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Tenants should live rent-free until 2021 says prominent economist

An economist who previously suggested tenants should live rent-free for three months during the Coronavirus crisis has revised his thinking - and now he wants tenants to pay no rent at all until at least 2021.

The call has come from Richard Murphy, a chartered accountant and political economist who works as Professor of Practice in International Political Economy at the University of London. He has also founded a range of networks campaigning for tax and economic reforms.

Murphy contributes think pieces for the website of Tax Research UK, which undertakes work on taxation policy for aid agencies, unions, NGOs and others in the UK and abroad. 


In his blog on its website he says there must now be “statutory rent holidays” for at least the rest of 2020. 

“Thereafter rents should be reduced, drastically, and by law, and right across the board. Eighty per cent cuts may be appropriate. It may be more. Whatever is necessary to ensure business can survive must be done” he claims.

As if that was not enough, later in his blog he goes on to say: “I should add that because such a programme of liability reduction would make no sense for landlords alone if not matched by a similar scheme for owner-occupiers, who I predict will see the value of their houses crash in the near future as it becomes apparent that there is no market for them at anything like recent prices then they too must have a statutory right to owe no more on a mortgage than can reasonably exceed the market worth of their property.”

Murphy additionally asks what will become of landlords? 

He says: “For small ones, I have argued for state support, just as I have other unemployed people. I can see no special case that might be made for such landlords now, especially since what I suggest will preserve some of their asset value, and an income stream, albeit a much reduced one.

“For larger landlords, the suggested arrangement will massively reduce the balance sheet value of the enterprise . It is very likely that these landlords will survive, but with vastly smaller market worth, and with their focus in the future being upon service supply, rather than asset accumulation.”

Poll: Is there any case for tenants being 'let off' their rent in the current crisis?


  • jeremy clarke

    Professor? Accountant? Sounds to me like he's just visiting earth and hasn't a clue, still the next rocket to take him back to the planet notaclue will be along very soon.

  • dale james

    He's always been anti capitalist! Don't where to start with the guy except that my father always used to say to me 'not everyone has the right to an opinion, you should make sure that you research your subject to make sure you have all the information to form that opinion'.

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    Sadly the intense stress of the current situation has caused an increase in mental illness, I'm afraid his ideas are so bizarre, anti democratic and just plain immoral, it is difficult to think he is anything else.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Why only ' Rent free ', why not All mortgages, and why stop there, why not free food at supermarkets and free power from the utility companies ?
    Am I being ridiculous - ? - well Murphy started it ( to be sure, put it down to a blond moment )

    PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    attributing Blonds to Murphy is a great dis-service to them, I apologise ladies.
    Did Murphy study with Diane Abbott at Cambridge by any chance ?

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    I would suggest professor Murphy starts pronto investing in property than try his little theory out .
    Than report back in 18 months time from the bridge he'll be living under .

  • James B

    This guy is clearly attention grabbing to try and get into the communist headlines .. he’s probably trying to get a job in the Labour Party

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    Ive met quite a few lecturers and so called professors at the local university in our town, most like this one seem to be a bunch of w.....s

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    As the saying goes 'those who can do and those who can't teach'
    We should add to this saying - or go into politics or become criminals.
    Lets face it with the news today that the planeload of PPE that we flew in from Turkey is stuck in a warehouse and as it does not comply with BRITISH requirements it can not be distributed. Now whoever bought them and arranged for them to be collected obviously went into politics and became a criminal at the same time. This is shameful for our 'we are working night and day' and 'we will do everything we can' lot in charge of our country.
    This 'Prof' needs adding to the list.

  • Julian Arundel

    As a working agent with two BTL's in my rural village, i take great exception to this 'economics expert' telling my tenants they can stay there rent free. Is that also free of the usual landlord expenditure on repairs, maintenance and compliances? I assume that Professor Murphy lives in a maintenance free cave or maybe a tent.
    The men in white coats will find him hiding there soon i hope.

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    • 07 May 2020 11:04 AM

    No wonder universities are turning out a load of lefty snowflakes.

    What a waste of tuition fees being indoctrinated by this idiot.
    How did he EVER become a professor!?
    He should be sectioned!!

    The poor children receiving a dud education from this idiot.

  • dale james

    Another example of the difference between knowledge and wisdom I'm afraid.

  • Matthew Payne

    His blog is about business survival and commercial rents, if LAT are suggesting he is talking about Resi tenants they are misquoting him and setting hares running.


    Keep reading, Matthew.
    "The things that we have treated as stores of value - which are mainly shares and both commercial and residential property - are massively overvalued now."
    "But I stress, even if we are concerned that the property sector might collapse that is not a reason to priorities the interests of landlords. They have to be at the bottom of the pile for support right now. In other words, the government has everything the wrong way round."

    Dear Lord, if talking was an Olympic sport, Richard Murphy would take Gold, Silver and Bronze.

    Matthew Payne

    Yes I read it, its 4000 words long and thats the only mention to Resi in his intro paragraph explaining why there will be an economic crash. His blog is really about an economic collapse, how businesses will cope, banks and pensions - he isnt talking about the property market. When he comes to talk about lower rents it is in the paragraphs where is solely focussed on how businesses will need funding, need to find ways to survive and one of them is with his proposed solution on rents. When he talks about landlords, it is always in context of their business tenants.

    Matthew Payne

    And I'm not fond of his politics dont get me wrong, he is one of JCs buddies, but everyone deserves a fair trial!

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    Some very funny comments but I think Matthew has it right. He wasn't talking about residential tenants

    Editor give him a chance to clarify. Poor guy

    That said if he is talking residential rents then all that is said is valid!

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Residential, - Commercial - why do we distinguish ? isn't the principle the same
    Everything has to be paid for.
    Bail one business out and you have to Bail them All out.
    Make Commercial rents free for large Restaurant etc Chains and why not make Residential Rents free, - Because that's what Resi tenants would use as their argument.
    Lets not be short-sighted or have Tunnel-vision here.
    Basically, the virus has made NOTHING Free, - even all the Govt financial handouts have to be paid by the tax-payer over next several years.

    Matthew Payne

    There were a few blood vessels about to burst in the trail above, so I thought I would just clarify that he wasnt talking about Resi for change, that's all, no other reason for the distinction.

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    Is he related to Jeromy Corbin. This guy is on another planet.

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    • 07 May 2020 14:02 PM

    Commercial or residential.
    No difference.
    He is still expecting Commercial LL to provide FREE renting.
    Clearly ludicrous.
    But if Govt paid the rent by reducing business rates to the equivalent of rent then LL wouldn't be losing out.
    The Councils would.
    So Govt would have to fund the effective loss of business rates.

    Govt might consider that a wise expenditure to keep businesses afloat.
    That would be a political decision but if made it would mean Commercial LL not losing out.
    Effectively Govt would be paying the rent.

    Whether that would be wise is up for debate.
    It would be a sort of quasi nationalisation for a period.

    It has been Govt that has caused these business problems so using taxpayer monies to bail out these businesses might be considered appropriate.

    But any bailout for firms would require them to change their tax domicile to the UK.
    No tax havens allowed and No dividend payments allowed while taking Govt monies.
    When you think how much the taxpayer was forced to cough up for the BANKSTERS supporting business through these difficult times is perhaps a far better use of such taxpayer monies than it ever was bailing out the banks.

    The banks caused their own problems.
    Most businesses were doing OK until hit by CV19 shutdowns.
    DON'T believe it is fair they should be put out of business because of compliance with Govt edicts etc.

    So free rent by all means but with LL reimbursed by Govt

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    What an absolute plank. Words fail me. Like his students, he's obviously taken far too many drugs.

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    People like him are dangerous to the extreme. His views are not educated or informed despite his academic title. He is a jerk. A Narcissist who hates anyone who he believes has more or is different and loves media attention. As a professor he makes around £70k a year in salary plus perks. May be his salary should drop to that of an online tutor during this crisis. After all that is what he now is. I'm sure he'd manage!

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    • 08 May 2020 10:08 AM

    He is the apotheosis of a socialist idiot.
    Socialism never works unless in wartime or as in the CV19 situation.
    It is simply NOT a viable economic mechanism.
    Eventually socialists run out of other peoples' money as the last Labour Govt so helpfully advised the incoming Coalition Govt that there was no more money.

    One can binge on socialism for a while but eventually reality hits.

    Socialists would do far better to actively encourage capitalism with obviously suitable checks and balances and slowly and gently tax the capitalists not so they notice that much and also not to put them off making money keeping them in the UK.
    This is usually what the Tories do except more recently for the PRS.
    There the Tories are simply Labour in Tory clothing.
    But at times of National Emergency Socialism is a perfectly valid methodology to support the Nation through a crisis.
    But normal economy circumstances must be returned to as soon as the emergency is over.
    It took until 2006 to repay 1st and 2nd World War debt.
    It will take to at least 2150 before all the GFC and CV19 debts are paid.

    But Socialist spending is definitely the right thing to do during this emergency period.
    The bill will be paid by at least 3 generations.

    But this Socialist response DOESN'T involve hanging out LL to dry.

    The State must pay these Commercial rents.
    This idiot professor is mad to believe that Commercial LL shouldn't be paid their contractual rent.
    Govt must assist those businesses to pay their rent.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Posted a piece about the " Residential versus Commercial Possession " differences on our facebook page earlier.

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