Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell has called for a year-long rent freeze to combat rising energy bills and the universal credit payment cut.

It follows the latest Household Resilience Study that shows 7% of private renters were in arrears in April-May, up from 3% in 2019/20, amounting to more than 780,000 renters.

However, his post on social media was quickly scorned by many landlords who posted that the move would only make PRS properties even more scarce.

One tweeted: “Why the obsession with landlords….I can tell you, you are widening the gap and causing far more good landlords to leave it to the bad ones. I’m getting sick of the perpetual one-sided argument.”

Another replied: “Why not suggest energy companies freeze prices or supermarkets freeze food prices. Are landlords just soft targets or seen as evil people for choosing BTL as an investment instead of stocks and shares like most MPs.”

Rent freeze

McDonnell has urged Rishi Sunak to impose the year-long rent freeze for all public and private sector tenants in England at the upcoming autumn Budget.

“Many families are facing a winter of worry and hardship from the cut in universal credit, hikes in energy prices and record rent rises,” he said.

“It’s a really tough and uncertain time for so many. A rent freeze will relieve many of them of major pressure on their household budgets this Christmas and provide increased security that they can afford to keep a decent roof over their heads. It will also assist the economic recovery from Covid by maintaining demand in our economy.”

Labour is also pushing the need for more social housing and believes that devolved and local government should be partners in the UK government’s objective of levelling up communities.


  1. amusing how the landlords are defending their ridiculous rents. everyone knows tenants are being ripped off and fleeced for as much as possible.

  2. The real issue Andy is demand and supply – simple economics.
    The solution – more social housing which used to be plentiful and at generally lower rents. Seemingly the Government isn’t prepared to build or fund the building of more social housing but wants the private rental sector to provide social housing. The ‘Opposition’ seem be thinking similarly. The deluge of increased legislation is simply driving good landlords out of the sector, reducing the available supply and driving up rents. Local authorities meanwhile are having to deal with increased homelessness but have no solution.
    We have a major housing crisis (not just in the rental sector) but Government doesn’t seem to have the will to plan ahead more then the date of the next election.

  3. Unfortunately this is a spiral, Shelter, Generation Rent and the like continually campaign to increase costs to landlords and make the sector less and less attractive as an investment. This results in landlords leaving the market, effectively increasing demand and this means rents increase. This latest rubbish from Labour would compound the issue , if they ever were in a position to implement it . To be clear if renting properly ceases to be profitable landlords will exit completely, resulting in huge levels of homelessness.

    • Shelter and Generation Rent were celebrating tax increases on landlord. They welcome every piece of new regulation. Of course when rents go up these things, they seem to object.

      They want to have their cake and eat it.

  4. Why not also propose a “mortgage freeze” as well or also a “rates freeze” or what about a “salary freeze” or even better ” a politicians freeze” and a “population freeze”.
    An “energy freeze” would negate the need for a “rent freeze”
    Worn out unelectable politicians might as well demand the earth stop rotating.
    John McDonnell is irrelevant to any meaningful discussions on landlord and tenant matters, you might just as well interview Old Mother Hubbard. She had more idea on housing needs than John McDonnell will ever have.

  5. These MP sit in parliament do they ever pay attention to the laws they pass?

    John McDonnell was shadow chancellor, when Osborne announced a tax increases on landlords, under Section 24. Forcing landlords such as me to increase rents due to tax increases. I had n’t increased the rent in many years. Is it my fault??? I am not making any gain. It is the tax man, who is enjoying my tenants money. So why did n’t Labour object to the tax increase? Landlord were warning rents would have to go up.

    Whilst institutional investors and hedge fund can invest with with tax advantages in REITs. A attack on the small investors in favour of hedge funds.

    We have seen a lot of new regulation. It has increased costs. Was John McDonnell paying attention when these laws were passed.

    Council introducing expensive Licensing schemes. Does it really cost hundreds of pound for a License?. Who is paying for this?

    They got rid tenant referencing fees, but the landlord has to pay for this, again it has to be accounted for in rent.

    Plenty of frustration renting. Builders can’t park outside my rental, because the council has introduced residents parking only, so how do I do repairs?. They don’t give parking permits to Landlords.

    The cost of building materials and builder wages have gone up? Is there a freeze on these costs?

    The problem of Climate Change has been dumped on landlords (with tenants paying for it via increased rent).

    It was Gordon Brown who destroyed pensions, by taxing pension dividends. People forced to look at property as an investment.

    I will gladly sell up tomorrow, if they got rid of Capital Gains Tax. These politicians have made being a landlord toxic.

  6. As a private landlord with 16 rental properties I get very annoyed with people sitting in judgement of the PRS. Over the last year I have spent over £3,000.00 on energy performance certificates and electrical safety certificates for my properties. I have not raised rents to cover these costs, I’m lucky enough to have been able to absorb this but I’m afraid other landlords are unable to and have to charge rents accordingly.

    I believe most private landlords are honest and conscientious. I look at every flat I have before renting and ask myself “would I live here” if I can answer yes I’m happy. I have a lot of tenants who have lived in my properties for ten plus years. My rents are reasonable and affordable and I conform to every new rule brought in, regardless of cost.

    These constant new rules and expenses are causing problems and dissuading private landlords. Many people with one or two BTL properties are unable to conform to everything without passing on the cost to tenants. It’s not a case of ripping people off, its simple economics .

    Good landlords will adhere to all rules, bad landlords will not, plain and simple.

    I have been renting out my properties for over 30 years with only the occasional problem or bad tenant. Media makes big news of ‘slum landlords’ what about the thousands of good, decent landlords? Shelter et al should be praising us for providing decent, affordable homes to many, many families.

    According to recent media, there are many social housing associations who are falling very short on their responsibilities whilst paying massive wages. How can they get electrical safety certificate if there is water running down the walls?

    We good, decent, private landlords deserve a pat on the back!!! Well done to us all!!


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