Propertyscouts Property Management
Are Landlords Parasites?

Are Landlords Parasites? National Propertyscouts

Fair to say over the last couple of years Landlords have taken a bit of a bashing. So, it’s no surprise that there’s the odd tenant out there with a sad view on landlords. In response to a Covid-19 letter we sent out to all Propertyscouts tenants in NZ one tenant responded by referring to landlords as parasites.

Thankfully we don’t receive a lot of emails like that and this particular tenants’ views are not representative of how most tenants view landlords. The owner of the Propertyscouts business that received the tenants email decided not to reply but sent it on to Propertyscouts HQ. The owner of Propertyscouts NZ, Milton Weir, like a lot of us has been a longtime landlord and decided that while it was unlikely he could convert the tenant over to being a ‘landlord supporter’ the tenants email justified some sort of a response. Here's what Milton sent back to the tenant:

Dear (tenants name)

I was concerned enough on your view of ‘landlords’ that I thought I would take the time to write to you to detail my experience of being a landlord, one which I know will be shared by the vast majority of landlords throughout NZ. I left school at the age of 18, went flatting and worked for 3 different Government departments over the next 35 years – paying tax all the while I might add. After renting for a number of years my wife and I bought our first house when we were in our mid 20’s. With no family help, we saved the deposit and had two mortgages, both with interest rates in the mid 20% range. We sold our car to put towards the deposit and lived on sausages and mince for the next 2 years because that’s all we could afford as every spare cent from our two fulltime jobs went on paying our mortgages. Over the years as I was moved around NZ in my Government jobs we bought and sold a few houses. Every house we purchased we worked hard on in our spare time, often at the cost of meals out, family holidays etc. Our hard work paid off for us, so over time we built up enough equity for the deposits on rental properties which we purchased to help fund our retirement. We’ve worked hard on every rental property we have ever owned. Yes, the tenants who have lived in our rental properties have paid rent which has helped pay the mortgage payments, but in every case we have had to ‘top’ those mortgage payments up ourselves, once again often at the cost of family holidays and the like. In return, those tenants have been provided with comfortable well-maintained homes. A lot of our tenants have gone on to become homeowners themselves and dare I say it some are now even property investors as well so the experience of being tenants didn’t put them off. The longest tenant I had stayed for 13 years. We’ve had mostly great tenants, some who have gone on to become very good friends. Every year I have to spend money on maintenance at my rental properties and sometimes unfortunately, my tenants haven’t done a good job of looking after the property or the have ‘forgotten’ to pay rent they promised at the start they would pay so I’m left having to deal with that as well. As landlords it’s us who must somehow find the money to buy the property in the first place (often utelising the banks and paying the interest they charge). Then we have to pay the contractors who carry out the maintenance (unless we can do it ourselves in our spare time) and we also have to pay the property managers for looking after our properties, because at the end of the day being a landlord isn’t as easy as a lot of people think. There’s a lot involved, a lot that can go wrong and a lot of stress involved. Being a landlord is also risky. It takes years to make progress and a lot can go wrong along the way (Covid -19 is an example of this). In my wife’s case it was all for nothing because she passed away before she was able to benefit from the years of hard work.

I don’t expect you to agree with a lot of what I have to say about being a landlord, or any of it for that matter. What can say is that for me (and probably every other landlord I know) it would have been a whole lot easier having the money to spend on holidays, not saving and doing without so that I could get on the property ladder, not spending a lot of my spare time working on my rentals, cleaning them when the tenants have left and chasing tenants for rent they didn’t pay. could have chosen not to do any of that, but if I had then the chances are, I’d be needing a landlord to provide me with a place to live.

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