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Private landlords and letting agents need to stick together

The so-called housing charity, Shelter, targeted Ludlow Thompson a few months back, asking its supporters to block the letting agent’s telephone lines so that they could not go about their normal business.

Shelter accused the agent of ‘discrimination’ against those on benefits. At the time, many landlords felt Shelter's actions were deplorable and the new Landlord Alliance – which, since its inception, has attempted to combat Shelter’s many attacks on private landlords - wrote to Ludlow Thompson to offer support.

In addition, many landlords spoke up on various forums to defend the lettings agency against Shelter's ill-informed and wrong-headed attack.


Given this support from landlords, it has therefore been galling this week to see a director of Ludlow Thompson, Stephen Ludlow, referring to private landlords receiving £7bn in ‘tax relief’ on mortgage interest implying that landlords are doing really well and receiving this ‘gift’ of relief from the government.

Unfortunately, this plays right into the hands of Shelter and other anti-landlord organisations and individuals.

In fact, landlords do not receive ‘tax relief’ on finance interest; this is a misnomer which has facilitated the Treasury's attack on landlords and is completely false. As the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales, the Institute of Fiscal Studies and common sense confirm, it is unjust, absurd and unsustainable to tax a business without allowing it to offset the costs of creating that profit.

Finance interest is often the main cost of the business. Removing this does not remove a relief, it contravenes generally accepted accounting practice and effectively imposes a tax on non-existent profit.

As landlords, we were able to recognise that Shelter’s accusation that Ludlow Thompson and other agents and landlords ‘discriminate’ against those on benefits was weak and ill-conceived. It would have been nice to have this understanding reciprocated, especially as landlords are letting agents’ main ‘paying’ client group (even more so with the tenant fees ban coming in).

Given this, agents would do well to be more circumspect in the future and not misrepresent the government’s heinous tax treatment of private landlords.

Dr Rosalind Beck is a property writer and landlord based in South Wales. You can read her latest report by clicking here

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Poll: Do you agree that private landlords and letting agents 'need to stick together'?


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    Landlords and agents are in the same business - providing housing. Ludlow Thompson should know better than to use language as they have, no doubt intended to drum up more business for themselves. There's nothing wrong with looking for business but I have to agree that the way they've done it is playing to the likes of the anti-landlord brigade.

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    If I was a landlord this would put me off the agent.
    We have an onslaught of attacks on the sector in this climate.
    It's like death to the landlord, if landlords, agents and trades cannot look out for each other then expect the PRS to be totally destroyed

  • Andrew McCausland

    Well said, Dr Beck. Taxation of turnover rather than profit is incompatible with the government's aim of a thriving PRS that helps house the millions of families local councils and RSL's cannot.

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    • 01 February 2019 09:13 AM

    Yes it would seem Mr Ludlow has somewhat shot himself in the foot!!
    He clearly doesn't understand the industry he is in.
    Off to a rededucation camp I think!!
    Doesn't exactly show LA intelligence in a good light.
    I bet he hasn't a clue why LL are selling up................S24 what's that then?
    Surely won't affect my business..................Doh!!!
    Tenant Tax!? What me support a JR against S24!!!!!?
    If we have dummies like him commenting on the industry as supposedly informed opinion then the PRS along with his business is done for!!!
    Mind you he is not alone I have met and talked to many LA who are as thick as s###!!!
    Had one say to me Oh! Not to worry we do sales as well so we'll act for our LL selling up.
    When you have such LA stupidity on display I fear for the these LA and the many soon to be resultant homeless tenants.

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    This tax only kicks in with first bills hitting the Matt this year then the sxxt is gunna hit fan mark my words

  • G romit

    This is not the first time Stephen Ludlow has been called out for using this type of language. He did exactly the same a year ago and I called him out then and called him out again now.


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    The landlord alliance needs to take shelter to task they are a dangerous organisation getting money on the back of lies and spin then dont house anybody and are harming the people they profess to help with their anti PRS stance


    The Landlord Alliance are the ONLY people ' Rocking the Boat ' ! a Lot more need to join in !

  • G romit

    With "friends" like this who needs enemies.

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    • 01 February 2019 09:46 AM

    Isn't that thing about keeping your friends close to you but your enemies closer.
    The likes of mr ludlow is perhaps a frenemy.
    He needs to be kept close and under control and educated as to correct information.
    He is a loose cannon currently and can cause the PRS much damage.
    He is clearly a fool but we need to make him our fool to do our bidding.
    He simply isn't clever enough to understand.
    Perhaps a 'little' tutorial from Dr Ros Beck might put him right!!!!??

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    There was another article a few days ago stating landlords got over £17 billions in "tax relief". If 50% of landlords pay 20% tax and 50% pay 40% tax, this means landlords have incurred annual expenses of around £50 billions in non capital expenditure as well as around £1 trillion in capital investment, all to provide homes for those who can't or won't afford to buy.

  • James B

    Shelter are a disgrace with some of their bahaviour and id never donate to them again but that agent is being foolish attacking landlords .. talk about bite the hand that feeds you !! One way to lose business .. if they have shareholders or other owners they want to consider their leadership


    Is that you, Mr Brokenshire?

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    Everyone in the PRS need to show solidarity, And, I'm including 90% of our Customers ( Law-Abiding tenants ) because its govt policies that are forcing rents up to the end-users - tenants, -
    All done in alllegedly, their name for safety ! ( sic ) and to protect the Millions of tenants from a few Hundred Rogue Landlords, Councils getting law- abiding landlords to pay their enforcement costs against Rogues - and still not even doing that well !!!


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