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2017 and Cicero

Wednesday January 4, 2017

Christmas last year was a real Italian Christmas. This involved the annual trip to my parents home, Arpino in the Lazio region of Italy where 253 families share my surname. Uncle Fabio runs La Dispensa, a big delicatessen packed with delicious wonders to fill our car for the journey home. Arpino is also the birthplace of the Roman philosopher Cicero. History is silent on his surname but I am sure it must have been Rea.

Back home we enjoyed Christmas around the table; eating, drinking, catching up with family and friends. Then there were the few days between Christmas and New Year where nothing much happens. I used the time to call our landlords for a chat while things are quiet.

The result was alarming. Some of our landlords described 2016 as ‘annus horribilis’ citing the 3% Stamp Duty for investors, proposed Client Money Protection legislation, removal of mortgage tax relief and the Renters rights Bill. Other landlords asked “What do we do about this swathe of legislation in the rental sector?”

My answer was simple. “We have done it”. Hopefully this will have calmed our landlords and thus, reassured their tenants. Because at the end of the day, it is our tenants who really matter.

Irrespective of Government legislation, it is our tenants who fuel our business. They pay the rent. They deserve a safe, secure and comfortable place to live. A responsible landlord will recognise this and work with a management agency who know that new legislation is not a hassle, it is Government trying to ensure a fair deal for everybody.

In our new year there will be challenges for landlords, funders and managing agents. I do not intend to spend 2017 railing against legislation. I shall spend it predicting how the legislation will impact upon our landlords and tenants. Then we shall do the right thing.


The legislation imposed upon the rental sector last year, and that to come this year is not draconian. It is imposed to weed out bad landlords and to encourage good landlords. Let us embrace it for the good of our tenants?

To quote my ancestor Marcus Tullius Cicero Rea, “Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error”. 2017 will be a year of challenge in our business but only an idiot would miss the opportunities.

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