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Matthew Pennycook appointed as Labour housing minister

matthew penncycook

Landlords may be relieved to hear that an MP with experience of the private rented sector has been appointed to the Government.

Matthew Pennycook has been confirmed as Labour's key housing minister a day after Angela Rayner was appointed as its housing secretary and deputy leader.

But the relief that someone who understands how the rental market works and the challenges it faces may be short lived given his cosy relationship with tenant charity Shelter.

Nevertheless Pennycook, who was re-elected as MP for Greenwich and Woolwich during the general election, has been involved in housing policy since 2021 when he was appointed as shadow housing minister.

Most recently he was involved in shaping the Renters (Reform) Bill, including submitting many amendments, although the legislation did not make it through the ‘wash up’ process after Rishi Sunak called the General Election.


But it is Pennycook’s more pro-tenant approach to the private rented sector that has made some landlords nervous.

For example, towards the end of the Bill’s passage through parliament, he tabled an amendment that would have prevented landlords selling a property for two years after a tenancy had begun. And his was instrumental in shaping the party's policy of abolishing 'bidding wars' between tenants and agents or landlords.

But the NRLA recently said that behind the scenes he was more placatory, telling its Chief Executive Ben Beadle only a few weeks ago in response to questions about abolishing Section 21 evictions and improving possession times that: “we all want the court processes to be quicker”.

More DLUHC ministers are expected to be announced including Mike Amesbury who may be given the homelessness brief.

Pennycook has said on his appointment to minister of state: “It is a real honour to have been appointed Minister of State at the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

“Tackling the housing crisis and boosting economic growth is integral to national renewal. Time to get to work.”


"The housing sector is crying out for a vastly increased supply to keep pace with demand, there simply can be no room for error moving forwards or we may end up with prices artificially rocketing due to consumer desperation in finding a suitable home for their needs," says Nathan Emerson, Chief Executive of Propertymark (pictured).

"There must be a broad mix of sustainably built homes that brings much need stock to both buyers and renters. The plan must be delivered with precision and in a way that is connected with wider government planning to ensure key infrastructure is provisioned for as the population further grows."

Polly Neate (pictured), chief executive of Shelter, said: “We have seen a revolving door of Housing Ministers since 2010, to the detriment of our housing system.

"With the appointment of Matthew Pennycook, we hope to finally see some stability in the office and a real commitment to taking the urgent steps necessary to fix the housing emergency.  

“He must now get to grips with a long to-do list that tackles rising evictions, runaway rents and record homelessness. His first task is to bring forward a strong bill in this month’s King’s Speech that scraps no fault evictions in their entirety, limits in-tenancy rent increases, and extends notice periods.

"But ultimately the government must urgently get on with building the 90,000 genuinely affordable social homes a year that are needed to eradicate homelessness.”


Labour party