased capital gains tax and Section 24, tenant deposit caps and of course the well-publicised issues with Universal Credit.

It’s the latter which particularly concerns Alex. She continues: “There is no doubt that Universal Credit is putting both tenants and landlords under pressure. 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.

“This research shows that landlords are people. The problem is, they are NOT charities. They are running businesses – and they can’t run at a loss.

“Legislation like Universal Credit is making it harder and harder to view tenants on benefits as a valid strategy – and despite these landlords’ good intentions, I worry where that’s going to leave some of the UKs most vulnerable tenants in 2018.”

Caring landlords - the evidence

  • The survey also revealed that despite feeling under attack by the government, more than 70% of landlords supported licensing by their local authority – effectively protecting tenants’ rights.
  • What’s more, following the Grenfell tragedy, landlords were also found to have stepped up their fire safety checks – with 40% checking fire alarms, and a quarter installing carbon monoxide alarms, checking construction materials or carrying out fire assessments.
  • One in four landlords will also buy their tenants a Christmas present – and see it as part of building a positive relationship.

Check out Simple’s Guide to Universal Credit here.