The private rental sector is in decline. It’s not a secret. Fewer new landlords are getting into the game, and existing ones are abandoning ship as chaotically as the low paid extras in Titanic. It’s easy to blame excessive regulation and rising costs. It’s simple to point the finger at successive governments adding legal hoops through which private landlords need to jump in order to keep their costs down. The punitive fines levied for everything from having too many bedrooms in a property to not having good enough insulation.
But these aren’t the real reasons.
In any industry at any time, there are people wanting to bail out. Businesses rise and fall and others take their place. People rise to the top to replace those who have tumbled to the bottom. It’s business as usual. It’s normal for individuals to abruptly change industry.
The private landlords who are willing to ride out tough times are doubling down on their investments and adding to their portfolios, but still, the total number of private landlords is dropping.
Think back to the boom years of the late 90s and early 2000s. Internet streaming was far in the future and the prospect of having instant access to practically every movie, TV show, album and music video ever produced was… unimaginable.
Instead we had five terrestrial channels, some satellite trash, and Blockbuster.
Practically every other show was a property show. Some were DIY based. Some, like Location, Location, Location helped happy couple with improbable jobs to find the homes of their dreams. Others would follow builders and tradesmen on their every day rounds, fixing and building, and transforming wrecked husks of houses into desirable residences. We had Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen showing us how to decorate, while ‘Handy’ Andy Kane demonstrated putting up shelves. There was also the sadly short-lived “Increase Your House Price By Ten Grand.” which did exactly what it said on the tin.
People watched because there was nothing else to do other than venture outside.
And they learned. People – possibly even some of our readers – got their first insight into property development simply because British TV scheduling was crap. And some of you said to yourselves, “I bet I can do that.” And you did.
Netflix started streaming in 2007 and it was the beginning of the end. The networks were forced to up their game and invest in decent programming rather than the incessant reality show rubbish which had been plaguing the airwaves. One by one, property development shows disappeared.
Of course, we still have ‘Location, Location, Location’ with the delightful and talented Kirsty Allsop, and of course the DIY SOS, presented by the charming and handy Nick Knowles. And then there are the daytime TV reruns.
But even the ever popular ‘Location, Location, Location’ has seen its viewing figures fall as viewers would rather watch the frankly fantastic Netflix originals.
Prolific property developer and presenter Sarah Beeny is still giving it a go with “Sarah Beeny’s Double Your House for Half The Money,” but it’s on a Wednesday morning at 11am. It doesn’t even rate in the BARB top 100 weekly list. They may even be reruns. We can’t tell.
The number of property developers in the UK is dropping because new landlords aren’t taking up the mantle. They’re not inspired because there’s nothing to inspire them.
We never thought we’d say this, but please Channel 4 and BBC, we need more reality TV shows.