MP Landlords Accused of ‘Profiting From Broken Housing System’ While Tenants Suffer

An investigation has revealed the significant influence of landlord MPs on proposed amendments to the renters’ reform bill, sparking debates over the balance between landlord interests and tenant protections in the UK. Here’s the full story.

Not a Good Look

The image of the Conservative Party as the party of the old landed gentry, the rich and the powerful, has been buoyed by a recent analysis by the Renters Reform Coalition.

The analysis has shown that an alarming number of MPs attempting to amend the renter’s reform bill in the UK are landlords. The potential watering down of this legislation, aimed at strengthening tenant rights and protections, has led to criticism and calls for accountability.

Among the 47 Conservative backbenchers who have signed up for amendments to the renter’s reform bill, 14 are landlords, who collectively rent out 52 properties. 

MPs, including the right-wing traditionalist Jacob Rees-Mogg, advocate for a review of county courts’ operations by Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities, before implementing a ban on no-fault evictions.

Direct Impact

Housing campaigners have pointed out that these MPs advocate changes that could directly impact the bill’s implementation and benefit their interests. 

The proposed amendments make it easier for landlords to evict tenants over claims of antisocial behaviour. This goes against the bill’s stated goal, which seeks to ban no-fault evictions and improve rights for England’s private renters.

Campaigners have raised concerns that the proposed changes may delay or dilute the reforms, leaving renters with limited improvements or legal protections for their housing security. 

Tom Darling, campaign manager of the Renters’ Reform Coalition, stressed, “Those profiting from our broken housing system shouldn’t impede or weaken reforms intended to afford renters greater rights.”

Court Review

Some of the landlord MPs are calling for a review of the county courts’ operations before implementing the ban on no-fault evictions. 

Critics have claimed this demand is a delaying tactic that will prolong the legislative process, potentially pushing it out past the election. This delay would only add to the uncertainty that renters feel over the current precarious state of renting in England. 

The proposal to allow hearsay evidence to justify evictions for antisocial behaviour has raised serious questions about the balance between landlord and tenant rights. Landlords, such as the MPs, are looking for measures to address disruptive behaviour promptly at their properties. 

Procedures and Protections

In response, tenant groups emphasise the importance of fair procedures and protections against arbitrary evictions. 

The surge in no-fault evictions, evidenced by a 49% increase in families displaced from their homes, underscores the dire need for legislative action and reform. 

Housing charities have emphasised that no-fault evictions are a significant contributor to homelessness and have stressed that robust tenant protections would help save families and individuals from living on the streets. 

This is against the backdrop of homeless rates increasing dramatically across the country. 

Shelter Statistics

According to Shelter, a charity that works with homeless individuals and families, homelessness surged significantly in 2023, with over 3,000 individuals sleeping rough nightly. 

The figures make for a bleak reading, with 279,400 people residing in temporary accommodations, primarily families. In response to the damning figures and the analysis from the Renters Reform Coalition, some MPs included in the landlord list defended their actions. 

Desmond Swayne, who rents out two properties, stated, “There is a proper debate to be had as to whether the extent of the proposals will reduce the availability of rented accommodation and so make greater difficulties for potential tenants.”

Swayne also emphasised his commitment to transparency and that any interests he had were properly declared. The other landlord MPs have yet to comment. 

Government Ban

Michael Gove, head of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities, gave an update on the government’s stance on no-fault evictions on BBC One’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, stating, “We will have outlawed it and we will put the money into the courts to ensure that they can enforce it.” 

The involvement of landlord MPs in shaping amendments to the renter’s reform bill should perhaps be of little surprise considering the massive disparity in income between regular citizens and MPs. 

However, despite these apparent conflicts of interest, MPs must attempt to strike a balance between landlord concerns and the rights of their tenants. 

As in life, in politics, perception is everything, and the image of landlords voting on renters’ rights may not be one Rishi Sunak wishes to take with him into the forthcoming election. 

The post MP Landlords Accused of ‘Profiting From Broken Housing System’ While Tenants Suffer first appeared on Pulse365 Limited.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Vitalii Vodolazskyi.

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