Socially Responsible Investing

Socially responsible investing describes an investment strategy which maximizes both financial return and social good. In general, socially responsible investors favour corporate practices which are environmentally responsible, support workplace diversity, and increase product safety and quality.

However, when you consider how this can relate in practice and when investing in property, then there are some other factors to consider as well.

Apart from the obvious expectations of investing in greener buildings that are more energy efficient where, from an investor's point of view, you're not really going to do that much as the planning regulations and developers prepare your investment. It's not as though you can ask to have a grass roof on the building unless one has been designed in!

The socially aware investor will look at what else (s)he can do to promote 'social wellness'. For example, the Tenant 2 Buy scheme allows the tenant to buy

the unit from the landlord after a number of years, whereby the landlord almost does all the saving of the deposit for the tenant when the tenant pays the rent!

The caring investor would naturally have the tenants welfare at heart, so all the statutory obligations are taken as read and then some too. The idea behind the Tenants Deposit Scheme is to ensure that bad landlords do not unreasonably withhold the tenants deposit and the good news is that the TDS will allow for the tenants to get back the element of deposit that is not in dispute. It will also ensure that tenants will have to pay their rent at the end of an assured shorthold tenancy (AST), rather than just say that that the landlords can take it out of that.

Socially aware investing for property can be a bit of a misnomer as being a professional landlord is pretty much a prescribed occupation with many laws obligating landlord and tenant procedures. However, you perhaps could also consider how you'd feel being the tenant - what one does need is a sense of humour and proportion as there are many out there

worse off than ourselves.

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