Please Note: This Article is 3 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.


In a continuing war on buy-to-let landlords, Labour’s shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, has said he could give tenants the chance to buy their rented homes from their landlords at a discounted price. He stated that such a policy would be a “great and radical” solution to the “burgeoning buy-to-let market”

McDonnell said he hoped it would reverse the fall in affordable housing seen after the Thatcher government’s decision to allow council housing tenants to buy their homes. Speaking to the Financial Times, Mr McDonnell said:

“We’ve got a large number of landlords who are not maintaining these properties and are causing overcrowding and problems. In my street now… a third of the houses are right-to-buy, badly maintained, overcrowded. It’s horrendous. You’d want to establish what is a reasonable price, you can establish that, and then that becomes the right to buy.” The Government would set the criteria. “I don’t think it’s complicated.”

Although this is not yet Labour Party policy Jeremy Corbyn had raised the prospect of introducing a tenants’ right to buy policy back in 2015 and a report commissioned by Labour earlier this year recommends rent caps for buy-to-let landlords, indefinite period tenancies and an end to no-fault evictions.

Michael Fabricant a Conservative MP, a former vice-chairman of the Conservative Party, hit back on the policy, telling the MailOnline: “McDonnell has promised he would overturn the mixed-economy capitalist system if he came to power. This manoeuvre is just the start. It would decimate the rental market in the UK, creating a shortage of properties available to rent.”

Responding to McDonnell’s proposal, David Smith, Policy Director for the Residential Landlords Association said:

“Labour’s proposal would effectively kill off a large part of the private rented sector denying a home to many thousands of people. If there was to be any chance of this becoming law, there would be a mass sell-off of properties in advance.

“The RLA is all in favour of landlords selling to sitting tenants but it must be entirely voluntary. Anything else amounts to a form of compulsory purchase.”  

The RICS’ latest Residential Market Survey can be accessed here  It warns of rent increases as a result of the demand for private rented housing outstripping supply.

Please Note: This Article is 3 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.


  1. Am I reading this right? I have worked hard my whole life and purchased 2 buy to let properties to support me in my old age in absence of any pension. If I understand what is being proposed here, if I paid GBP200,000 for a property which is currently rented out, the labor party if it gets into power would have the right to value my property at any price deemed applicable, and force me to sell at a huge loss, effectively stripping me of my life savings and my pension?

    How can this even be possible in a democratic society? Surely this is theft and completely unethical. This is the kind of action we read about in dictatorships and corrupt countries, not a country where I was raised by working class parents to work hard, earn my own income/pension and not rely on the state for hand outs. This is how a labor government would treat me for my lifetime of hard work to keep myself from being a burden to future taxpayers?

    As a lifelong labor supporter, I am devastated by what I am reading here. The families I rent to are lovely people who I get on with greatly. They only have to ask, and I make any repairs or additions they need. However with this proposal from Mr McDonnell, if labor gets into power now, I will be forced to serve notice on these lovely families as I cannot afford to be stripped of my life savings. I am not a rich person by any means so this policy would cripple me. I am one disillusioned soon to be ex-labor supporter with this policy. Heaven help us all.

  2. I find this unbelievable. A lot of my clients are private landlords (I’m a gas engineer) Despite the image that seems to be propogated in the media – these greedy landlords actually are very similar to the previous post from Mrs J. They are using it as their pension. Also 99% of the time they keep their properties in tip top condition and both me, the landlord, and the tenant have good relationships. Some have become genuine friends. This may be regional, but in essex where I live the private landlords seem to do damn good and honest job. A lot have also spent their lives working for these, why on earth do Labour think they can just take them off of them. The larger landlords I work for tend to be the ones that do not keep their properties in top condition. They run it as a business, hard nosed, set rates, terms and conditions. This will cause chaos. For landlords and tenants. The property owners I’ve spoke to have said if Labour get in they will instantly dump their properties. Leaving genuine hard working tenants having to find a new home.

  3. Same here Mrs. J. Think I will soon get out of it while the goings good! I think many will. Will just lead to a further housing shortage. Definitely will not be voting for the party you say you vote for though. Far too dangerous !

  4. I couldn’t of put it better myself
    being punished for working hard
    whats happened to the labour party?
    I was bought up and still live on a council estate full of working class people
    just have one buy to let for my pension and am a good landlord
    were not all rich landlords!
    it seems the left is now the politics of envy

  5. Perhaps this is Labour’s way of preventing social mobility. If a person gets a better job in another part of the country they won’t be able to (easily) find a property to rent as the PRS will have sold so many properties, meaning the person wouldn’t be able to accept the job.

  6. Words fail me. Politicians they all ought to be sacked and the whole thing started from scratch, and try to find honest, fair and just people to act on our behalf.

  7. Typical socialist tactic. Buy the votes of some to be paid for by other people trying to build a nest egg for their retirement. And when that money is gone you can bet your life that investors in the UK will be long gone. Where does the money come from then? From upping the taxes of everyone, that’s where.


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