Housing

Nearly 100 MPs earned more than £10,000 as landlords in the last 12 months

Nearly 100 MPs earned more than £10,000 as landlords over the last year, research shows, as the Renter's Reform Bill returns to the commons.

Protesters with coloured placards

Campaigners outside parliament to protest amendments to the Renters Reform Bill, 23 October 2023. Image: Zuma Press Inc./Alamy

Nearly 100 MPs earned more than £10,000 as landlords over the last year, new research has revealed.

New analysis shows a total of 72 Conservative MPs declared rental income over £10,000 from English residential properties in the 12 months to 15 April. The Labour Party had 18 English landlord MPs and the Liberal Democrats two.

The figures – released by campaign group 38 Degrees – come as the long-awaited Renters Reform Bill returns to the House of Commons for its third reading.

Campaigners are urging MPs to resist proposals that would water down the bill, including the postponing of a promised ban on no-fault evictions. Landlord MPs have a particular responsibility to get the Bill right, said Matthew McGregor, 38 Degrees CEO.

“While there’s nothing inherently wrong with MPs making money through the rental system, those who do must show they’re putting the interests of millions of vulnerable tenants over financial gain for landlords.”

“All MPs – but especially those whose tenants, as well as constituents, are counting on them to reform our broken system – need to make sure this overdue bill finally fulfils the promises made to millions of renters.”

Landlords in the cabinet include chancellor Jeremy Hunt – who owns seven rented apartments in Southampton – as well as education secretary Gillian Keegan and justice secretary Alex Chalk.

Additional research from Sky News identified more than 100 MPs who had made over £10,000 as landlords since the current parliament started sitting in 2019 – 83 Tories, 18 Labour, four Lib Dems and one SNP MP.

What is the renters reform bill?

In 2019, Theresa May promised to axe no-fault evictions, as known as Section 21 evictions, and strengthen the rights of tenants.

Five years – and 26,000 no-fault evictions – later, and it’s still not passed into law.

The bill returns to the commons today (Wednesday April 24), but campaigners have warned that amendments to “bolster landlord protections” have watered down the bill. These include putting the no-fault evictions ban on hold for the foreseeable future by requiring court reforms first.

Landlord associations have welcomed the “balanced” court reform amendments. Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said that “the bill delivers a fair deal for tenants and responsible landlords”.

But campaigners aren’t happy. Such a non-specific degree of reform “kicks [the ban] into the long grass,” said Jon Tabbush, senior researcher at Centre for London.

“The bill was meant to fundamentally rebalance the relationship between landlords and tenants,” he said. “At best, it will make incremental improvements – creating a private rented property portal, for example. At worst, it will actively harm tenants’ rights.”

In its current form, the Renters Reform Bill will be a “failure”, according to a Renter’s Reform Coalition statement co-signed by 20 leading housing charities and campaign groups.

“Instead of engaging with us, the bill has been watered down again and again by the government, with several rounds of damaging concessions to backbench MPs that have fundamentally weakened it,” they said.

ACORN, a community union, slammed vested interests for compromising the bill.

“For five years we’ve had promises from the government that they would change this, but after years of feet dragging and with the bill being watered down to appease backbench Tory MPs and landlord lobbyists, it looks like this is an opportunity lost and a promise broken,” spokesperson Martin Mawdsley said.

The true figure of MPs who are also landlords may be higher than the 38 Degrees analysis suggests, as MPs only have to declare rental income of more than £10,000 per year.

A further 30 MPs owned declarable residential property worth more than £100,000 in England but with no declarable rental income – it is possible that some of these properties may bring in rent of less than £10,000 per year.

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