Landlords seem to be under attack from all sides of the political divide, as Chancellor George Osborne buy-to-let tax crackdown proceeds through Parliament.
Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party is also talking tough.
At the end of September I was present at the Labour Party Conference. It is always worth attending because it gives us a perspective on what the Conservative Government is going to be, in effect, bouncing off of for the next few years.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell talked about cutting tax breaks for buy-to-let landlords in a clampdown on "corporate welfare".
It looks like Labour is adhering to the pledges it made ahead of the General Election, so we should keep an eye out for future commitments to, and arguments in favour of, the following policies taken from their Spring manifesto:
Make three-year tenancies the norm instead of the current six or 12-month short-term tenancies.
To make rent increases more predictable within these contracts, and then put an upper ceiling on any rent increase.
To ban letting agents from charging fees to tenants – saving renters who enter a new tenancy an average or £350.
These ambitions and the spirit behind them are broadly in line with Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) thinking, by which I mean, they side in each case with the party who has less power.
The tenant, of course, would get a better deal everywhere, while still continuing to play the same part in a cycle that keeps chargeable rent going up year on year just about everywhere in the UK.
That said, landlords have slowed down rent hikes in August 2015, the latest monthly private rental sector (PRS) report of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).
Just a third of letting agents have reported increases in rents for tenants in August, down from 37% in July and the lowest proportion recorded since April.
The number of properties available to rent in London continued to fall in August.
Nevertheless, buy-to-let is going to remain an attractive option for the forseeable future and we should expect to be able to arrest the decline in business written by our members.
We’ve been taking care of a little politics of our own, as our members voted for a change to our Constitution, the biggest change we’ve needed to make since 1993.
The written rules had not, up until now, covered Appointed Representatives or the concept of full permission, nor did they allow us to take as members brokers who are unable to get FCA authorisation.
So we’ve had to write an entire code of conduct specifically for unregulated brokers.
The effect is that we will monitor unregulated brokers just as closely as the FCA would, meaning that clients can have exactly the same level of confidence approaching any one of our brokers – the 1,470 who have full permission, and the 29 who are unable to get it because of the nature of the business they write.
Adam Tyler is chief executive officer of the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers.