In stunning life-swap television last night, BBC1 showed how well-off private landlords reacted when they moved into their tenants’ homes for a week.
If you missed it, do play catch-up as the programme said a lot about the housing crisis, and the haves and have-nots, and about the role of housing as opposed to that of providing homes.
Super-wealthy father and son landlords Peter and Mark were appalled to move into their tenant’s home, riddled with damp and mould, with taps and the cooker not working, and with heating bills that their tenant – who had just £54 a week to live on after essential bills were paid – was struggling to afford.
The tenant, in her mid-sixties, was still having to work full-time and, when she moved out to let them live in her terrible living conditions for a week, left them a pitiful note asking them not to turn on the heating in her bedroom as she could not pay the bill.
Those particular landlords have a £7m property portfolio, and the programme showed them consulting a local agent, Hunters.
To their great credit, they totally renovated her flat and offered to help if she has problems paying her heating in future – and said they were still making a profit.
In the second case study, the wealthy landlord moved into a room in an HMO, where there were tatty conditions, including an off-putting kitchen plus rats in the garden, and the tenants did not know each other.
The very well-heeled landlord, Paul Preston, said his business model was all about turning properties into multi-living properties where he could get more money. But after a week in a miserable bedsit, told his tenant that he realised that his properties had to be more about homes and human engagement.
Above all, the programme showed that landlords cannot shove people into properties – or inherit the tenants – and then forget about them.
Or if they can, they shouldn’t.
- The Week the Landlord Moved in: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08ws37c/the-week-the-landlords-moved-in-series-1-episode-1