What do Landlords actually do?

By Jonny Griffiths

What do landlords actually do?


Thanks for reading.

Ok-ok-ok-ok I’ll explain why I think that, and if you disagree with me why not have a read!

Hello and welcome to CommieRant™. I’m sure you don’t need me to explain what a landlord is to you but for the sake of this article having some sense of flow I’m going to do it briefly anyway.

Landlords own houses and rent them out to people. Landlords are also responsible for maintenance and work performed on the property. Easy, landlords provide housing to people! Right? That’s a good thing!

Wrong! You sweet summer child.

Landlords do not provide housing. Landlords own housing. They did not build it, the housing would still exist and someone would still choose to live there even if the landlord didn’t own it. 

“But renting is much cheaper than buying a house outright! People can’t afford houses!”

You are right, renting is much more affordable for most people. However, it is making the problem worse, not better. When landlords purchase empty properties and restrict the available housing there is to buy, the price of other houses goes up, making them even less affordable. 

In addition to this, gentrification is a common practice in which landlords and property developers will buy up large amounts of low cost property and refurbish it, increasing the price of the properties and appealing to the tastes of wealthier tenants. By inflating rent and property price in these areas, it can displace any poorer communities that already exist there. 

Gentrification is often dressed up as “improving the area to make the lives of the people who live there better” but in reality, it is a top down process performed by landlords because they think it will attract more profit and not because they think it is better for that community.

I also think that the commodification of homes in a society that has a substantial number of people with nowhere to live is immoral. The UK has around 280,000 homeless people and around 684,000 empty homes.

“It’s voluntary! Tenants know what they are getting into! If they don’t like it then they shouldn’t have made that choice.”

Also, not true. Shelter is one of the basic needs in order for a human being to survive, so when someone is looking for a place to rent there is the metaphorical gun of homelessness being held to their head. You either accept the contract of that landlord or find another very similar one OR you can CHOOSE not to have a house and live out on the streets with the threat of dying from exposure. It’s your choice! This isn’t a form of coercion, it is entirely within the tenants’ rights to not have a place to live so they can choose to die on the streets if they want to.

“Landlords pay to fix the house! They do all the repairs! That’s work.”

Well in two very literal senses they don’t, I’m sure there are some handyman D.I.Y landlords out there, but for the most part the landlord will just pay a contractor to come and do the work. Secondly the landlord is not paying for the repairs. The tenant must be paying for the repairs, in order for the landlord to continue making profit. 

Therefore, the sum total of repair costs will be less than the total money paid in rent in order for there to be profit. If the tenant just owned the property those repairs would still get done because the tenant would pay. In this exchange, the landlord is taking a large chunk of your wage and then spending a portion of it on your home, if they feel like it. 

“Ok but what do we do about it?”

I think that private renting of property should be abolished. All property currently owned for the purpose of extracting profit from it rather than owned because, y’know, the owner lives there, should be taken. Exceptions could be made where the owning of that property provides a service like a hotel or BnB (in a more regulated fashion) but otherwise the property could come into the ownership of the state for a social housing programme. 

In this programme “rent” is paid as a form of tax which would be dramatically cheaper, and people who cannot afford the house are simply given it until they can afford to do so. In some circumstances this tax could even double as installments on just owning the house for yourself. This "state ownership" approach provides everyone a baseline from which to build their lives and is similar to policies like UBI which helps everyone have an equal access to opportunity. 

Alternatively, the houses could be put into the hands of a local elected committee that distributes the houses based on need to the people in that community. This housing committee would likely work on a term basis to avoid abuses of power and provide the same benefit of equal access to opportunity mentioned before... but the argument of if we should have a state or not is *slightly" beyond the scope of my gin and anger fueled rant. I think either of these options is a dramatic improvement on someone just owning where you live.

"Not all landlords are evil!!"

No you're right, quite a lot of landlords are just regular people. I should probably mention I don't hate landlords as people, it is the action they partake in that I have an issue with. In many situations this action might be justified with "I need the extra income to pay my pension" and I wouldn't want to deny someone the money they need to survive when they are no longer able/required to work. 

However, this justification for landlording exists only as a result of the metaphorical gun capitalism is holding to everyone's head and while removing landlording as a practice would be nice, a whole system change would be better.

Thank you for coming to my CommieRant™ you lovely wonderful, beautiful human being. I hope you are keeping well! And remember...

Sod landlords.






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