Nottingham landlord Mick Roberts has offered to pay his tenants’ deposit so they can buy their homes after becoming disillusioned with the sector.

Mick blames government policies, licensing schemes and a tortuous Universal Credit system – with the latest EPC regulations being the final straw – for his decision after 24 years as a landlord housing mainly benefit claimants. 

Some have been his tenants for decades but so far none have taken him up on his offer as he believes they’re used to renting and fearful of making the leap. But if they can’t afford to buy their house, he’s suggested that someone they know who’ll allow them to stay on could buy it instead.

In a heart-felt letter, he tells them: “I’m also happy to wait for you up to 10 years. I’ll pay your 5% deposit if you can buy it. Please work with me and let’s find a landlord that is younger and not weary of all the latest rules.

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“I’d get a lot more selling it empty, but I’m mindful that it’s been your home for years, so I’m prepared to lose £20,000 to sell to a discount landlord to keep you in your home.

Squeak clean

Mick – who operates one of the largest private property portfolios in the city – knows that he’s not alone in feeling exasperated by the current climate and says that other landlords are also selling up.

He adds that if the government makes it progressively harder for landlords to evict tenants, it will mean that they’ll simply decide not to take benefits claimants in future – or indeed anyone who’s not, “absolutely squeaky clean”.

He tells LandlordZONE: “Years ago I would give people a chance as you knew you could get them out within a month if they didn’t pay. I’m not taking benefit claimants anymore.”

36 COMMENTS

  1. Mick Roberts has been an absolute LL hero.

    However he owes NOTHING to his existing tenants.
    He has provided an excellent service to them despite everything that has been thrown at him.

    As it seems for a wide variety of reasons he wishes to get out of the current market he is in.

    To therefore MAXIMISE his profits which as a private housing provider in the game to make as much profit as he can he needs vacant possession to achieve best price.

    If that means removing existing tenants……………………..TOUGH!!!

    Those tenants have always known that Mick might choose to sell up.

    Mick owes NO loyalty to his tenants.

    He shouldn’t offer them ANYTHING apart from the letting property at FULL market value.

    He has done more than enough in providing letting accommodation to those who many LL would not have let to.

    In particular the Nottingham market has degraded substantially with stupid actions by the Council.

    You couldn’t even pay me to enter the Nottingham PRS!!

    Mick has done his time.

    He deserves to be able to sell up for maximum profit and stuff the tenants.

    That is what he should do.

    By doing so he would be doing nothing wrong.

    It is after all the ultimate termination of being a LL.

    LL aren’t in the business of supplying rental properties to suit tenants for as long as they want.

    The business is to suit LL.
    LL assets are to be done with as the LL decides.

    If it means tenants becoming homeless that is just TOUGH!!!

    No Private Housing Provider should be expected or be forced to maintain accommodation for existing tenants.

    • more landlords should be like mick, treating tenants decently.
      less landlords should be like paul, who seems like a sociopathic a-hole that has no problem treating decent people badly. milk em for as long as it suits you, then stuff them right paul?

      • That’s unfair Bob. Paul is entitled to take that view and he’s not wrong. Most landlords want to treat tenants fairly, in line with what they agree to in a contract both parties sign, but aren’t charities and shouldn’t be expected to give away their assets to please the liberal lefties who think landlords should act like charities.

      • Capitalism is all about maximising asset value until you no longer wish to.

        Then the capitalist in this case a PHP liquidates the assets at maximum value.

        In your weird world do you believe that in this case PHP should be forced by regulation to continue to make the assets available even when they wish to sell up.

        To consider such normal behaviour as sociopathic just proves what a weirdo you are.

        Just as an aside whilst Mick’s heart is in the right place; though NOT required unfortunately any lender would regard his deposit assistance as a gifted deposit and a lender would reduce the amount lent.

        So it wouldn’t assist at all.

        PHP must always retain the ability to dispose of his properties at maximum value.

        This is usually achieved by vacant possession.

        You in your weird little world consider this behaviour as sociopathic!!!

        Just unbelievable!!!

    • Contrary to Paul’s comments, for me it’s not all about the money. I’m friends with ex-tenants, job coach kids of tenants, even act as executor to one older tenants.
      If it was all about the money it would be a lot less fulfilling, I still make money.

      • Tim there is nothing wrong with your business model.

        It is one you CHOOSE to adopt.

        It is NOT one I choose to adopt.

        Neither of us are wrong or right.

        I have no interest in my clients beyond that of providing a service that they would wish to pay for.

        That being said I do engage personally and am always willing to try and assist them during their occupation.

        I don’t charge for any of that.

        I regard it as part of my personal service which no corporate would ever proffer.

        But I like Mick have reached the end of my tether and consequently hope to be out of the game ASAP.

        I am not interested at all what will happen to the occupants.
        It ISN’T my responsibility to maintain accommodation once I have determined NOT to be a PHP.

        Of course good references etc for them to assist sourcing new accommodation and even assisting moving them.

        Tenants must ALWAYS appreciate that at some future point the property they rent may be withdrawn from the market.

    • He’s not obliged to offer them a discount or the chance to buy, no. If he chooses to then that is his choice to make.

      I would obviously oppose any efforts to make this compulsory, as would any owner of an asset. But if he chooses to do it then that is his decision alone.

      I don’t see your objection?

      • Yes I too would oppose efforts to make this compulsory.
        I’m only doing this cause have bought years ago when houses were 14k 16k, most pre 2008 houses were below 50k.
        I’ve had rent in 20 years + the growth, so giving small deposit ain’t gonna’ hurt me, but make big difference to them, keeps them in their home, & arguably the biggest thing, reduces 1 house 1 workload, 1 less thing for the Council to make me do in form filling & training courses set up by a 20 year old that’s never rented a house out in he or she’s life.

  2. It’s a wonderful gesture, but, unfortunately, I can’t see any lenders accepting a third party deposit.

    Perhaps LandlordZone could contact a few lenders and ask them if they would accept the deposit being paid by a third party?

    The simple answer would be to sell the properties with tenants in situ to another landlord and exit that way. The tenant gets to keep their home and Mick gets an easier life. 🙂

    • I did put a couple in touch with Mortgage Broker & there is some that will accept my deposit.

      I am having to up my conversations with tenants to tell them Landlords buying ’em to keep ’em in, but my tenants keep saying No Mick, you’re not selling we don’t trust anyone else.

  3. Yes I’ve gone past the profit game now Paul.
    Unfortunately for me or some, I do have this loyalty to them that’s been with me years & done nothing wrong. I got to respect that it is their home. And they don’t trust anyone else.

    That’s the thing, when my tenants moved in years ago, I told ’em can be there forever. We never envisaged the Councils & Govt would be as stupid as they are being.

    Don’t get me wrong, those tenants that have been bas__rds in the past, I have sold on ’em. But I currently have no bast__rds.

    U certainly got it right about Nottingham Council.

  4. Mick Roberts… totally decent chap…

    Totally dispels the myths about greedy landlords, the vast majority of whom are just normal folk with a couple of properties saving for retirement.

    There will be a deafening silence from Gen rent, Shelter, Labour etc Those people are the tenant’s enemy rather than their friend.
    Rents will inevitably rise as they are already doing so.

    No one seems to get it…
    As an investor I can put my money anywhere I like, be that stocks and shares, gold, bitcoin… whatever. I don’t HAVE to provide decent accommodation for anyone, I can simply walk away.
    Clearly investors will be drawn to low risk sectors with low regulation or less hassle.
    It takes a few mins to buy shares, then just sit back and do nothing and get a dividend every year why bother with dodgy tenants, angry dogs, cannabis farms, junkies, hookers etc when a gold bar just sits on the shelf looking good and never answers back.

    Landlords pay additional stamp duty at purchase, vat on all products required, income tax, national insurance, council tax on voids, cost of EPC’s, gas and electrical certificates and capital gains when selling. Govt are regulating and taxing the sector to the point of destruction.

    As investors leave the PRS Boris needs to start requisitioning hotels to house the increase in homeless.

    • Please define at what point YOU consider a LL becomes GREEDY!?

      Would you for example consider that a LL charging what the current prevailing market rents would be would be greedy!?

      Would you consider a LL charging £1 above that market rent to be greedy!?
      Or £2!?

      When twits like you trot out the greedy LL mantra you never have the intellect to describe what you mean.

      There are in fact NO greedy LL.

      LL just charge market rents.

      Markets are as they are for a whole variety of reasons.

      LL only react to market forces they don’t and can’t make them.

      It is in the gift of the purchaser of accommodation assets to always refuse to pay what is being asked.

      It is the market which constrains offers to treat.

      No LL was ever able to FORCE a tenant to sign a TA.

    • Yes, Gen Rent, Shelter, Labour etc. U only have to look since 2015 since they been shouting more, the homeless is shocking. We ain’t taking chances on anyone any more cause of the supposedly Tenant backers.

      I too have investments similar to the houses in value. As u say no phone calls, no Council threatening to send me prison cause tenant took the battery out the smoke alarm, & arguably more return.

      I posted this elsewhere:

      To a degree, let us do as we wish (law permitting), let us evict naughty non paying tenants very quick, then there will plenty of Mick’s & Monty that will say:

      What, I can get rid of her in a month if she don’t pay?
      Ok yes, I’ll take a chance on her, I’ll house all them people that can’t get a house, I’ll buy some more houses.
      Then tenants will have more choice & if Mick & Monty don’t up his game & charge too high rent, tenant will say Screw u, I’m going up road to the Monty’s house which is better condition & cheaper.
      Then Mick & Monty have no tenants till they improve their houses. As then there will be more competition.
      But as it is in Nottingham with all the Universal Credit daftness & Selective Licensing (Labour supported), Benefit tenants can’t virtually move any more. No Landlord will take the risk with them.

      These Stricter regulation has got rid of the competition that was thinking Why am I being punished when I’ve done nothing wrong?

      I am now not only worried for my tenants any more, I’m really concerned for myself. I can’t have all these houses round my neck when I’m 70 with all the new Anti-Landlord rules coming in & going to prison falling foul of a new rule. I want to sell a lot of them now, but the tenants just aren’t going anywhere. The rules has made it impossible for them to move. I’m still earning as all my current tenants are good, but I want time, I want to slow down.

  5. So there we have it. Even a successful, smart decent individual landlord can take no more crap from this virtue-signalling ‘government’! This is what the modern Tories want. They want to appear all touchy-feely, saying they ‘want to help young couples get on the property ladder’, thus reaching out for the young vote. This is because the majority of landlords won’t be voting for as long as the majority of tenants, if you see what I mean…or am I being too cynical?

    But there’s a bonus too. They get to help their City friends, because insurance companies, banks and major house builders have for a long time been casting a greedy eye over the private rented sector. As we all know, they have teams of lawyers to deal with the myriad of landlord legislation nonsense – witness the ever increasing build-to-rent sector.

    • Good on you Mick – being a decent human being trying to help out tenants even on your way out – respect !

      Sadly – everthing going wrong for LLs in the PRS seems to be engineered to encourage more LLs to exit the PRS with more regulations still on the way. Thus making it really difficult to keep on top of it all – unless you are corporate with teams of staff who are able to navigate the regulations – some of which will no doubt be exempted for large corporates (there are always 2 sets of rules – one for the peasants who call themselves LLs and different set of rules of preference for the larger corporations).

      The desired outcome seems to be precisely what Mick is doing – more landlords leave the sector paving the way for higher rents for future corporates and great news worthy healines to place the blame again at LLs such as Mick for selling up and betraying their tenants – perfectly engineered….

      • Yes I could get much higher rents on eviction, refurb to Post Letting Agent standard, then sit back. But some of us are human.
        If Govt wants to get rid of us, some of us would like that as I’m not the only who’s waiting for tenant to move before selling ie. We only keeping the house for the tenant, but keep pushing us & we may even lose that moral. And then we sell. But Govt hasn’t replaced us yet. And most certainly may never will for the Benefit tenant ie. Social Council housing.

    • Yes on your vote mention:

      Cause 9+ million tenants and 2 million Landlords, Govt gets votes off tenants for giving them what they want to hear whereas we know every policy Tory Govt bought in since 2015 has made it worse for tenants and MUCH more expensive. Along with Selective Licensing and Universal Credit.

  6. Perhaps Nottingham Council or Shelter should buy the portfolio to prevent homelessness and become the model landlord to set an example for their high standards.
    I have followed the comments of Paul for a while and largely agree with the issues he always highlights which have made it uneconomical as well as too stressful and risky to carry on as a PRS landlord. I have a BTL portfolio of 8 properties and am selling up this year and next year and already sold 2 last year.
    Inevitably landlords do get attached to their good and sometimes vulnerable tenants but there comes a time when you cannot carry on funding the system out of your own pocket which is where I am at now. I have never increased rents for tenants in situ, am a high rate tax payer and cannot deduct mortgage interest so I barely make any money if any. I will have to recoup my losses when I come to sell. However, like Mick Roberts its not the economics that is the final straw. Its the ever increasing liability for all manner of health and safety, licensing etc and which minor infractions or just plain vindictive tenants or councils with agendas can cause the ruin of good landlords. I just don’t want to be exposed to that sort of risk, as well as future legislation which will only further diminish landlords rights and increase obligations.

    • Surely you do not dispute that a £30,000 fine for a minor clerical error is a proportionate penalty? Surely you do not think that a five year jail sentence is a disproportionate penalty for overcharging a tenant a few pence (there is no de minimis under the Tenant Fees Act)?
      I attended a court hearing where a colleague was accused of not providing the cover page of the deposit protection information. The penalty plus costs had escalated to £50,000 before he entered court. Fortunately the judge could see through the scam and gave judgement in his favour. Landlords can do without the legislation which leads to such a situation.

      • Yes David, this 30k Civil Penalty for a paperwork misdemeanour is pathetic.
        I’ve told Council Come fine me for something cause first time u do on something I feel I han’t done, I’m selling the lot. I’m not in business to lose money when I don’t even want the houses anyway & only keeping ’em for the tenants.

    • That would seem to make sense wouldn’t it? However it seems that the govt & councils just want members of the public to do their job for them & house those that cannot afford to house themselves. I too am selling off properties due to up coming EPC regulations, the scrapping of Sec 21 etc. The properties will probably be bought by first or second time buyers rather than other landlords & so there will be fewer available to rent in future – probably causing rents to increase. I hope those cheering on all the new regulations & landlord bashing will be happy with their results – If only they’d take responsibility for the inevitable consequences of their actions. I feel sure they will just keep blaming landlords though. When will they learn?

    • Yep I totally agree with your sentiments regarding who to sell properties to.

      Govt needs to restore 2 million social homes that have bern sold off under the RTB scheme.

      I believe it would be perfectly acceptable to facilitate Councils to buy properties from LL wishing to sell up.

      Govt should fund this.

      There would be no shortage of LL wishing to sell to their local council.

      Perhaps a reduction in CGT to facilitate Councils being able to effectively buy ex-rental homes BMV.

      There is a Social housing crisis in the UK due to RTB and previous MASS UNCONTROLLED IMMIGRATION.

      LL are only too willing to sell up if it can be made tax effective.

      With the virulent anti-LL regulations now is the time to encourage LL to sell up to Councils to restore the lost 2 million Social Homes.

      Govt seeks to eradicate small private housing providers.

      Whilst illogical that is a political choice of this Govt though they rarely state this is their intentions.

      Their actions speak far more loudly as to this eradication.

      Homeownership is an aspiration that everyone should be facilitated to achieve.

      Where not possible a thoroughly regulated PRS should be available.

      Along with of course a decent Social Housing portfolio.

      • Be nice Paul if Govt did give Council funds to buy our houses, they’d straightaway be making a return as they wun’t be subject to the charges we incur.
        But on other hand, that could be seen to profiting Landlord. I’d give ’em discount.

    • Kristina,

      I’ve offered Nottingham LABOUR Council to buy my houses as 90% of my tenants would agree to that instantly, but they want ’em empty, it appears want me to evict first.

      Yes for me it’s not the money if I keep or sell, although will be better off is sell, it’s the totally unnecessary time.

      This is one example of the time the Council take:
      I had a woman’s boiler clock break. I had to locate new one, was gonna be about 15 mins.
      Licensing said I MUST do this variation form. It’s to tell Licensing my new houses that are now with a Letting Agent.
      They said I must do within 2 weeks of the change or a fine. Some were with a Letting Agent 12 months before, so no one’s life has suffered cause I han’t told Licensing this.
      I said I MUST get this boiler clock or woman has no heating or water.
      Licensing said Dun’t matter, form must be done or risk of fine.
      How is this helping the tenant? How are tenants lives getting any better cause we doing admin for the council?
      Tenants lives with good Landlords are getting worse cause of Licensing.

  7. Rents are already through the roof in urban areas outside of London due to scarcity of supply, particularly one or 2 bed properties. As I check the websites, there are just a handful of properties, each time at higher prices. It would be tempting to stay in the market in these high rent conditions and inevitably it will attract some new landlords. No doubt I and people like me leaving the PRS are causing the scarce supply. However govt, councils and the vilification of good landlords are actively encouraging me and people like me out and yes, you (govt) are succeeding. After all how dare we own more than one residential property with our hard earned greed. Sadly the real losers in all this are those decent working, sick or older people that need those decent one and 2 beds to rent at decent prices. They will not learn even if there are queues at council offices and streets are filled with homeless. Do you think Nottingham council will look back on 2018 comments and realise with hindsight that Mick Roberts is a loss to the PRS caused by the system they created? No they will probably raise licensing further and say good riddance. I don’t intent to be a landlord when the state starts appropriating PRS assets via CGT, wealth tax, licensing, fines or any other means.

    • Kristina, some segments of Nottingham Council ie. the homeless section know the damaging Licensing has done. And the Councillor Linda Woodings who oversees Homeless knows how bad it is, yet she also oversees Licensing & has done nothing so far to help the Homeless section. The Council workers don’t shout out for fear of their jobs, unlike us who speak our mind.

      She’s already increased Licensing fee, cause wasn’t getting enough money in. Der…. that’s gonna’ work isn’t it.

  8. I think the term landlord is where the issue starts. Whether you have one property or multiple properties you have the same label. A professional property company (a business) is miles apart from person who has purchased one or two properties towards their future wealth.

    If I trade in stocks and shares as a side hustle but my main career is a business consultant, I’m not called a trader……

    Secondly, if I don’t pay for the food in my trolley I can’t leave Tesco, Waitrose etc with my chosen wares. Why then is it ok for the government to squeeze the property sector and make the eviction process so onerous!

    Thirdly, I agree properties should be of a certain standard but the prohibitive licensing costs in some areas is crazy. It’s not surprising professional property business owners have had enough. The rouge property owners aka “landlords” this licensing is meant to target remain below the radar and more and more good property business owners decide enough is enough.

    Fifthly, a property business is a business just like most other business, it’s time the government realised this. It’s not hands free, time, sweat, knowledge and money are invested over time. Yet during Covid, there was little to no support for this sector even when unscrupulous tenants played the system. Another reason many professional property owners have decided enough is enough.

    The whole industry needs an overhaul.

    • In my Utopian world EVERYONE would be a homeowner.
      However I am a realist and know that the PRS fulfills a requirement.

      Of course the service offered by the PRS should I believe be thoroughly regulated.

      Tenants have the correct expectation that rental accommodation they pay for is compliant with all regulatory requirements.

      For that reason I would support a National LL Licensing system along with each rental property having a licence.

      But the Licence costs should be no more than £100 for a 5 year licence.

      Ensuring that such licensing systems were in place would ensure that the PRS was as legally compliant as possible.

      It would result in mass tenant homelessness of course as all the illegal tenancies would be stopped.

      But at least all the remaining rental properties would be legally compliant.

      But homeownership should certainly be encouraged to the disbenefit of LL.

      For a start I would restrict all BTL lending for newly purchased properties to be no more than 50% LTV.

      This wouldn’t be retrospective.

      So LL with existing properties could operate with future mortgages at whatever LTV a lender wishes.

      A well regulated PRS is something that tenants have the right to expect.

      Whether such regulation detects all the many hundreds of thousands of fraudulent tenancies and LL is beside the point.

      The price to pay for a well regulated PRS is mass homelessness.

      Govt and Councils will have to choose.
      They can’t have it both ways.

  9. Please define at what point YOU consider a LL becomes GREEDY!?

    Would you for example consider that a LL charging what the current prevailing market rents would be would be greedy!?

    Would you consider a LL charging £1 above that market rent to be greedy!?
    Or £2!?

    When twits like you trot out the greedy LL mantra you never have the intellect to describe what you mean.

    There are in fact NO greedy LL.

    LL just charge market rents.

    Markets are as they are for a whole variety of reasons.

    LL only react to market forces they don’t and can’t make them.

    It is in the gift of the purchaser of accommodation assets to always refuse to pay what is being asked.

    It is the market which constrains offers to treat.

    No LL was ever able to FORCE a tenant to sign a TA.

  10. I read what Paul Barrett had to say about this current topic with absolute horror. It was all truly disgraceful and is probably the prime reason why us landlords are hated.

  11. Govt & Councils should read all your comments, as u all about sum it up where the Govt & Councils & taking us & leaving tenants homeless.
    I’m turning a Negative into a Positive & telling meself I’m still earning, no one leaving, no voids & doing house up if I did want to keep it, tenants being much more respectable cause they’ve seen their mates being evicted cause of Licensing & when they hear their mates can’t get anywhere cause of Licensing & no one takes Benefit tenants any more, they really REALLY nice to me.

    Does anyone know how we get email notifications from Landlordzone, I don’t receive any?

  12. Mick, have you considered moving your entire portfolio over to a letting agent?
    We all know that houses that are managed by letting agents become run down as communication between Tenant and Landlord becomes occluded, and income is much less, but it would give you the break from the day to day management and battles with the DSS and Council.
    If someone doesn’t pay their rent, let the management company sort it. If a boiler stops working, let the management company sort it.
    Your tenants won’t like this, but it’s the council and the govt that are making it all too hard, and I am sure that they would prefer to be managed by a disinterested company rather than be asked to leave their homes.
    I am not a fan of management companies as I know some of the scams they get up to, but when I am too tired of managing my houses myself, this is what I will do. I will sell up, one house per year to minimise my CG Tax liability, but in the meantime let a management company do the hard work, knowing that the increases in equity will balance out the management costs.

  13. It’s been fascinating to hear these comments by experienced landlords actively exiting the PRS.

    I feel conflicted, as I support raising standards, not through local licensing schemes, but everywhere in England. I believe tenants should have some security of tenure at their home, but with certainty that they will be evicted in a timely, prescribed manner if they breach their tenancy agreement.

    Being a landlord is now a highly regulated and risky business. While the rewards currently match my risks I will continue as a LL and keep a watching brief on the future direction of the PRS.

    Best of luck to my fellow landlords.

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