What business is it of yours? Landlords fire back at John McDonnell’s calls to freeze rent

Chart shows impact of Universal Credit cuts across UK

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The former shadow chancellor has called on Rishi Sunak to impose a year-long rent freeze in England. The measure, which he says should apply for all public and private sector tenants, would counter rising energy bills, rent increases and the cut to universal credit payments.

Mr McDonnell said: “Many families are facing a winter of worry and hardship.

“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.”

But tenants don’t see it this way.

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An angry Twitter user asked: “What business is it of yours?” then added, “I’ve rented out my house for 12 years.

“I’ve never put the rent up until yesterday when I asked the agent to increase it by 12 percent.

“All landlords need to put their rents up NOW!”

Nick Walton commented: “If my income comes from letting out a house I’ve inherited that’s my pay.

“So why are you entitled to a pay rise yet I’m not.”

Ian Gowland said: “I’m getting sick of the perpetual one sided argument.

“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.”

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But not all are against the MP.

One Twitter user, @rojocomo, said: “I’m paying half of my income to someone who owns multiple homes.

“Why is home ownership reserved for wealthier people?

“Freeze the rents – and while you’re at it, cap them too.”

Another one reasoned a year-long freeze could be judged “unrealistic”, saying: “I could see 3 months happen, but a year… just sounds like a pipedream.

“That being said, if it’s a haggle approach, it’s not a bad place to start.”

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Daniel Nolan added: “Yup – rent goes up arbitrarily every year, but that doesn’t make sense when landlords have done far better in the pandemic than tenants have.”

New figures revealed this week by homelessness charity Crisis show the number of renters on universal credit in rent arrears increased by 70 percent within six months earlier this year.

The organisation highlighted that between April and May, more than 190,000 low-income renters in receipt of universal credit in England were at least two or more months behind on rent.

Jon Sparkes, Chief executive of Crisis, hoped the new data would serve as “a wake-up call to government”, saying urgent action was needed “to pull hundreds of thousands of renters back from the brink of homelessness”.

He warned: “How do we expect to level up the country when families can’t even afford the basic necessities?”

Research from the HomeLet Rental Index in September shows the average rent in the UK is currently at a record high of £1,061 – up 7.5 percent from September 2020.

Addressing this, Mr McDonnell claimed a rent freeze could save all households £1.2bn to £4.5bn.

The senior Labour figure, who had a key role during Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the party from 2015 to 2020, said: “It will also assist the economic recovery from Covid by maintaining demand in our economy.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is to deliver the Autumn Budget and spending review on October 26. Mr McConnell expects to see the measures put in place then.

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