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Victoria Whitlock

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About Victoria Whitlock

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    Renting (or ranting), letting (of blood, if necessary) in London
  1. Thank you. I think. Maybe I'll rename the column "The Impressively Annoying Landlord' - though Guy_M may claim copyright as he coined this excellent turn of phrase in the first place.
  2. And it would require you to come out with more than dull one-liners. This is boring.
  3. Not so, I rent one property by the room but almost all of my tenants are foreign workers, in London for only a few months, mainly Eastern Europeans but some southern Africans, Aussies and western Europeans too. None of them would have bought a property in the UK. I had one tenant who already owned a property in London but she was relocated from north to south so found it more convenient to rent instead. The tenants who rent my house (as opposed to the flat just mentioned) rent out of choice - believe me, they could easily afford to buy it if the wanted to, but they don't want to be tied down. Many people don't and so you see, there is a need for good quality rental accommodation. What am I doing wrong? Are BTLers hated just because people need to hate someone? If they brought by JR Ewing would I be off the hook?
  4. Ah, but I have already been schooled a great deal by the market. I've been here before you see. I lived through the price crash in the '80s, not as one of your hated BTLers but as a homeowner and I learned 3 lessons back then. 1/what goes up may well come crashing back down; 2/the market is a volatile beast that is likely to snatch everything away from you; and 3/ when that happens, you don't blame everyone around you, the government, the bankers, the butcher the baker and rant on internet forums abut the world in general- you work your way out of it. Been there, done it 'dear', so I've gone into this with my eyes wide open. And you know what? I don't lie awake at night obsessing about house prices and interest rates. I feel for those who've lost their homes but contrary to what you might think I don't worry about losing mine. I enjoy property from an aesthetic point of view and I'm proud that I created a beautiful home from a near wreck and that several tenants have enjoyed living there; I am comfortable with my status as a landlord because I look after my tenants and the places they live; if I have to sell them one day because I can't afford them, so be it. When your friends get jobs they enjoy do you make equally vicious remarks, do you warn them they'll be made redundant when the economy falls through the fall, or do you just silently cross your fingers that they'll end up like you?
  5. Well how jolly decent of you! You have completely reversed my opinion of late-night ranters. I agree with you that the ES footnote doesn't adequately sum up who I am - perhaps I need to work harder at conveying the reality of my situation - less 'smug mum with too much money' and more 'manic mother who keeps messing up'!
  6. Tut, tut, why are you people so nasty? It's been a blast, but time now to cook dinner so I'll leave you to stew in your own juices.
  7. Sorry, didn't know we were having an argument. It''s surely all about supply and demand - that's why prices are higher than London where there are too many people and too few homes than they are in eerrrrm Huddersfield. And would my tenants pay more if they bought one of my properties? No, because they're worth about 10p right now.
  8. I didn't say rents are lower than they were 20 years ago. I said that I am charging the same now as I was paying back then. My point is that there is more competition in the rental sector, which I believe has improved standards. Surely you are not blaming BTL investors for the number of homeless people in the UK? Where is your evidence? I think we should look to the government's and local authorities' housing policies rather than lashing out at one very small sector of the market.
  9. Ah, I see the title really bothers you. The explanation is a little long, but since you ask here goes. Accident no 1: A friend wanted to buy the flat she had been renting for years which was in a near-derelict building that was being sold. The owner wouldn't sell the flat on its own and as she couldn't afford the whole block she and her children were facing eviction. I clubbed together with friends to buy the remainder of the building with the intention of doing up the other 2 flats to sell on. We spent so long and so much doing them up we could only sell them at a loss so rent them out instead. Accident no 2: my partner and I planned to move to Europe during the midst of the recession and tried to sell our house, but it wouldn't shift so we let it. As the pound weakened and both I and my partner were paid in sterling we couldn't afford to live in the eurozone for long so we returned to the UK but couldn't afford the mortgage on our house so...... Accident no 3: ......we continue to let our house while we rent a small flat. The third property I let for a friend. Are you still reading? Blimey, go and have a cup of tea or something. To answer your questions, no I don't think BTL investors (yes, I am now a tiny fish in this pond) have caused house price inflation. We live in a small country with limited housing stock and yet we have a home ownership culture. A shortage of supply versus rising demand = high prices. If you want to blame someone for that don't have a go at landlords, blame the Thatcherites who started the right to buy ball rolling. House price inflation existed long before the BTL mortgage and there are millions of home owners who have benefited from it. What the rise in BTL investors has done has improved standards of rental accommodation. Nope, I'm not pretending to be a charity here but competition is never a bad thing. I rent out rooms at the same price as I was paying 20 years ago for a grotty room that hadn't been cleaned for decades. Yes, of course I'm pleased rents are rising because like lots of other landlords I know I'll be making a loss again as soon as interest rates do go back up. As far as I recall I have not expressed any pleasure at house price rises. You might think I'm moaning about my tenants but actually what I'm trying to show is that renting properties isn't money for old rope; being a landlord is a tough job - you've got responsibilities to your tenants and if something goes wrong if you are a responsible landlord (yes I am, since you ask) you have to put it right pronto, even if it's midnight. I might not sit around drinking tea with my tenants but I make sure my properties are well maintained and I charge a fair rent. I'm running a small business and like any other business I would like to make a profit and I make no apologies for that. I pay income tax and when I sell my properties I will pay capital gains tax. Assuming I make a profit, which is looking unlikely right now. Not asking for sympathy, just stating a fact. Bet you wish you'd never asked.
  10. PS Stop stalking 'Victoria Whitlock' on Facebook. I'm not on Facebook; am not a 'virus' either, so whoever dreamed that up should probably stick to IT or what other areas of 'expertise' they have.
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