More than 100 MPs earn over £10,000 a year as landlords

By John Mercury April 24, 2024

More than 100 MPs have earned over £10,000 a year as landlords over the course of this parliament, research from Sky News has found.

A total of 83 Tories have declared they received the sizeable rental payments since the last election in December 2019, along with 18 Labour MPs, four Liberal Democrats and one member of the SNP.

But many more could be benefiting from a smaller income as landlords, as MPs only have to publish it on the register of interests if rent tops the £10,000 annual figure.

The numbers come as the long-awaited Renters’ Reform Bill returns to the Commons on Wednesday, with campaigners demanding stronger action to make the market fairer for those renting their homes.

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The majority of the MPs found in Sky News’ research were landlords of residential properties – with 104 of them having a stake in over 217 homes.

But 12 also let out commercial properties, 12 make an income from renting their farms, and one even leases a fishery.

A total of seven cabinet members made the list, with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt clocking up the largest portfolio – seven flats in Southampton, 50% of a holiday home in Italy and 50% of an office building in London.

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Three shadow cabinet members also have the additional income – though no more than the single property owned by shadow foreign secretary David Lammy in Tottenham, London.

Vested interest of landlords

However, the MP with the biggest list of rental incomes was the Conservative member for Sedgefield, Paul Howell, who lists two flats in County Durham, five houses in Durham, nine houses in Darlington and an apartment in Spain on his register of interests.

None of this breaks any rules for MPs, as long as they declare their interests.

However, the statistics come as a row rolls on between the government and campaigners over the influence of landlords on the Renters’ Reform Bill.

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One million renters forced to move

Research exclusively shared with Sky News last week showed almost one million private renters had been served a Section 21 since the Conservatives first promised to ban them in April 2019.

Yet, the government agreed to an indefinite delay to outlawing the mechanism, reportedly after a group of Conservative backbenchers – including some landlords – raised concerns the courts were not prepared for the legal cases that could replace them.

‘Colossal failure’

The chief executive of homelessness charity Shelter, Polly Neate said the legislation would be a “colossal failure” without the scrapping of no fault evictions at its heart.

“Tenants campaigned tirelessly to get this bill on the table, but this government has proven that renters’ safety and security is less important to it than bowing to the self-interests of a minority of landlord backbenchers,” she added.

“While ministers run scared of a few dozen of their own MPs, more than 500 private renters are slapped with a no-fault eviction notice every day.”

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Shelter’s chief executive: ‘We are going to see private renters tipped into homelessness’

Speaking to broadcasters ahead of the legislation returning to parliament, Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove could not guarantee Section 21s would be banned before the next election – which has to take place by January 2025.

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He insisted his “determination” to end them was “iron clad”, but it would depend on opposition parties and the House of Lords supporting the whole bill.

“It’s important to stress that the overwhelming majority of landlords are providing a very valuable service,” said Mr Gove.

He added: “It’s vitally important that after 30 years without legislation to improve the private rented sector, and with the private rented sector constituting nearly a fifth of housing overall, that we do ensure that it works effectively.

“And it’s not about pitting landlord against tenant, nor is it about demonising MPs of all parties. It’s about making sure that we have the balanced package that makes sure the private rented sector works for everyone.”

Pic: PA
Minister for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, arrives in Downing Street, London, for a Cabinet meeting. Picture date: Tuesday February 6, 2024.
Michael Gove leads on housing for the government. Pic: PA

Bill ‘abolishes Section 21s in name only’

However, a spokesperson for campaign group Generation Rent told Sky News: “Efforts to maintain landlords’ power in the bill will undermine improvements that would benefit renters and ultimately improve the reputation of the sector.”

The Renters Reform Coalition, made up of 20 charities, also warned that, as the bill stood, it “abolishes Section 21s in name only”.

They added: “This legislation is intended to give the impression of improving conditions for renters, but in fact it preserves the central power imbalance at the root of why renting in England is in crisis.”

But the chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, Ben Beadle, supported the bill, saying it provided stability for both landlords and tenants, and would keep rental homes in the market.

“Greater security for tenants will mean nothing if the rental homes are not there in the first place,” he added.

Sky News contacted the Conservatives, Labour and the three MPs named in the piece, but did not receive a response.

A Lib Dem spokesperson said: “Time and time again the Conservatives have failed renters and acted against people’s interests.

“Lib Dem MPs in parliament have long fought for renters’ rights and will continue to do so.”


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