An anonymous professional landlord has written a book claiming to lift the lid on the world of buy-to-let for the first time.

Parasite: The Secret Diary of a Landlord is a warts-and-all account of everyday life in the sector, drawing on two decades in the business.

The author, known only as The Secret Landlord, admits to being a large-scale portfolio landlord with properties nationwide, and explains it was prompted by her recent experiences.

She tells LandlordZONE: “While you get used to the hostile environment, this era of Government intervention and public hatred ushered in by Covid-19 feels new.

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“There have been moments where I’ve wondered is this the right time to share the truth the other side of the door, but now more than ever, I think it’s important for people to hear the landlord’s side of the story.

“I think other landlords, potential landlords, tenants, potential tenants, in fact anybody who’s interested in other people’s lives will enjoy reading it.”

The book claims to reveal what it’s really like to be a landlord and the shocking reality of renting out a property. 

The Secret Landlord reckons the real life of a professional landlord is very different to the public perception; dealing with burglaries and break-ins, drug raids, police warrants, crazy tenant antics, bailiffs, squatters, lawsuits, wrecked properties, interfering council officers and game-playing freeholders.

She adds: “It’s not just misbehaving and non-paying tenants you’re up against, you’ve also got errant tradesmen, local councils and ever-changing Government regulations to contend with. There are some good times, but nowadays they’re few and far between.”

Parasite: The Secret Diary of a Landlord is published on 15th October by Alethea and is available to pre-order on Amazon.


  1. Her experiences are shared by most LL in the game.
    Just most of us keep on buggering on despite scum tenants.
    It goes with the territory and if you aren’t financially resilient to such setbacks then DON’T be a LL.
    It isn’t for the fainthearted.
    Given my time again NO WAY WOULD I EVER HAVE BECOME AN AST LL.

    But hey we all make mistakes!

  2. sold all properties in this social welfare state council estate briton.. bought all abroad. much happy. no problems. no capital gains tax abroad after 5 years . tax exile.

  3. Been doing this nearly 20 years, and get truly fed up reading articles by various newspapers, or websites promising untold riches and never working again by simply buying property.

    Seriously these guys need to bugger off, their making out its so easy being a landlord, no mention of a quarter of what the job actually entails. Too busy counting the fee they just charged you to listen to the salesman bullsh*t.

    I recently met someone who said ‘being a landlord is easy, its just money in and money out’, errr yeah, that is the principle for the majority of businesses on the planet, and unfortunately leaves out the key variable, Human behaviour.

    Come back in 10 years and tell me, its easy renting out property, its just money in and money out.

    Not to mention the media portrayal of landlords is an absolute disgrace, the government keep out of it, because whilst people are shouting at us, their not seeing who are the real problem, like the banks, insurance companies and the government themselves.

  4. Money in, money out. After being a landlord for nearly 20 years and after deducting tax, deducting damage and repairs, deducting unpaid rents, paying court and solicitors costs, etc, etc, etc. etc. the money out is more than the money in, but I did have the luxury of knowing that the capital gains would make it worthwhile. Oh well!

  5. The essential problem now is that BOTH major parties have decided there is political capital to be made out of small landlord bashing. Labour hates us because it’s in their DNA, but now the ‘Conservatives’ attack us because they want to look all lovely and caring to tenants and first-time buyers. Both these groups are of course mainly comprised of YOUNG people. On the other hand, most landlords are old and therefore won’t be voters for so long…

  6. I do not need to read the book as I could possibly add to it. I have been a landlord 50+ years, and I have never liked the word LANDLORD. should be like more carer, lawyer, listener, gardener, builder, social worker, psychiatrist, I wont go on i have just had a call out. Do not take it all too seriously or you will not enjoy the wonderfull work you do

  7. I rarely get involved with residential property but amongst my commercial property clients are some with residential portfolios. Generally, depending upon whereabouts, the long-term capital and rental growth has outpaced commercial but the growth has been accompanied by a rise in legislation and political ideology.

    The legislation is nothing new but somehow. To quote from Woodfall, “Since 1915 Parliament has sought to regulate the contractual relationship of landlord and tenant in the field of residential lettings by a series of statutes which have long been known collectively as the Rent Acts. The purpose of Acts has always been to mitigate the hardship caused to tenants by a shortage of housing. The twin tracks by which Acts have sought to achieve that purpose have been the limitation of rents payable for dwellinghouses and the provision of a substantial measure of security of tenure for tenants of such premises.”

    I have written on LZ about the advent of BTL mortgages. And the curious, in my view, modern habit of buying vacant property to let it, as distinct from the historic practice of buying tenanted residential, getting the tenant out and selling with vp. Of course, letting on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy means that, in theory, if not in practice, the tenant does not enjoy the same security as would have a regulated tenancy or before that a controlled tenancy.

    A consequence of lenders capitalising on demand by providing mortgages for BTL complied with the growth in capital value from rising prices is that scores of first-time investors have jumped onto the bandwagon and in the process have all but ruined it for the longer-established professionals.

    Were it not for a dislike of paying tax I should think that many longer-established investors would love to be rid of their residential holdings – if only they could think of something else to do with the money!

  8. No matter how long you’ve been a landlord and/or agent, we all know the stories. Not just the bad and the ugly but the good too.
    From my understanding, this book is not about teaching us what we already know or suggesting anyone of us have it better or worse, but it’s meant to be as entertaining as much as it is a political poke at the tenant sided organisations and government. I will be buying it and reading it to be entertained by a book as much as I am with any biography on a subject I can relate to or am interested in.
    I expect to be titilated as much as I am saddened and shocked (if not shocked).
    We all could have written this book but could we? We may have the stories but are we storytellers. Are we storytellers good enough to keep an audience turning the pages?

  9. I have just completed my annual rental reports for the local council – cost of inspection and certificates (4) plus personal time – another example of overkill by the government. Most LL are good LL and take care of these safety issues as they arise; the few poor LL don’t and yet for the most part are still not discovered for all this extra compliance work. Of course, it would help if the authorities actually carried out real inspections to ensure compliance, rather than creating time-wasting and useless paper trails in lieu.

    On BTLs, without capital gains, there is very little real profit in renting. (HMOs and Serviced Accommodation are the exception.) If immigration is reduced, there is a real possibility that the ageing population of the country will cause Capital Gains to dry up for the foreseeable future. Tying this in with further government restriction (eg capped rents, unreasonable security of tenants tenure, and the unpredictability of tenants themselves) may result in less investment in the BTL sector and a reduction in available rental properties. The government may have no choice but to re-enter the housing market in a significant manner as a buyer/builder of rental properties.
    Interesting times ahead for the property investor indeed!


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