The public advocate puts out an annual list of the 100 worst landlords:
There's also various sites that attempt to connect property ownership data with other city databases, such as inspection violations:
The market is a total Wild West now. During the last 5 years, I have rented many different properties in the Oxbridge area. All brand new houses (I really was the first person living there), from well-known estate agents and with high rental prices.
In all cases except one, I have ended up really dissatisfied. Most properties never attempted to renew my contract after 6/12 months, or asked for an unreasonable rental increase in order to actually kick me out. I suspect this was done to put the property back into the market and generate more fees for the agent. Often, the property would be vacant for a month or two after I left, which makes even less sense.
Twice, my deposit has not been returned and no explanation has been provided. Naturally, I took both cases to the Ombudsman and won. But it is a huge waste of time.
Twice, I had massive floods due to piping issues but received no compensation despite their promises and legal obligation to do so.
I have rented many other properties abroad, including US & Scandinavia. And never had an issue. Here, it is crazy bad. And as a tenant you can't do much, because you need references in order to rent the next flat.
Martin & Co by any chance? They tried this, but they must have forgotten that the property was an annex next to the landlady's main house, and we spoke every day. The estate agent served me an eviction notice, so I just signed a new rolling contract with the landlady directly.
Other evidence of their genius comes from the fact I specifically told them I was wanting to rent a place for my new job in the area, and them then writing to my old employer in Manchester to confirm my future income.
The only decent landlord I have had was a rich guy in Cambridge who marketed his properties (he also built them) through Savills (crazy fees though) and managed them himself, without an agent.
So I agree with you. Having middle-men tends to make things even worse.
On the other hand, I rent in London and do not even know the name of our landlord. He/she operates through various limited companies and an agent. I can infer it through Companies House but that option wouldn't have been available before we put down our holding deposit.
These are just things they ask for though - there's no special legal power they have to ask for them - you could also ask for the same things from your prospective landlord if you wanted to, and you'd have the same information.
They'd probably decline to provide them and refuse to rent to you, in the same way as you can decline to provide them and refuse to rent from them.
The consequences of declining are very different for both parties. The landlord moves on to literally any other prospect because everyone else will provide that information. The tenant can move on to only slumlords, who will not insist on a credit/criminal background/reference check. Or they can be homeless.
Right this is the power asymmetry we already mentioned.
If there were a glut of apartments compared to renters, the desperateness would be reversed.
Well... yeah exactly. You realistically don't have the option to ask for a reference about them and you can't simply refuse to rent from them because you need shelter and 99% of people won't went to you if you don't play ball.
Changes in favour of tenants are being proposed because in reality there is a problematic power dynamic. You can discuss whatever fanciful hypothetical you like to insist it is somehow not the case "legally" but reality tells a story that you can't ignore.
The market is very hot in places like London. This makes tenants 'unhappy'. In turn this makes the government propose ill-thought measures for political gains.
These measures tend to decrease supply (since they all hit on landlords) when they should increase supply with a disproportionate focus on "rogue landlords".
That's with a Tory government. Labour's current view is the hard-left and thus private landlords are to be hit as a matter of ideology...
It was common 20 years ago for people in their mid-forties to use the massive equity in their home to buy multiple properties for the rental market. House prices at the time were growing so they not only had someone else basically buy their house over 25 years they also profited greatly from the inflation in house prices. With the increase in prices they could increase the rent so the whole thing is a triple-whammy.
This didn't happen as much in other countries because other countries reduced the tax benefits for this scenario.
That's again trying to limit supply because that's obviously reducing profitability.
We need to increase supply, or decrease demand, or both. Nothing is done on this.
That idea is so bad that not even the governments of the world, money grubbers though they are, have signed up for it. It would create a world where no capital was for sale; any path from going from low-mid to mid-high income (apart from entrepreneurship) would be closed off and a whole bunch of new 'unrealted' problems would turn up because purchasing power would be diverted away from people who care about the future to people who consume in the present.
Capital gains is a wealth creation engine whereby people voluntarily choose not consume in order to create things that other people want. There is a pretty decent philosophical case for not taxing capital gains full stop. There is probably a great reason why in practice it would not work, but as a principle it is like corporate tax - disincentivizing and de-emphasizing people who would otherwise give their resources to others.
If you want to wage class warfare, consider inheritance or land taxes. My personal preference would be to go one step more subtle and wind back the bail-outs and money printing. Capital Gains taxes are not the lever we need, the risk of collateral damage to the investment ecosystem is too high and by the time the damage is obvious enough to unwind a change we'll be 10 years in and facing a dearth of long term planning.
This was in a city of about 250,000 people so not a small town, but not a large metro like London or New York either.
> Leaving aside the fact that rental markets already have a highly asymmetric power dynamic
> They'd probably decline to provide them and refuse to rent to you, in the same way as you can decline to provide them and refuse to rent from them.
This sounds like the definition of an asymmetric power difference to me. Sure, I can refuse to provide financial checks or a guarantor, but that only hurts me. Asking for that information from my landlord also only hurts me as a landlord is likely to avoid me (and tell the other landlords he knows) and go with someone more compliant.
You could ask, but there's zero chance they'd give them to you in this market.
Problem is with the laws generally favoring tenants here, there are litigious bad apples and no one wants a tenant who can game the system and get 6-12 months of free lodging because they know how. After 30 days, you have squatter rights which means the court system needs to evict you if you're naughty, and that can take a long time. On the flip side, if you as a tenant ended up in housing court and won (i.e. it wasn't your fault), you were in that database.
> "Renters have to provide references from employers and previous landlords before a landlord hands over the keys to a new flat. So it is only fair that renters get the opportunity to check that a prospective landlord doesn't have a criminal record," said Dan Wilson Craw, director of Generation Rent, which campaigns on behalf of tenants.
Basically: landlords already have this, in redundancy even. They aren't the aggrieved party here.
Working through all the above steps manually is of course impractical for most renters. There may be a startup opportunity here -- a "badpads.com".
1. Small Companies: These guys will have limited or no reviews online simply because of their size.
2. Large Companies: A bad review is moot depending on where in the company you work. I've had a fantastic experience with my current employer but that has less to do with the company and more to do with the team/manager. Someone could work at the same company nad have a horrible experience on a different team or working for a different department.
They've already tried but this is a Tory government so they cannot completely destroy the private rented sector.
But be sure that if Corbyn/Labour get in power soon this will be implemented no matter the economics against it.
Not that this contradicts anything you’ve just said.
There is a massive amount of people in that generation who are wealthy simply because of that policy combined with large rise in house prices. This selection of people + regular homeowners no matter the party line, will always vote against any policy that a) has the possibility to curb increasing house prices or b) fairly taxing those profits.
We don't have anything like property taxes in the UK, and the closest thing we do have is council tax which (laughably) is the tenants responsibility. It's a situation that no party has a realistic chance of being able to solve. Even if there were MPs brave enough, it's a difficult problem to navigate because there's millions of people with 0 savings (retirement or otherwise) but now own 500,000gbp+ houses.
If you tax that appreciation in value or your policies reduce these prices to sustainable levels then you suddenly have to now provide social security for millions of people who now will need a lot of extra assistance via state pension.
Specifically "On-Topic: Anything that good hackers would find interesting. That includes more than hacking and startups. If you had to reduce it to a sentence, the answer might be: anything that gratifies one's intellectual curiosity." and "Please don't complain that a submission is inappropriate. If a story is spam or off-topic, flag it."
In general, if a story is in the front page it means that hackers found it interesting, so it can hardly be off-topic. But if you still think it's inappropriate for this forum, flag it rather than commenting.
I can speculate that this story is found interesting because many people in tech live in areas like San Francisco where rent prices are a hot topic. Therefore stories about how these kinds of places deal with the problem are relevant.