Whatever their politics, many landlords are wondering why successive Conservative governments have proved to be so hostile to buy-to-investors, given its former ‘party of the landlord’ moniker.

This includes the 3% stamp duty increase, Section 24 tax relief reductions, the additional cost of property licensing in many cities and the tenant fees ban, which has transferred most property management and tenancy costs onto landlords.

selective licensing

But during the mydeposits Great Tax Debate webinar today, which was watched by nearly 1,000 landlords, John Stewart of the National Residential Landlords Association gave one explanation.

He said it ‘beggars belief’ what the party once led by Margaret Thatcher is now doing to small landlords.

“Small independent landlords have been and are doing exactly what Thatcher suggested they do – investing in their future financial security through property, being prudent and looking out for themselves and their family’s future and providing for their retirement,” he said.

“So it seems puzzling that the Conservative party has now moved away from those principles.”

Stewart’s best answer to this political conundrum is that, because the Conservative are now the ‘party of home ownership’, the burgeoning PRS is now viewed as a threat to getting people on the property ladder.

Potential voter

“The Tories see every home owner as a potential Conservative voter and conversely believes every social tenant is likely to be a Labour one,” he said.

“But they also view every private tenant as a potential lost vote too, and that’s why I believe successive government’s have taken steps to limit the PRS.”

Stewart also pointed out that at the last election the Conservative vote went up by 8% among private renters, something Boris Johnson will no doubt believe proves the party’s current approach is working.

Watch the Great Tax Debate


  1. More than this, there is an on-going conflict between the rights of a tenant and those of the landlord. Tenants generally are represented by the left and vastly outnumber landlords who traditionally align with the Tories. The popular narrative surrounding landlords is we are a bunch or greedy parasite usurers ripping off our tenants who live in squalid conditions. The Tories are also accused of being greedy capitalists out for themselves, so they were never going to show support for a group who appear to embody the very thing they want to disassociate themselves from. I’m sure they’d rather not be associated with many of the entities normally linked to the Tories; bankers, hedge funds, big corporations etc etc, but it’s their bread and butter, so they are stuck between being Tory and siding with the little man, but landlords are an easy target to show off their liberal credentials and kowtow to leftist tenant advocacy groups since there is little consequence to throwing us under the proverbial bus.

    • John Steward is right. The Tories have become a party of big corporations. Billions of pounds of assets such as airports, office blocks, shopping centre etc… are being sold by foreign offshore investors, they don’t pay capital gains tax. The tech giants have been doing clever things to reduce their tax burden. Where is the fairness? The little man is paying the taxes.

      Gordon Brown raided private pensions, with taxes on dividends. Now the Tories are attacking small landlords.

      Labour are joining in, even though many of those on benefits are likely to be renting from private landlords. What happens, when landlords are fed up and force to sell up? Who is going to house them? Bloated housing associations, who get billions to build their houses, and then billions via benefits. They don’t even pay tax, as they are allegedly a non-profit, but their bosses are on £500,000 per year!

      • Social Landlords (Housing Association) are the only organizations that seem to build near me (South Wales).
        I don’t think building is financially viable for private builders any more.

  2. I don’t ever remember the Tory Party declaring itself as The Party of the Landlord.
    Many people (left and right wing) may wish to believe that the Tories are The Party of the Landlord, but that doesn’t make it a fact.
    The Tories were the party of owner occupiers and they did open up the PRS with their creation of the AST. But Labour probably helped private landlords more during their 1997-2010 reign of power.

  3. Landlords have become incredibly greedy, just look at the prices of rental properties and you will see how bad it is. A few years ago an average 1 bed flat would have been no more than £500-£550, it’s now £700+ and there is no justification for it other than greed. If it continues like this even workig people will not be able to afford to rent, some on low incomes are already struggling. Another way you can see this greed is by comparing the areas that used to differ in price, but no longer do (South vs Southwest for example are now largely the same price) I have always said there needs to be a cap on how much rent can be charged for whatever type of property it is in question. Buy to let landlords are the main culprits (but it’s my pension bs blah blah blah) and they are also the ones who are discriminating against people on benefits, I am currently homeless because of this and I have been unable to find any landlords ON THE WHOLE SOUTH COAST, FROM PORTSMOUTH TO BRIDPORT IN DORSET THAT DON’T HAVE A SHITTY ATTITUDE TOWARDS PEOPLE IN RECEIPT OF BENEFITS. HONESTLY, YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES! You should try explaining to my kids why I can’t rent a place because I have health problems that are not of your own making, they don’t understand it. Horrible greedy people!!!

  4. Landlords no longer charge what properties are worth, they charge whatever they think they can get for it, and the worst bit is people have no choice but to pay it so they do, so it then becomes acceptable to landlord to charge that, and that is what is keeping prices (too) high. The other phenomenon I have noticed is that you now have couples with dual incomes going for all the 1 bed flats, and because they have a dual income they can pay more than a single person would be able to pay for a 1 bed flat, that is another factor that is driving the price of 1 bed flats up. I have never struggled to find affordable 1 bed flats but now I can barely even afford a room!!! You can also see this in the vast differences between the lha rates (which have remained largely static) and the price that it costs to rent somewhere.

  5. One more! You can see how greedy landlords have become because the recent overhaul of renter’s rights has made most landlords say “oh well I’ll go and do short term holiday lets then instead, and I can get more money like that”. Housing is a fundamental human right and to be frank speculation on housing should never have been allowed. If you’re in the business of making money from people’s most fundamental need (other than food) then you should bloody well cater for everyone, not just “perfect tenants”. People before profit.

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