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Landlords challenge Tory MP on call for two-year rent freeze

* Angels Media and Landlord Today are deeply saddened by the passing of HM Queen Elizabeth II *

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The landlords’ main trade body is directly challenging a Tory MP who has called for a rent freeze.

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Natalie Elphicke - in an article on the Conservative Home website - says she wants to see “a newly shaped Department for Housing and Households” which would “robustly challenge the total costs of household bills.”

She calls for the “freezing all rents at their current rates for up to two years. In addition, no property could be re-let at a higher price during that period. This would ensure that the rent freeze cannot be circumvented by re-letting.” She claims this would save around £2,000 for the average renter, and up to £4,000 in London.

But Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, saying that he agrees with Elphicke’s analysis of a shortfall in rental property supply. But he then asks directly: “I should be grateful if you could outline how this [two year rent freeze] would help address the supply crisis that tenants now face.” 

Beadle also gives chapter and verse on how rent controls in the Republic of Ireland have failed to improve supply or indeed the situation of tenants.

You can see the full letter from the NRLA below and more details of Elphicke's article here.

I write following your recent article for Conservative Home, “Keeping people in their homes during harder times must be a top priority” in which you make a call for a freeze on private rents for two years. 

Within your article you rightly raise concerns about the impact of increasing inflation on households. However, as you will know the Office for National Statistics1 shows that in the 12 months to July this year private rents across the UK rose by 3.2% well below all measurements of inflation. In London, an area you refer to in your article, they increased by 2.1%, the lowest annual growth of any region in the UK in the year to July. 

In your article you make the assertion that: “It has been suggested that faster rising rents in London have fuelled 1.5 per cent higher inflation in the Capital.” The evidence cited for this is an analysis by City Hall drawing on data from Rightmove. 

As the Office for National Statistics notes, Rightmove’s data covers only asking rents on newly available properties, not the actual rents being paid on all properties. In contrast, the official ONS data reflects price changes for all privately rented properties. In view of this, I am sure that you would agree that the ONS index is a more comprehensive assessment of changes in PRS rents across the sector as a whole. 

One of your central arguments is a call for a two-year rent freeze in the private rented sector. I should be grateful if you could outline how this would help address the supply crisis that tenants now face. 

Research for the NRLA has found that in Q2 2022, 23% of private landlords in England and Wales said they planned to cut the number of properties they let over the next 12 months. This was up from 20% the year before. In contrast, just 14% said they planned to increase the number of properties they let, unchanged since the same point last year and down 4 points since Q1 2022. 

Against this picture of falling supply, 60% of landlords reported increased demand for rental housing in the second quarter of the year. This represents a large increase on the 39% of landlords who reported increased demand a year ago. 

This is a trend which has been charted also by: 

Rightmove – Its latest figures show that in Q2 2022 the demand for private rented housing was up 6% compared with last year whilst the number of available properties was down 26%.

RICS – It has warned that rising demand from tenants for rental properties, coupled with a decline in new landlord instructions, will lead to rents increasing.

District Councils Network - Research by the DCN has found that 76% of councils surveyed have seen an increase in private landlords selling up properties causing a rise in housing wait- ing lists and making it harder to find permanent accommodation for those in need. 48% of these councils said they were now experiencing significant pressure on housing services due to this. In particular, councils raised concerns about the drift of private landlords from the longer-term rental market to short-term holiday let accommodation.

The Government – Government data shows that the number of landlords planning to sell some or all of their properties is twice as high as the number planning to purchase properties. According to the 2021 English Private Landlord Survey, 11% of landlords, representing 15% of tenancies, planned to increase the size of their portfolio. In contrast, 22%, representing 29% of tenancies, plan to sell some or all of their portfolio.

I note that in Ireland, which has a form of rent control in operation known as Rent Pressure Zones, the leading property website Daft.ie, has noted that rental prices hit an all-time high in August, with supply at its lowest level since the website started tracking in 2006. It noted that in a country of 5.1 million people, there were just 716 homes available to rent on 1st August. 

Given the public interest in this issue I shall be publishing a copy of this letter on the NRLA’s website and sending a copy to the trade press. 

I would be happy to discuss these points with you.

Ben Beadle, NRLA Chief Executive 

Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.

  • George Dawes

    I suggest the Conservative party rename themselves new new Labour

    Also rip her majesty , we’ve got Charles to deal with now , god help us all

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    We all knew that once Scotland jumped on this that we would…. I can see the lefties grabbing onto this like a pit bull 🐕, then they will suggest an evictions ban 🙄. You all know I speak the truth…. Sadly 🤔

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    Another heroine of the people, seeking a pat on the back at the expense of others . Words are always cheap with these people, but with the salary and expense these individuals cost us all are not.

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    Natalie Elphicke. Looking for 2 year Rent Freeze saying it would save Tenant £2k over the period & £4k in London.
    Therefore costing L’don LL £40.00 pw per Tenant if I read this correctly. What about for instance the LL’s that haven’t put up their Rents in the last 2 years that would be a 4 year Freeze, also not allowing him to challenge or complete on renewal or charge what his fellow LL is locked into at a higher level, its nonsense.
    Many more like me for a lot longer haven’t increased & actually reduced some rents while being loaded with extra costs.
    So for the one’s charging top dollar it would cement guarantee their high Rents while crippling us for supplying cheaper accommodation to many people in lower paid jobs.

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    Any LL with any common sense will be increasing rents asap just in case the rent freeze comes in in England.

    I don't think it will happen in England, but just the thought of it will continue the upward pressure on rents. The renters' 'Friends' seem to have absolutely no understanding of the PRS or basic economics!

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    I have a new tenant moving in next week paying £150 per month more than the last tenant, another property becoming vacant in a couple of weeks this one will also be relet at a higher rent, cannot risk it now we've been warned what's coming

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    Exactly. We will now all be looking at our current tenancies and concluding that we can’t leave them below market rate now for fear of not being able to when tenants leave. Not sure how I’m going to break this to me tenants!

     
  • George Dawes

    Rent freezes are bad enough but rent controls are even worse

    When some council jobsworth comes round with his clipboard and tells you what you can charge in rent for a property you own

    Basically communism

    Then I sell up


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    No George they will just take it off you that’s how these communists think

     
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    Everything they do makes everything worse for Landlords and Tenants alike, that’s clear enough, not their property their business meddle & ruin, sit on the sidelines draw big soft salaries, ok come down off your pedestal you buy the property and house the people off your own back with own finance you won’t be half so smug dictating what LL should be doing.

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    To paraphrase one famous prime minister “ being attacked by the NRLA is like being savaged by a dead sheep”!! There was so much more that could have been said to shred her argument to pieces!!

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    Micheal that's the last thing she is going to do, like Norman Tebbit, get on year bike and look for work, he certainly didn't, he privatised state owned industries and put himself on the board for mega money ! No doubt she will be a highly paid exec of a new board/s to regulate the PRS. Dover is suffering badly from immigration, where is she ! Incidentally Elphicke is a Germanic name !

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    Dear ol’ Natalie, bless her. Her article in ConHome was a cornucopia of misunderstanding and ignorance. The classic line that proves how little she knows of her own government was the one stating how landlords ‘hadn’t had a single reason to raise rents over the last few years’ - brilliant! Keep ‘em coming, Nat, you’re killing me here!! LOL

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    ...and what about rising interest rates? I don't suppose she is suggesting that the government will offer any help to us "wealthy" landlords?! Perhaps if a previous Conservative govt. hadn't introduced the Right to Buy scheme, we would still have a decent stock of Council owned properties which would of itself damp down demand in the rental sector. This idea that private landlords should provide social housing where the government has completely failed to do so is a really rather patronising and ignorant view point.

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    If landlords are been made to freezer there rents to help the tenants then are the mortgage companies going to be made to freeze the mortgages? As I’m sure that the government will want to treat us all the same and not show any favouritism.

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    Of course they will. They care so much.

     
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    I can see the same nonsense coming back again following the removal of Section 21 like before. I seen a nice Indian lady with her own house renting part of her house prior to S. 21 starting to one man but continued on for years afterwards. After some years she wanted her house back but he wouldn’t budge he wanted money, so he continued for years more paying a pittance in rent, then when the time came he wanted to move but didn’t let her know that, he bargained for money to leave which he got, she wanted her house back, the icing on the cake final stroke he moved his son-in then got lady help him to get Council to House the son. Incidentally it was £45’000. so in effect he lived Rent free for years and a golden handshake. Is this what they want back again.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    It cannot be legal for the state to intervene in private business contracts, especially due to their own default in social housing provision.

    Its akin to telling Private hospitals what they can charge for treatment, and passing a law that Waitrose must sell for the same price as Lidl.

    If the situation has degenerated into absolute nonsense, the Dwarf from the North and ElThick started it. !

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    How about a 2 year income freeze for mp's? As that is what a 2 year rent freeze is for us

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    In theory it should be a bulwark of conservative policy. And iof course the human rights act, unfortunately it's often selectively applied.. Really Truss has a Marxist background.

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    A Freeze is a reduction in income as your costs keeps rising and have to be paid, especially with inflation rampant and Mortgage repayments sky rocketing, add S.24, tax hike, Licensing Schemes are a huge cost & removal of S.21, its like Bankruptcy by Statute.

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