Call for a rent freeze because ‘landlords can afford it’

Call for a rent freeze because ‘landlords can afford it’

11:10 AM, 24th February 2023, About 4 weeks ago 79

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An open letter has been signed by rent activists, trade unions and several Labour Mayors, including Sadiq Khan, calling for the housing minister Michael Gove to implement a private rent freeze and an eviction ban in England to help tenants in the ‘current rental crisis’.

The letter stresses that since landlords earn an average of £55,415 – before rental income – they can afford not to increase rents.

The letter has been organised by the London Renters’ Union (LRU) and highlights that half of private renters in the country are struggling with their housing costs – and ‘huge numbers of renters are facing homelessness in the coming months’. In London, they say that four in five renters are struggling.

The open letter states: “Landlords, with the encouragement of letting agents, are using this crisis as an opportunity to introduce rent hikes. In September 2022 alone, one million renters faced a rent increase.”

‘Landlords will be struggling with increased mortgage costs’

The letter goes on: “Some landlords will be struggling with increased mortgage costs, but many will not.

“Generation Rent research shows that just 11% of rent increases in 2022 were the result of higher mortgage rates. Just under half of rental properties have a mortgage and most of those have ‘interest only’ mortgages.

“The vast majority of landlords have far greater financial resilience to weather the storm ahead, with the median annual income of landlords before their income from rent is taken into account at £55,415. In comparison, many renters are low paid, in precarious work and have no savings or assets.

“Some landlords that are facing increased mortgage costs are trying to pass those costs on to renters that simply cannot afford it.”

Signed by Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London

The letter has also been signed by several charities, think tanks and the Green party along with Liverpool city region mayor Steve Rotheram, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham as well as Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London.

A spokesperson for the LRU said: “Millions are being squeezed by falling wages and rising rents. The government has the power to protect people from unaffordable rent rises, but it is choosing instead to preside over a wild west rental market that is punishing the people who kept the country going through the pandemic.

“A rent freeze now is the only way to address the scale and urgency of the crisis, and would represent a step towards a stronger housing system that meets everyone’s needs.”

Cost of living pressures being faced by tenants

A spokesperson for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said the government recognises the cost-of-living pressures being faced by tenants and has delivered £1,200 of direct support to millions of households over the past year, including £400 towards energy costs.

Another £1,350 of support will be going to the most vulnerable households over the next year.

The spokesperson added: “Evidence shows rent controls in the private sector do not work, leading to declining standards and a lack of investment – and may encourage illegal subletting.”

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22:20 PM, 26th February 2023, About 4 weeks ago

Another example of stupidity by local councils backed or encouraged by Mayor of London is the grand scheme of so called Selective licensing.
This is a true dilemma facing a small couple with a child of 9 years, they managed to rent a room with a cousin whose change in circumstances is forcing the couple to find another accommodation as his own family living abroad is coming back, so his cousin must find an alternative place.
The Husband works 30hrs and earns £14K, take home pay, he paid £750 rent for a room including all bills, Wife does not go to work, she looks after her daughter.
So She asked me if I have a room to let, and I said yes I actually happen to have a vacant room size 16' x 12' and a bay window extends another 18" by 6 foot wide, so it is a big master bedroom,
in an HMO, but here is the problem which I told her has been created by the local council by introducing Selective and Additional licensing requirements, and I asked her did you vote for Labour? to which she said yes, and I then said well you are now reaping the result of your vote, so if you want to make a complaint go to your local council and tell them how they have effectively made her homeless. and the reason is they cannot afford to rent two rooms, as the rent for two rooms is anything like £1200 - £1400 in East London, but my master bedroom 16 x 12 is not suitable for 3 persons restricted by the licensing condition which stipulates that maximum number of persons in any of my rooms is for 2 persons of any age.
Yet these couples were quite happy staying with a cousin in one smaller room 13' x 10' which is what they could afford, at £750pcm including bills, so soon they will be homeless, I cannot put them in my even bigger room as I would be breaching my licensing conditions.
So I asked have they registered with any lettings agents, and the answer is yes but there are no suitable rooms available for 3 persons, and if they tried looking for a two bedroom flat, the rent is £1400 pcm plus the bills and Council Tax which they cannot afford, on top of that the lettings agent wants a guarantor which his cousin is not willing to do, or is not in a position to do.
So there you go who is responsible for high rents, which all landlords have to now accomodate extra and additional rules and measures needed to get a licence to rent, driving standards higher also means rents becoming unaffordable, but majority of tenants have been brainwashed by local councils that they are driving out rogue landlords, these are the very rogue landlords who can home some of the poorest people, be it at the expense of slightly downgraded properties or some degree of overcrowding, tenants real enemy is the very incompetent and greedy bunch of people they voted in, who are setting these renting strict rules such that low paid people are now finding it hard to rent a suitable accomodation.


22:29 PM, 26th February 2023, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Sold at 26/02/2023 - 16:44
If the old double glazing wasn't leaking then new double glazing won't make the slightest difference.
An extension, as long as it's weatherproof actually adds to the insulation of the house. As it's a flat roof are you saying that rain water or anything doesn't run off ?
The double glazing in my bungalow must be 30 years old . As far as I know it is sound except for (and this is quite ironic) a panel ,which is obviously leaking air , in the conservatory on the back. The back bedroom has the same wooden windows since it was built in 1967 (my parents and now myself have owned it since it was built) but the EPC inspector gave it a C rating because of the conservatory (which spans across the back bedroom) having double glazing - even though it is leaking air. Maybe he was in a very good mood that day .


23:31 PM, 26th February 2023, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by PH at 26/02/2023 - 22:29In which case I don't know why the double glazing has been given a lower rating as its just older. The double glazing on the last EPC was "good" new EPC is "average". As for the new extension by previous owner, I say "flat" roof but it is slightly pitched (not sure why its decribed as flat in the EPC). I don't know if the previous owner put insulation in as the ceiling is plastered and I assume no way of telling without destruction. The EPC assessor didn't know either as they put "no insulation (assumed)" then labeled it "very poor".

Mick Roberts

5:47 AM, 27th February 2023, About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Mike at 26/02/2023 - 22:20
You say it very well Mike.
Council & Govt think all tenants are paying top whack rent, so Landlords WILL HAVE TO do the top class latest standards.
It's something like 60% of Landlords han't done rent increases for existing tenants.
As in your case, you say they were perfectly happy paying X for X. Govt want them to have Z which tenants can't afford, so they now homeless.
Govt & Councils are making property unaffordable for low earning tenants.

I'll keep repeating this, as applies to many attacks on us lately.

Who's paying for this then?
Cause if tenants are paying cheap rent ie. Landlord looking after em, & then maybe £5000 or £30,000 to upgrade from E to a C, Landlord then says I can no longer look after u with cheap rent. Cheap rent doesn't pay for these outgoings, I've now got to charge u what the Landlord is charging his better off tenants up the road who's paying more to live in that New build.

I've got to start telling tenants soon You can't live here past 2028 anyway, Govt say u can't if EPC not a C. And your rent doesn't pay for a C.

Has anyone asked the tenants what they want? We know they want the better house, but when u give them choice I can give u New build for £1000pm or EPC C for £900pm, or still decent house EPC D but not New build standards for £700pm or £550pm I know what virtually all my tenants say.


10:20 AM, 27th February 2023, About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Sold at 26/02/2023 - 23:31
I think this proves that EPC ratings are not standard across the country. If double glazing has no air leaks then how can it be classed as average. Re the extension - again it has been ASSUMED that there's no insulation therefore it should've been investigated. Personally I would investigate myself , it's not too difficult to get access into the ceiling and hold your phone inside to take pictures / video. I would make an access point like a loft hatch so that future proper inspections can be made . If it's not insulated I'd get that done and maybe change inspector next time.


11:41 AM, 27th February 2023, About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by PH at 27/02/2023 - 10:20
Thanks didn't realise, will get this sorted.

Brian Williamson

13:23 PM, 27th February 2023, About 3 weeks ago

I find it difficult to comprehend that these people who have been given such responsibilities are so incompetent.
They don’t seem to have a basic understanding of business/commerce within this industry sector; or do they have a great understanding and know exactly how to manipulate to keep their own interests afloat?
I have been a landlord for 15 years now with a mix of family homes and HMOs.
I do the very best I can for all of my tenants, I certainly look out for their welfare in many different ways, but one of the main ways is that I have not increased rents for the past 4 years.
Everybody is suffering right now so I’ve been trying to do my best and do my bit, as I know many landlords have also been doing - we are not the bad guys as painted by the media. Unfortunately though I’ve just had the latest fuel bills through and they have more than quadrupled for both gas and electric across the portfolio. Obviously, as we all know mortgages have increased, council tax has increased considerably over the past four years, along with everything else associated with a rental portfolio.
I have been holding on by the skin of my teeth trying not to raise rents, but this freeze threat is forcing my hand, I have absolutely no choice but to increase rents ASAP - certainly before any such legislation is passed.
I’m going to have to get rent increases out to my tenants quickly and change gears into survival mode if I want to keep a roof over their heads.
I know my tenants have a great deal of respect for me, I know they will understand why I will have to increase the rent now; the simple alternative is I end up having to sell the portfolio making 70+ people homeless - from feelers I have put out over the past few months - nobody is interested with an investment in rental properties right now – and who can blame them?
People are not stupid, we all understand this is a vote marketing strategy for them. I wonder what will happen when more private landlords do sell up. Obviously this will result in a terrible property shortage with more people on the streets, with higher rents reflecting that shortage – let’s see how many votes this brings in then?
What these Government ministers are doing is increasing the rent for my tenants sooner than I would have had to implement the increases, and if the freeze is going to be for more than a year, I will have no choice but to incorporate a higher increase than I would have normally anticipated - we all know which way utility costs and borrowing is heading and we will have to ensure that we protect our tenants now and we’re able to continue to be able to afford investing in a rental property, and to put a roof over their heads.
What is needed is support from the Government - not senior members of the establishment looking out for their own health and well-being.
Selling up and putting the money in the hands of an investment specialist appeals more and more each day.


14:13 PM, 27th February 2023, About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Brian Williamson at 27/02/2023 - 13:23
I totally agree with you. I have been a landlord for 40 years now and my tenants have all been in for 15 years +. I haven't raised the rent in the last 5 years (ok maybe bad on my part) but I was making a nice profit, keeping the houses in a good state of repair etc. but am unfortunately going to have to raise the rents. Not sure if they will be able to afford an increase at the minute.
As you pointed out the governent don't seem to have a clue. The problem is that they the majority of them are career politicians and in the old days this would have meant that they were most likely the more intelligent people in the population. Times have changed people are well educated, connected and informed and politicians just like a lot GP's have not moved with the times. The average member of the population has just as much if not more of an idea about business and finance at a grass roots level than these people. The last time I was at the doctors with a problem with my son the doctor literally Google the symptoms whilst I was there and the gave the the suggestions from the website. So much for my two week wait to see them. I had already Googled and found the site two weeks earlier. Politicans are the same and many are not longer fit for purpose, particularly the politcally elite who are sitting at the top. The system needs to change as it, like many other systems in the UK are totally broken. Not only am I thinking of selling up but am also thinking of getting off the sinking ship called the UK before it reaches full blown crisis situation.


14:39 PM, 27th February 2023, About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Andrew57 at 27/02/2023 - 14:13
Well said, couldn't agree more 👍

Giànluca Portadibasso

15:22 PM, 27th February 2023, About 3 weeks ago

I love the comments on this post 😂.
It is very weird that landlord have to have they rent frozen but all energies supply company don’t, food supply company don’t and so on . Just like pandemic . They announce in the bbc news that landlord have to come to a compromise with the tenants if they are short on rent . All of my tenants stopped paying and said you have got mortgage holidays anyway. Cheers , I lost like 30k during that time. But hey. I could afford it as they explained. What a joke.
Now I’m about to spend 50k on a renovation so I can meet all the regs and I will have to put the rent up just to balance the expense of those costs plus to support the new tax system which combined with the higher interest is a real profit killer . How is a landlord able to cover costs / maintain the properties to good standard when the rent is frozen and the costs around the sector are constantly increasing , building material plus labour works , taxes and licences .
Remove s24 at list which is a robbery outright.

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