I am pleased to have as my NPP today Mr Charles Clarke who is the President of the Eastern Landlords Association (ELA). Here is his story.
1. Please introduce yourself. Say a bit about yourself and your company
I am Charles Clarke (no relation to the former MP for Norwich South). Since November 2009 I have been Chairman of the ELA. Our association represents the interests of the private landlord in the six counties of Greater East Anglia. Nationally we are affiliated with the British Property Federation (BPF) – the Voice of Property.
2. How did you first become involved in property?
By chance! When I married in December 1971 my wife inherited a regulated tenancy.
3. What do you think is your greatest achievement so far?
As a landlord, building up a small portfolio of property, with minimal debt. On a personal level (1) becoming a dance host (2) being at the Holly Wood Bowl to hear the Independence Day Concert by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.
4. Do you or your company have any exciting plans for the future?
What does exciting plans infer? Myself, I shall continue to expand, but only if the right properties become available. The ELA is planning to start up new branches in the area of East Anglia.
5. What do you think are the greatest problems facing the private rented sector today?
The problems facing the private rented sector today could fill a book! Briefly the legacy and culture of unrestricted lending under Brown and Blair will cast a shadow for many years. 110% – 120% mortgages are ‘fools paradise’. The ineptitude and restrictions of unwarranted bureaucracy.
6. What do you think are the greatest opportunities?
In Boom or Bust times, there has always been openings for entrepreneurs. My crystal ball has gone cloudy on me.
7. We have a new government. What would you like them to do for the private rented sector?
The new government could help the private rented sector by treating being a landlord as a business with roll over reliefs, tax breaks for having LHA tenants. Please have a dialogue with all segments of the PRS.
8. Do you use social media (blogs, twitter, LinkedIn etc)? What place do you think it has in the future of the property industry?
I rarely use social media (excepting facebook). Has it a future in the property industry? Probably to the under 35’s.
9. What is the most important lesson you have learned during your time in property?
The most important lesson I have learned (property) is do not get carried away with ‘hyperbole’ via the media viz Get Rich Quick and sales pitches of various ‘brokers’ pushing up property prices to unrealistic levels. Historically, what goes up , comes down again, whether property, stock markets or dubious mining schemes.
10. What advice would you have to someone thinking of entering the property industry today?
Advice I can give to someone thinking of entering the property market is to do your sums / budget realistically. It isn’t money for ‘old rope’. Timing of purchasing is also very relevant.
Thank you Charles for your wise words. Although I suspect you would be surprised to learn how many over 35’s use social media.
Landlords in the Eastern Region who are interested in joining will find the ELA web-site here.