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Graham Awards


Mick Lynch and Labour Mayors accuse agents of pushing up rents

RMT rail union leader Mick Lynch and Labour leaders including Andy Burnham and Sadiq Khan are leading a call for an immediate private rent freeze.

They claim that landlords “with the encouragement of letting agents” are using the cost of living crisis as an opportunity to introduce rent hikes.

The left wingers have been joined by a large number of less high profile Labour council chiefs, plus Green Party leaders, anti-landlord activists and charities in signing an open letter on the subject to Housing Secretary Michael Gove.


The letter says:

Dear Rt Hon Mr Michael Gove MP,

We are writing to urge the government to follow the Scottish government and introduce an immediate freeze on rents, to help renters weather the worst of the cost of living crisis and help prevent huge numbers of renters facing homelessness in the coming months. 

Rising costs of food and energy mean millions are struggling to make ends meet.  Last year 2.5 million renters were behind or constantly struggling to pay their rent.

At the same time, rents have been skyrocketing across the UK, rising fastest in Manchester, Bristol, Sheffield and Birmingham, reaching as high as 20.5 per cent.

Rents in London have gone up 17.5 per cent on average last up year, and rent increases of 30-50 per cent are increasingly common.

Renters are among the worst affected by the cost of living crisis. Prior to this crisis, renters were already spending four to five times as much as owner-occupiers on housing. 

Yet 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.

Some landlords will be struggling with increased mortgage costs, but many will not. 

Generation Rent research shows that just 11 per cent 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. 

People living in private rented housing are all too often forgotten by the government. 

During the pandemic, the government introduced a temporary freeze for mortgage holders, but nothing close in comparison for those renting. Renters are still desperately waiting for the ban on no-fault evictions that the Government has been promising since 2019. Since last year there has been a 121.1 per cent increase in the number of households served a section 21 notice.

It comes as no surprise that 1.7 million households could become homelessness in these colder months. 

The immediate support renters need in the crisis is clear. The Scottish government has introduced a freeze on rents until at least March 2023, with an accompanying ban on evictions. 

However, the Scottish government does not have the power to embed support for low income mortgage holders within a rent freeze, whilst our Government does. 

A rent freeze could be accompanied by support for mortgage holders – ensuring renters and lower income homeowners do not lose their homes through the crisis.

The Mayor of London has repeatedly called for such measures to be introduced in England and Wales. A rent freeze would immediately relieve pressure on millions of people and halt an eviction crisis that would have a devastating social impact, and cost local councils and the government millions. 

The Government must now act to protect renters. We therefore call on the government to follow the lead of the Scottish government and:

- Introduce an immediate freeze on rents to protect renters;

- Implement an immediate ban on evictions until the cost of living crisis is over; 

- Deliver on the commitment to end section 21 by fast tracking the much-delayed Renters Reform Bill.

  • icon

    Reduce the amount of income these champagne socialists receive, freeze the amount of power these non government, unelected society wreckers enjoy.
    Politics of envy and a new Bolshevik revolution is on its way.
    They won’t be happy until all PRS landlords are shot and their heads are on stakes.
    Perhaps we should all sell up and go on income support, that would enrich the country.

  • Billy the Fish

    A good opposition political strategy really, look what happened to Sturgeon after she implemented the rent freeze

  • icon

    So landlords have not been affected by the cost of living then? Their mortgages, service charges etc have not increased like the rest of the country, how ridiculous to assume that all landlords are rich and can afford to subsidise tenants. Why should they, what about the landlords that have had to rent their property out because they cannot afford to live in it?

  • Roger  Mellie

    Rents in London went up 17.5% in the last year, but they fail to mention rents dropped 20-30% over Covid. These people are not economists, Mick and his band of merry men are just a bunch of tin rattlers.

  • icon

    Keep going, guys. You are just making the situation worse by encouraging landlords to sell up.


    You are wrong, instead of bending over and taking , the more landlords that sell and homelessness increases the more likely government will have to rethink their punitive approach to land lords.
    Don’t forget this is a business and not a left wing funded charity!


    @ peter baker, I am getting out, not bending over and taking". Perhaps you should read my comment again.

  • Kristjan Byfield

    Rent freezes and rent controls have often proved to actually deliver HIGHER rents as they are not structured in the simplistic way people think. However, implementing them WILL scare off more landlords, causing them to exit to the 2nd home/holiday market sector (according to The Times 29 properties a day are already doing this) or sell up- taking multiple occupancy properties out of the rental market. All of these organisations and politicians need to stop attacking landlords and their agents and attack central and local government for a revolving door of housing ministers, non-existent housing policies, non-existent planning strategies, poor use of gov/council-owned land and buildings for redevelopment, not building enough homes of the right types for the right segments of society. These are the people to blame.

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    • C S
    • 24 February 2023 11:14 AM

    It's staggering how little these people actually understand about what drives rental prices & the market in general. A little knowledge is indeed a dangerous thing.

  • Kieran Ryan

    They fail to quantify why rents have increased? Answer: Mass exodus of private landlords due to never ending Tax assistance? Government interfearance has gone too far in the private rented sector, its NOT worth being a landlord anymore, there are better ways of investing now without the dangers!!

  • icon

    Go on Mick my son, keep to the day job demanding higher wages within your socialist utopia and blaming anybody with balls enough to provide/invest in solutions such as HOUSING because your cohort within the councils can't! FFS!

  • John Ahmed

    Mick should stick to his day Job!
    Time sunak legislated the unions into common sense, as for Labour Mayor's again stick to making public appearances and stop talking about what you do not understand!
    Apart from the lack of housing these calls will exasperate they will also cause landlords to increase rents higher than they may have done!
    Buffoons !

    Barry X

    I'm not sure that "Mick should stick to his day job"... ideally I'd like to see him and the whole self-interested, incompetent bunch of them out of work altogether... the only snag is that there replacements would be even worse, i.e. real Labour, instead of the dumb Tories-in-Labour-clothing trying to out-Labour them.

    Sadly it seems there's nobody left to vote for who not only knows what they are doing and is capable of doing it properly but who is also able to get themselves elected and with a sufficient majority to actually deliver what's required to start repairing some of the damage.

  • icon

    Why don't they call for a freeze on grocery and energy prices? If those are the things creating a cost of lockdown crisis surely you'd start there? No pick on the LL instead.


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