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Confiscate private homes from bad landlords says senior Labour MP

A senior Labour MP associated with the moderate wing of the party says private rental properties should be confiscated from serial offender landlords.

Clive Betts - chair of the all party Levelling Up, Housing and Communities committee, scrutinising the government’s rental policies - has told The Guardian that private landlords who repeatedly break the rules and exploit tenants should lose their investment properties.

This would be a “significant deterrent” to landlords who treated fines for letting out squalid, unsafe and overcrowded homes as simply a cost of doing business.


Councils would then take over the properties and allocate then to social housing waiting list tenants, he says.

The threat of seizure would “bring landlords up fairly sharply, because some of those properties are worth quite a lot of money”, he tells the paper.

He also forecast that the ban on Section 21 eviction powers would probably have to wait until after the next General Election and he claims that many tenants are “simply too frightened to report disrepair” for fear of eviction.

Betts is also at the centre of a row with Housing Secretary Michael Gove over comments made in the House of Commons recently.

He has written an angry letter to Gove, accusing him and his ministers of “mischaracterisation” and attempting to shift responsibility for any delay in the Renters Reform Bill commitment to scrap Section 21. 

The row follows a report from the all-party committee which Gove quoted in a debate in the House of Commons. 

Gove told MPs:  “There were a series of recommendations in the report, upon which we have acted ... it is the case that we will ensure that the justice system, which is controlled by the Ministry of Justice and His Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service, is fit for purpose before we move ahead with some of the reforms in the Bill.” 

And later in the same debate Rachel Maclean - the then-housing minister who was sacked earlier this week - said: “We have always committed to aligning and synchronising the reform of the private rented sector with the court system; we note that that was a recommendation of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee.” 

Betts takes all this to mean that the government is passing the buck and saying that its controversial decision to delay the scrapping of Section 21 until the courts process has been reformed was actually a recommendation of the all-party committee, rather than a U-turn by the government itself. 

Therefore Betts has written to Gove saying: “My Committee feels strongly that this is a mischaracterisation of the Committee’s recommendation and an attempt by the Minister for Housing and Planning to deflect blame for these delays away from the Government and toward the Committee. We feel doubly strongly about this given the significant delay the Government itself had in responding to the Committee’s Report. 

“Our Report did warn the Government that ‘an unreformed courts system could undermine its tenancy reforms’ and advised that ‘it is absolutely essential that the government significantly increase the courts’ ability to process possession claims quickly and efficiently and in a way that is fair to both landlords and tenants’. However, at no point did we recommend an indefinite delay to the abolition of section 21 as the way to solve this challenge.”

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  • icon

    Mmm. “Confiscate”. A new word being used now. Sums up the slippery slope we are on. Highlights how these ***** are far too big for their boots now.

    • G W
    • 17 November 2023 08:48 AM

    Communism in other words…… it hides behind taking from the rich to give to the poor as justification


    Why not if they can't be bothered and all they want is the rent but I'll bet you'll moan to me about my comment..
    I've been through a married couple who will end up in court and a greedy property developer who doesn't care.


    SBR is back. We all thought she had given up, but like the proverbial, there she is again, well balanced, with chips on each shoulder. 🤣🤣


    Landlords should provide reasonable quality accommodation for sure. But stealing property is an entirely different thing. But you being a benefit claiming lefty with lots of 'needs' and not providing much in return to society of course says "why not".


    This is one way traffic. Take a property off a Landlord...be real. What if it is mortgaged. What about tenants that abuse property, what will be taken from them.
    We need an even playing field.
    I would like though to take the wage and pension of this dimwit of a Politician.

    Richard LeFrak

    Sandy B ...! My Cheeky little Minx... You have been through a married couple??? Is that a menage a trois?

    I knew there was something about you that raised my blood pressure ever so slightly..

    Yonnette  Roberts

    Management Orders - love them it would definitely work if only Council use and manage them properly. No more legislation just get council to do their job properly


    It’s starting…communism like North Korea on the way.

  • icon

    There you go, that is Labour’s plan. Don't house their voters? They will take the property from you and put them in.

    Does the phrase “All property is theft” ring any bells?

  • George Dawes

    How about firing incompetent councillors and politicians

    Labour have more than their fair share of those


    If you’re going for the incompetence card George there will only be about 4 left .

  • icon

    Typical comment from someone who has no f idea. Oh and it’s a Labour MP. But a Tory one at present not much better or clue.

  • icon

    So if I’ve read this correctly Clive Betts wants local councils to be able to steal property from the property owners????
    This cannot be a legal action, under what law could a local council ‘confiscate’ an owners property???? A better description of this action would be theft!!!!

    • A JR
    • 17 November 2023 08:34 AM

    Some kind of copy legislation similar to the ‘proceeds of crime’ powers I guess. In any event, confiscation, sequestration, eviction bans all amount to the same thing- state sanctioned theft!

  • icon

    They can confiscate my properties anytime they wish so long as they pay me market value. Otherwise it is communism.


    It didn't sound as though they were going to pay anything.


    I don’t think he intends for the landlord to be compensated in anyway. He may however expect the landlords to pay all of the necessary ‘buyer’s’ and sellers fees 🤡

    • A JR
    • 17 November 2023 08:36 AM

    Market value! That won’t happen.

    John  Adams

    Compulsory Purchase even today never pays a fair market value. You can appeal the valuation, but you still loose.

  • icon

    🤔 Let me think , did history teach me that something similar took place in the mid 1930’s, In Germany, under the then rule of the National Socialist’s 🆘🆘. As I recall under the jack boot of that moustached small Austrian psychopath. 😰😰 . A little extreme maybe, but I do think Labour will be very very bad for us.


    Clearly the sort of treatment the UK population can expect if labour get in to power.


    Good analogy in this case because the European Convention on Human Rights which includes the protection of property rights was formulated as a result of Nazi actions including the expropriation of Jewish property without compensation.


    100%Simon. Get out whilst you still can!


    To take Simon's analogy further, the question has been asked as to why the Jewish people didn't get out of Nazi Germany when they still could, and part of the answer to that was that they were waiting to see how things would develop. They didn't foresee how terrible things would become for them.

    Are landlords doing the same - waiting to find out what will happen with new legislation and hoping that they can still carry on their businesses under a Labour government? Should we do as Shane says?

  • Richard LeFrak

    The amount bollox Labour are coming out with maybe we should look at confiscating their seats..! Same with the Tories too..!

  • icon

    It’s ridiculous we provide much needed housing for 11’000’000. Renter’s off our own backs with private finance. Contribute billions in tax, abused, burdened and discriminated against by all Governments Departments. This proposal of confiscation / theft by a member of Parliament is a disgraceful to be treated this way after years of Service. What behaviour by MP to stoop so low he is not a fit to be a member of Parliament and should resign.
    Time to Scrap TRRB so far it’s added millions of homeless and costing £1.7b putting people up in Hotels with emergency accommodation, driven out hundreds of thousands of landlords creating a worse shortage consequently driven up Rents by 30%, that’s well documented, making renting unaffordable unsustainable leading to more evictions and homeless, just wondering how many more are in Parliament with the IQ of a rabbit.
    Scrap the Stupid Bill now that deliberately caused all this misery.

  • icon

    Are they mad? The first property they steal will make the majority of us reach for the nearest estate agent. Fantastic isn’t it an election looms and neither of the always go to parties are fit to govern.

  • icon

    I am pretty sure that the seizure of a landlord's property would be contrary to Article 1, Protocol No. 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

    As the European Court would regard that measure as an expropriation, the State would have to award compensation to the affected owner.

    It is a sad indictment on Labour that they would advocate such an unlawful measure as it seems that they were considering taking the houses without compensation from the remark that "the threat of seizure would “bring landlords up fairly sharply, because some of those properties are worth quite a lot of money”".

  • icon

    What an absolute Tw*t !!
    How about they change the law so that the private sector LL's can 'confiscate' homes from LA's & HA's who fail to maintain them and leave their tenants without heating/hot water for months and all riddled with mould so that the responsible LL's amongst us can take control and provide a good standard of accomodation instead ???
    It's one rule for them and a different law book for us, bit f**ked up if you ask me !!

  • icon
    • A G
    • 17 November 2023 08:32 AM

    Under what rule of law is theft of property even countenanced? Absolutely nowhere unless it is some kind of "beyond socialism" policy that Labour would like to introduce. And who would then rule over whose property should be confiscated as well as who fulfilled the criteria of being a "bad" landlord versus a "good" landlord. What forfeit would a "bad" tenant be subjected to? This is indeed a slippery slope and not an area for a government to stick its nebulous into.

    Peter Meczes

    I couldn’t put it better. Absolutely agree with you.

  • George Dawes

    He makes di abbot look intelligent and David Lammy sane

    David Saunders

    You're being silly now George, that would be an impossible task

  • icon

    I may be wrong but I believe there is already the power to take over management of a poperty if a landlord persistently fails to comply with rulings against the for safety issues. The LL retains ownership but is responsible for the costs of bringing the property up to scratch. If a council is doing the work it is likely to be costly. There would also be management costs and the property is in control of the council. (did I imagine this?)
    This would be quite a useful tool if used more often. This would not affect good landlords like us and would affect only those giving the rest of us a bad name.
    Less sensational though to admit there is already legislation in place that councils of all colours are not using because too much effort is involved.


    Yes, Emily, they are Management Orders, usually starting with an Interim Management Order. Landlord retains ownership and any profit after costs including a managing agent.


    Emily, nice balanced view. I would fully support this. Knowing I would never be affected by this but would welcome rogue Landlord's being correctly dealt with.

    S l
    • S l
    • 18 November 2023 10:09 AM

    dont believe you will escape from the theft. the council will get greedy and believe it or not some staff are more draconian than others. its pot luck who check your property. Eg council told you to do some work due to health and safety. you wanted to BUT tenants refused to let you. deadline past. you get sued. council take your house. end of your reign as good landlord

  • icon
    • G W
    • 17 November 2023 08:55 AM

    The sad thing is, we all agree it’s crazy but it’s coming and another version Labours strongly muted is paying ‘moving costs or compensation’ when evicting a tenant if landlord sells (as well as treasury looking to move CGT in line with income tax levels of 20 and 40% depending on your personal situation)…. And yet, Tories are giving labour keys to number 10 with their crap management…… how has the country stopped so low?


    That “golden nugget” of Labour’s housing policy has not been given much publicity. This is not a Conservative government and since, like you it is obvious that they will not win the election, I shall be giving my vote to the REFORM PARTY. They cannot do a worse job than the usual two. I just cannot bring myself to vote for my faux-conservative MP.


    I haven't seen their CGT policy this time round but for the last GE it was the only policy from any party I really liked. It was paying CGT at your marginal tax rate on an indexed gain. 40% of an indexed gain is far more palatable than 28% of the entire gain. For a property I have owned for over 30 years it would lower the CGT by about £60K. The only reason there is any taxable gain on that house is because the house was put in an Article 4 area which has boosted its value beyond normal house price rises.


    I don't think they have fully formulated their CGT policy this time, but there has been no mention of indexation yet.

    In March 2022, Rachel Reeves told the BBC that Labour had no plans to increase capital gains tax (CGT). She added:

    “There are people who have built up their own businesses who maybe at retirement want to sell that business. They may not have had huge income through their life if they’ve reinvested in their business, but this is their retirement pot of money. And we also have said we want Britain to be the best place to start and grow a business.”

    However, around the same time, Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner criticised the rate of CGT. She said it revealed “a tax system designed by successive Tory governments in which the prime minister pays a far lower tax rate than working people who face the highest tax burden in 70 years”.

    George Dawes

    They’re all wef puppets , keir belongs to the trilateral commission too

    Politics = the illusion of choice

  • Franklin I

    I would like to express my deep concerns regarding Labour's proposed confiscation measures in conjunction with the Renter's Reform Bill.
    These measures place increased responsibilities and liabilities on landlords, even for errors made by tenants. It is crucial to recognise the need for a tenant's licensing scheme and training accreditation to ensure a fair and balanced approach.

    1. LLs Burden: The proposed measures impose additional responsibilities and financial penalties on LLs, making them accountable for errors made by tenants. This places an unfair burden on landlords while neglecting the importance of tenant accountability.

    2. Tenant's Licensing Scheme: Introducing a tenant's licensing scheme would provide a mechanism to hold tenants accountable for their actions. Such a scheme would ensure that tenants are aware of their responsibilities and adhere to regulations, mitigating potential issues and reducing the disproportionate burden on LLs.

    3. Training Accreditation for Tenants: Providing training and accreditation programs for tenants would empower them with the knowledge and skills necessary to be responsible occupants. This would foster a greater sense of accountability and enable an independent body to identify cases where the cause of a problem lies with the tenant rather than the LL.

    4. Fair and Balanced Approach: Imposing legislations, regulations, and financial penalties solely on LLs while neglecting tenant responsibility is an imbalanced approach. It is essential to recognise that both landlords and tenants play integral roles in maintaining a harmonious rental market.

    By implementing a tenant's licensing scheme and training accreditation, we can create a framework that promotes fairness, transparency, accountability, and effective dispute resolution.

    Such measures would ensure that responsibilities and liabilities are appropriately distributed between LLs and tenants, fostering a more equitable rental market.

    I encourage all LLs to consider the importance of tenant accountability and consider the need for a tenant's licensing scheme and training accreditation, that will offer a better protection for all LLs.

    John  Adams

    I'm afraid none of what you are talking about will work. The sinister left have convinced the activists that everything should be free and that they have no responsibilities in society. How you achieve these fantasies has never been explained, because as any Ex-Soviet citizen will tell you they never saw any benefits.

    Franklin I

    Then if none of the above will work John, my suggestion is to just be a lamb to the slaughter and continue to complain in vain, whilst they continue to abuse LLs.

    Alternatively you could always exit the PRS system, like most sensible LLs.

    I'm planning my exit strategy.

    • A G
    • 18 November 2023 10:39 AM

    Well I think it’s a great idea to encourage awareness in tenants to treat their home, the property that they live in, with care!

  • John  Adams

    Unfortunately it's been nearly 50 years since a true Labour Government has been in power, and no-one under 50 has any idea as to how chaotic and destructive it will be. During this time the sinister left have indoctrinated children and infested institutions with their clap trap and only a spell of chaos and hatred is going to correct that. When the younger generation see that Labour have only fantasy and poverty to offer first hand will we get back to normality and that is going to take a couple of decades. You only have to look at how the sheeple keep voting Khan back in to see just how dimwitted people are and how much damage has to be done before the sheep revolt.

    George Dawes

    My great grandmother had 9 children and lived in poverty in Newcastle but she was a hard working decent person who never asked the government for anything

    She always said ; Labour very good at spending other people’s money

    She had a point

  • icon

    Well that would really cheese of the moaning landlords and the ones to lazy and feckless to look after there properties. Time the rouge landlords faced the music and we're punished.
    We're not just tenants but human beings. They wouldn't live in sub standard conditions why should we.
    Bring on the moans.


    ROGUE not rouge. How many times do we have to correct you, Sandra, before it sinks into your thick head? 😡 I feel really sorry for any of your landlords, I notice you complain about taking them to court but provide no evidence.


    Tenants don't have to live in sub standard conditions you are all free to give notice when ever you like and move on to a better property


    Sandra everything is relative. As Andrew has said if you do not like it move. Do not assume that Landlord's live in Palace's. I've been doing up my own house for the last 7 years, still ongoing. I'm delayed as I work plus ensure that my portfolio of properties are in very good condition.
    You state that you have had bad experiences with Landlord's, however over 80% of tenants have a good experience.
    Now, if the Government of either colour carry on then the good landlord's, in my opinion, will sell up. The ones whom ignore the rules will continue to do so, or be prosecuted out of existence.
    Hopefully you can see that neither option is beneficial!


    It's 'rogue' not 'rouge'. How many more times? and it's 'were' not 'we're'.


    @ Nick, Sandra is a rouge tenant speaking rouge english. LOL

    George Dawes

    I’m moaning about your obvious lack of a decent education, terrible grammar and punctuation.

    George Dawes

    U wot m8 me and me matez ate u lanlawds u all suk u kneed us moar then wot we nee u lot sew their eff thet dint doo the trik nuffin wil


    George, We need a balance here of some wokeness. So from Sandra's previous posts it appears that she claims Personal Independence Payments. Therefore being disabled on benefits I hereby exonerate her of all past, current and future wrongdoing. Whether it be alleged, proven or any previous convictions she is now regarded as being totally innocent by all government departments, Labour, councils and the housing 'charities'. We are all landlords and therefore guilty of everything, deserve to be fined to bankruptcy, name and shamed, imprisoned in worse conditions that the illegal boat people, murderers and paedophiles. We are devils.

  • icon

    Presumably a lot of the "squalid, unsafe and overcrowded homes" are overcrowded with lots of extra people.
    How would Councils take them over and "allocate then to social housing waiting list tenants"?
    What about the overcrowded tenants who already occupy the squalid and unsafe houses? Wouldn't the Council have a duty to house them?
    Logistically how would Councils make those properties sanitary and safe while they are overcrowded? Would they attempt to work around the overcrowded tenants or would they have to rehouse them for a while? If so, where?


    Jo, this is probably why management orders are so underused.


    @ Emily, MOs have been about since the last Labour government, but cannot recall ever seeing an article about one being used. Has anyone?

  • Nic Gone

    If only politicians would concentrate on sensible ways of dealing with rogue landlords, instead of using broad, clumsy moves like abolishing section 21 as a hammer to crack a nut - and now threatening to steal properties! All these power grab moves do is scare off the good landlords, makes new investors think twice and the banks shut up BTL shop. What would a mortgage company make of house they’ve lent on being confiscated???

  • icon

    The lack of imagination is staggering and just sounds like a comment that would appeal to simple minded landlord haters that choose to focus on us being the enemy which is so much more satisfying than actually trying to solve the problem. Surely a prison sentence and a ban from being involved in renting properties and an appropriate fine that if not paid could force the sale of a property but confiscating it is the same as treating them as drug dealers and that every penny they have in that house is from ill gotten gains and if they have treated their tenants that badly and the fines are still making it profitable then the fines are not an appropriate deterrent just like Thames water. Ramping up blood lust for landlords seems like the thing they enjoy when there are so few of them and would not solve the housing problem at all. They’d rather just hate everyone with perceived wealth and blame them for everything than come up with any good policies. It’s a joke!


    You're completely right Adam. Problem though is this is already happening and about to get worse. Tenants already get rent back if they successfully point out certain Landlord mistakes, whether intentional or not from the Landlord.
    Meanwhile try and get the full claim from an insurance company (car) or compensation from a robber whose then been caught.
    The next problem is I just do not see the tide turning!

  • icon

    He might think his idea has credibility, but my god, how deluded is he! The reform party has my next vote. Labour, current Torries and SNP are one and the same. Lefty idiots who will only further destroy the fabric and culture of the UK. It’s time we had a voice here, but Beadles about is only interested in preserving his student lets. Shameful in my opinion!

  • icon

    We hear about scum landlords a lot, but who are these people and who is happy and content to rent from them?


    I expect the people that rent from the ''scum landlords'' must be scum tenants, surely they deserve each other

  • icon

    Would Clive Betts confiscate this property?

    "Despite the residents pushing the housing provider nine times for repairs to be carried out, it failed to resolve these problems, taking 67 weeks to fix a roof leak. Richard Blakeway, Housing Ombudsman, said: 'There were widespread, multiple and serious failings in this case and the landlord has to undertake significant learning to prevent similar future failure.

    'The combined failings led to a young family being left essentially homeless due to an inhabitable home. The fact the home was unfit to live in before the family even moved is shocking, but the landlord then failed to make things right for the residents with the subsequent repairs needed.

    'These failings included extensive delays, lack of competency in inspections, poor quality works and inadequate coordination and oversight.

    'This caused serious adverse effect on the household. The landlord's response was hindered by its treatment of the resident's pre-action letter where instead of resolving the complaint it suspended repairs.

    'We have been clear in our guidance on Pre-Action Protocol for Housing Condition Claims and service complaints that this should not be the case.

    'There was also little evidence to show that the landlord learned from the outcomes of the case.'"

    Just one small, teeny weeny problem, Clive. The landlord was MANCHESTER COUNCIL.


    This example should be escalated to show the hypocrisy of councils throughout the UK. It is shameful that many councils think it’s ok to rip off private landlords by setting up landlord registration schemes, when they don’t have their own house/s in order. It’s all about money grabbing at the expense of decent law abiding landlords. It’s shocking what we have to put up with as Landlords.

  • icon

    The reality here is the landlord that Mr Betts is talking about rarely exists is the PRS.
    Social Housing providers however... If Mr Betts gets his way many of the Hosing Associations won't have any property left!!!

  • icon

    Local authorities can’t really use management orders if they don’t have the facilities in place to maintain the properties and do the repairs so the same would apply if they were seized. If rogue landlord owners are fined and don’t pay up then attaching a charging order and forcing a sale would remove it from the rogue. The worst operators use the rent to rent model and don’t own the home so seizure wouldn’t really affect them at all. He should do his homework before spouting out this nonsense


    With a management order, the management is turned over to a local lettings agent who do repairs etc.

  • icon

    George, in years gone by families were larger no such thing as welfare state housing allowance top up my foot or anything else.
    My Grandmother was the youngest of 18 and my Grandfather married in there a brave hard working plough man and all others work when that was the season. They lived at the foot of the Mountain in a single storey Thatched House.
    Obviously no electricity / gas or anything like that, yet they were virtually self sufficient everything was home grown or sourced locally, live stock reared slaughtered and cured for extended life without freezers. Fresh water was a diverted slip stream taken from the river coming down from the lakes a quarter a mile up stream to pass adjacent to their home all excavation by hand continued to return to the same river down stream.
    People lived like that for thousands of years and were very resourceful, engineers in their own right, hardly any imports either or shipping food all over the World polluting the Planet. I sometimes think if all those people living off the system so hand outs, had to fen for themselves they wouldn’t survive, hardly able to survive now.

  • George Dawes

    Could this be the same Clive Betts ?

    Consultant Commercial Investment and Development
    private consultant property Sheffield Polytechnic


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