The appalling effects of the buy to let boom

We have to admit that we think that this is a bit of a strange thing to be complaining about:

Buy-to-let landlords blamed for decline in DIY among under-30s

Figures suggesting spending on DIY among ‘generation rent’ has fallen by third since 1996 coincide with report showing age of first-time buyers still rising

We could understand that a retailer of materials used to do the DIY might complain a bit and the providers of the same materials to the professionals celebrate a tad, but we're really rather struggling to see the wider significance of this.

Credit card provider MBNA said spending by the under-30s on DIY had fallen by a third since the mid-90s. It blamed the rise of buy-to-let landlords.

We can understand why buy to let landlords might be the cause of this but again are struggling to see where the blame is, or how any blame is justified.

Mark Elliott, of MBNA, said: “Generation rent is usually barred from making home improvements by clauses in their tenancy agreements. Although [overall] DIY spending has grown by 42% in real terms since 1996, an increase in the proportion of people renting in the UK could impact the sector’s growth in the future.”

Landlords are required to let their properties in a lettable condition. That is, not requiring the tenants to start grouting the bathroom. Thus the rise in rental properties leads to a fall in the number of people having to grout their bathrooms. Yes, we get the picture, the chain of logic. But why is this a bad thing?

That cars are more reliable these days and thus we spend fewer rainy afternoons hitting them with hammers is a good thing. That supermarkets present food in easier to cook versions saves us time in the kitchen, a good thing. That landlords provide property that doesn't require we mash our thumbs to make it habitable is a good thing, no? 

But that really does seem to be what they're complaining about. Buy to let produces habitable dwellings: we must complain about this.