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Activists join Labour Mayor in criticism of private rental sector

Both the Generation Rent activist group and London Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan have issued a joint attack on private rental sector housing standards.

Khan has branded it a “scandal” that billions of pounds in rent, including more than a billion pounds from housing benefit, is ending up in the pockets of private landlords who are letting dangerous, cold or dilapidated homes across England.  

New analysis from his office claims to show that across the country, landlords are collecting £9 billion a year in rent for what he calls ‘non-decent’ privately rented homes, with £1.6 billion of this coming from housing benefit. 


The analysis claims London has the highest rent spend, with landlords receiving £3.5 billion in rent, £500m of which comes from housing benefit, every year from around 180,000 privately rented, non-decent homes in London. 

The second worst-affected region is Yorkshire and the Humber, where landlords are receiving nearly £1 billion in rent, including around £130m a year in housing benefit, from around 160,000 privately rented, non-decent properties. Meanwhile, private landlords in the South West are accumulating around £870m in rent, with more than £160m of this coming from housing benefit through letting what Khan describes as sub-standard homes. 

Khan is also repeating his long-stated call for government to abolish Section 21 eviction powers and set up a national rogue landlord database. Once again he wants the government to give him the power to freeze rents during the cost of living crisis “to stop bad landlords profiteering from poor homes and to drive up private renting standards in the capital.”

In a statement jointly with Generation Rent, Khan says: “We are building a record number of new affordable homes in London, but we need to see national action to support renters. It is a scandal that some private landlords are profiting from letting sub-standard housing that is unfit for 21st century living. 

“Renters would feel more secure raising complaints about the condition of their property if they didn’t face the threat of arbitrary eviction, which is why I have long called for Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions to be abolished. The government should also give me the power to drive up standards and introduce a rent freeze in London to help people during this cost of living crisis.  

“If we are to continue building a better London for everyone, we need the government to step up to empower our city’s renters. Ministers must urgently introduce the long-promised Renters Reform legislation, properly fund borough private rented sector enforcement teams, and increase the fines for landlords who break the rules.”

A spokesperson for Generation Rent, in the same statement to the media, says: “It is an outrage that not only can private landlords provide worse accommodation than social landlords, but they get paid more for it. Increasing reliance on the private sector to provide housing has resulted in a higher bill for the public purse with nothing to show for it but poorer living standards. 

“The government has an opportunity with the upcoming Renters Reform Bill to give private renters higher expectations of their landlord, and introduce much tougher penalties for landlords who fall short of the Decent Homes Standard.”

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    I think this is a tad unfair on the current Conservative Government. Under PM David Cameron our Conservative Government bought in the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) in 2015. It was one of the key Conservative Party's manifesto promises in 2019 to get rid of, or improve, Britain's energy wasteful house and flats. The Conservatives have shown great Leadership in this area. The opposition is always banging on about 'showing Leadership' well Cameron et al HAVE by ridding the UK of NOT fit-for-purpose units from the PRS. I'm pleased to say this is working and the direction of travel for EPCs & MEES is super-clear. Their policies encouraged both private and social landlords to improve the worst EPC Grade F and Grade G units and these were totally outlawed between 2018-20. The Conservatives are now pushing hard to improve the PRS further by outlawing energy wasteful EPC Grade D and Grade E houses and flats by 2025. This should be music to the ears for Generation Rant, General Khan and the London Marathon threatening Just Stop Oil. It appears that now only a few immature landlords are burying their heads in the sand on this issue


    You are one big wasteful resource spouting all of this hot co2 above. Please make an effort to clamp down on your own emissions!

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    Khan says it’s a scandal does he ? That billions have gone into our pockets 💰💰 well if the governments of old and today had not, and did not…. SELL ALL THE COUNCIL PROPERTIES 🆘🆘 maybe that wouldn’t of been the case, just saying 🫤

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    Oh, and let's not forget that 13 years of Green Conservative Leadership has ringed the this Sceptred Isle with off-shore wind farms that provided Britain with almost 25% of our total electricity demand last year. It is the Conservative's long-term environmental polices that are weaning us off Russian, Iranian and Qatari gas as we regain our sovereign energy security. Last autumn Britain opened the world's largest off-shore wind farm at Hornsea 2 - 50 miles east of Scarborough. It's a British Success Story and our generation's 'Concorde' engineering achievement. All under the Conservative Government. Who would have thought it?


    Stop electioneering. This is not the platform for a Conservative Party political broadcast.

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    Khan and all the other ( labour MP’s. ) don’t cast ALL private landlords in the same bracket. Some have already got their portfolio in EPC -C grade and do keep eye on things. The ones that don’t- ok address them and sort them out.


    No need for EPC C yet, it's not law and likely won't be for a long time yet

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    I thought there were various grants and energy efficiency schemes available if people housed benefit claimants. Isn't one of them called ECO4?
    So if all this free or heavily subsidized stuff is available for people housing claimants why are so many claimants living in cold or dilapidated housing?

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    Billions going into our pockets and billions going out of our pockets in taxes.... No mention of that though.

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    Jo. Why is all this stuff only available for housing Benefit Claimants its like they are given a bonus for doing nothing, they wouldn’t work to warm themselves.


    I don't really understand the rationale for it. I was talking to one of the ECO scheme people at a landlord show a while ago and it all sounded fantastic for anyone who qualified. Reading through the website this morning left me a bit confused. The way it's written it looks like landlords can apply if the property is E or below but a tenant can apply if it's D or below.

    One of my tenants has recently been signed off work due to poor health and is now on UC. His flat is currently a low D so I'm going to see if we qualify for anything. It'll be interesting to see if they can do anything as when I bought the flat it was G14 and my EPC assessor ran various what if scenarios. The best he could get it to was a D. However, one of the freeholders has since died so the remaining ones may be less opposed to cavity wall insulation.

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    There are millions of people living in what I would class as ''non decent'' homes, some rented from private landlords, a very large number rented from councils and housing associations, and even some owner occupiers, isn't the fact that they are ''non decent'' more to due with the people themselves than the property, as I've said before this country is filling up with animals, and they are not all immigrants, we have a very large number of white British animals


    Agree. Some young people can't and won't look after themselves. They want everything new and given to them. They are told they are entitled to everything. As I posted elsewhere today Wera Hobhouse is proposing a law where employees can sue their employer if a customer upsets them. What the hell is going on?

    A lot of the time tenants are their own problem. Landlords are not their mummy or daddys, or their carers!

  • John  Adams

    Kind of Ironic, perhaps Mr. Khan can have a chat with his compatriots after Friday prayers..

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    Most if not all private rental properties are occupied by the maximum permitted number of tenants with no bedrooms or public rooms left unoccupied.

    Many owner occupied properties have one or more spare bedrooms and several public rooms. Owner occupiers tend to buy a home that's too big for them before they have the family they plan and tend to stay on after their grown up family have flown the nest.

    Given this, how is encouraging Landlords to sell to owner occupiers going to help any housing shortage?

    How is imposing a 3%(6% in Scotland) stamp duty penalty on Landlords purchasing additional properties and charging up to 60% or more marginal income tax rates on rental revenue (not profit) going to help availability of quality rental properties at affordable rents?


    I don't understand why occupancy levels and best utilisation of housing stock isn't considered to be far more important.
    The PRS has fewest spare bedrooms, so clearly best utilizes the assets it controls.
    Owner occupiers can have whatever they can afford and the cost of moving incentivises them to move as infrequently as possible, so clearly they are going to have surplus rooms for chunks of their ownership.
    It's Social Housing that is baffling. People whinging about the bedroom tax but being unable to downsize. Surely it would make sense for Social Housing providers to build large numbers of retirement housing for people to downsize into, thereby freeing up desperately needed family size housing.

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    Why are they blaming us for the Govt & LA's failure to build social housing? Why are they blaming us for their failure to enforce the law?


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