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Antony Antoniou – Luxury Property Expert

The Rental Market Apocalypse: Britain’s War on Landlords and Its Unintended Consequences

The Rental Market Apocalypse: Britain’s War on Landlords and Its Unintended Consequences


For years, Britain’s housing market has been grappling with affordability issues, making it increasingly difficult for people to find comfortable living spaces. In an attempt to address these concerns, the government launched a “war on landlords,” introducing punitive measures aimed at encouraging landlords to sell their properties. The envisioned outcome was a stable housing market with moderating rents and increased opportunities for first-time buyers. However, instead of finding a solution, the government’s actions have worsened the situation, leading to a full-scale rental crisis.

The Rental Crisis Unfolds

Recent data from Spareroom indicates that the cost of renting a room has surpassed £700 a month for the first time. Nationally, rents have risen by a staggering 17 per cent, more than double the rate of earnings growth, while in London, the increase stands at 19 per cent. Additionally, the number of homes available for rent has reached a 14-year low, with a 35 per cent decline in the rental stock on the market. As a result, rents are now consuming the highest proportion of income in a decade, as reported by Zoopla. There’s no denying it; renting has become harder and more expensive across the board.

The Government’s Assault on Landlords

The root cause of this rental crisis can be traced back to the government’s relentless war on landlords. In particular, a series of policies and regulatory changes have significantly impacted their ability to operate:

1. Tax Treatment of Mortgage Interest: The government altered the tax treatment of mortgage interest, disallowing it to be set against tax unless the property was owned by a company. This change has driven up costs for landlords, especially as interest rates return to normal levels.

2. Regulatory Burdens: Landlords are now burdened with additional responsibilities, such as checking tenants’ immigration status, which might be more appropriately handled by the Home Office. Furthermore, they are compelled to make expensive green upgrades to meet climate change targets.

3. Legislation Limiting Control: Recent legislation makes it increasingly difficult for landlords to reclaim control of their properties, further discouraging investment in the rental market.

Unintended Consequences

While the government aimed to reduce housing costs and boost opportunities for first-time buyers by pushing landlords out of the market, it has had unintended consequences. Landlords have indeed been driven away, but the anticipated decrease in property prices for first-time buyers hasn’t materialized. Instead, mortgage rates have soared, making homeownership seem less attainable than ever before.

The Generation Caught in the Crossfire

The outcome of these actions is a generation caught in the worst of both worlds. On one hand, they struggle to find suitable rental accommodations due to a shrinking market. On the other hand, they face formidable barriers to homeownership, with inflated mortgage rates putting the dream of buying a property seemingly out of reach.

The Real Issue: Supply and Immigration

The crux of the problem lies not with landlords, but with the overall lack of housing supply. To maintain a healthy housing market, it is essential to have a sufficient number of high-quality homes available for both rent and purchase. The government’s focus on targeting landlords has diverted attention from the pressing need to build more homes. Additionally, record immigration levels have further exacerbated the demand for housing.


While the government’s intentions to address the housing crisis were noble, their approach targeting landlords has backfired, leading to a catastrophic rental market situation. The focus should now shift towards increasing the housing supply to accommodate the growing demand. Only by adopting a comprehensive strategy that addresses the root causes of the crisis can Britain hope to find a sustainable and equitable solution to its housing woes.

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