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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Starbucks or artisan landlord?

I hear a lot from commentators on the private rental sector who bemoan the variability of accommodation and management of property within it.

I agree, some landlords are rubbish.  There's no doubt about it.  Most landlords are reasonable at managing their property and alot are great and very professional.

Those journalists who highlight the variability/inconsistency within the sector and call for an influx of corporate institutions to take over just don't get it.  Do you think that all these new big institutions who are just interested in returns to their shareholders will all be excellent?  Do you think that by the time they have employed, subcontracted, outsourced the maintenance or management of their buy-to-let empires; that response times for repairs will be any quicker? A small landlord with one or two properties can speak directly to the tenant and the plumber or electrician that day. to sort things out.  With all those middle men, do they think that this will come at no cost to the tenants?

I suspect that this promised land of perfect rentals will be as variable and inconsistent as the existing system dominated by us small buy-to-let landlords.

Despite the clamour for corporate mediocrity, the reality is that a diverse private rental sector where most tenants deal with owner managers in my view will in general deliver more value, service and satisfaction than their disinterested corporate cousins.

So here the numb?  Do these journalists buy their coffee at Starbucks or do they risk buying it from an artisan coffee house?

I know what I'd do every time.

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