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Government has made landlords ‘public enemy number one’, says Tory councillor

A Camden councillor who was prosecuted last year by the council he works for in north west London after failing to carry out improvement works to a rented property he owns in Primrose Hill has slammed the government for demonising landlords and effectively making them  ‘public enemy number one’.

Bucknell, who used to be Camden Conservatives’ spokesman for housing, and has been a councillor for Belsize Ward in Labour-run Camden since 2010, was fined £30,000 after admitting he failed to carry out timely improvements to the property he lets out.

The councillor and buy-to-let landlord was ordered to make improvements to his Primrose Hill flat in August 2014 but failed to comply with the improvement notice within the required period of time.


Bucknell (pictured below), who represented himself in court, said he initially intended to plead not guilty, but changed his mind at the last minute. 

But he surprised delegates at a Conservative party conference meeting in Manchester last week when he accepted that he is “not an angel”, adding that he is “a rogue landlord” as he called on the government to slow down the number of landlords who find themselves in court.

According to the Camden New Journal, he said that he was pressured into pleading guilty amid warnings that legal costs would mount up.

Government has made landlords ‘public enemy number one’, says Tory councillor

“I told them you do get people who don’t care but you sweep up the haphazard with the really guilty,” he told Conservative members. “Camden should never ever prosecute unless all attempts at reconciliation have failed.”

He added: “The guy [from the council] walked in and said: ‘Not much work been done here.’ I said: ‘I’ve started stripping the flat out with my own hands.’ As long as a job is moving and there is goodwill, they should take a pragmatic view."

"My closing line is you’ve made landlords public enemy number one. It used to be solicitors and bankers, now we are at the top.”

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    • 13 October 2017 09:42 AM

    For some bizarre reason landlords are now public enemy no. 1 it used to be dangerous dogs, banks managers, estate agents and now its landlords. That the Tory government have promulgated an astonishing tax attack through section 24 against what is a perfectly acceptable and incredibly useful business is simply incredible. How can a Tory government attack business? And how can one rule be applied to one sector of business and not be applied to all business? According to the basic tenents of modern accounting, all business expenses incurred through running the business are tax deductible.
    But due to section 24 this fundamental logic has been obliterated. It is unfathomable and unfair in the extreme.

  • icon

    More like a cash cow!

    The other problem is that all politicians see 9 million renters and mistakenly think that by punishing landlords they will get the rental vote

    • 13 October 2017 09:48 AM

    why can't people allowed to be tenants? What is the issue here? Our tenants are treated with great the greatest respect and care. All problems are dealt with immediately and with great diligence.

    G romit

    True but the Tories want the donations to their coffers that the big corporate BTR companies promise, along with the non-exec Directorships on fat salaries when they get booted out of office.

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    Is it even legal for the government to tax landlords differently to other businesses? Pity Cherie Blair's attempt to take them to court failed.

    • 13 October 2017 14:18 PM

    A business expense is one which is wholly and exclusively incurred as a consequence of running the business. Interest costs on borrowed money used to finance the business e.g. buy to let, completely match that criteria . So how can it be disallowed? The cost of finance to run a business is probably the most fundamental basic example of a business expense which is wholly and exclusively incurred. Where is the logic in this? If I were a judge I would have to except the all the above. I could not have multiple properties without lending. And in actual fact the entire business model for buy to let is totally predicated on a substantial degree of financial leveraging . So again I humbly ask how can it be logical to disallow the cost of mortgage interest in the profit and loss calculations?

  • Formula OneFan

    National Media is the worst, and a joke how they portray us

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    • 13 October 2017 14:23 PM

    That is so true every day now we seem to see some shock horror story about how a landlord didn't do something or how a tenant has suffered somehow.
    I am not suggesting for a moment that there are not the occasional rogue landlords out there but the vast overwhelming majority are professional people. I still cannot work out how the government can imagine I have tens upon tens of thousands of pounds of income tax available to give to them in the next few years when my profits after the deduction of the interest costs are virtually zero. Is their grasp of the most basic of arithmetic and mathematics so stunningly feeble they cannot even see that?
    The fallacy of all of this is as plain as the nose on your face .

  • icon

    A good government do not divide people, do not create hate.
    Most landlords are lawful and good landlords, we work hard to save enough to invest on buy to let,
    we were not born with it. When we were younger, we did not have our own place to live. I don't remember we have made any complaint. The government has a tendency to please certain group of people without principles, for popularity? for vote? Very soon, you will have no investors, no tax revenue, because the government is attacking the only business that is working well in UK. Councils should take care of illegal HMOs and poor living conditions, this is the area to be focused on to help the tenants. Government should reduce tax on low income and MPs should learn how the real estate market works. Last two years, bombardment on landlords has destroyed the market for everyone - tenants, agents, landlords, contractors, and tax revenue. The less people have money, the more problem we will have. In the end, UK will be in trouble. I do not understand why students do not need to pay council tax as an example, especially foreign students? There are lots of places government can rectify its policy to find revenue. Why government do not force to raise the salary? wages? so people can afford the rent and buy properties. Create opportunities is the key for UK. Councils have no system to collect council tax, tenants jump from one property to another without paying utility bill. Did the government count all those bills to landlords to pay? Council tax has increased year on year and now we are talking to a machine when we call, it is always a 30 min call. Where is the service? When we pay more than £1500 in average per year. Lots of things are not doing right in UK!


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