Industry figures pen open letter to Michael Gove

Well-known figures from across the industry have written an open letter to Michael Gove, calling for him to address the unsustainable pressures on the private rental sector.

Signatories include: William Reeve, Goodlord; Peter Knight, Property Academy; Gary Wright, flatfair; Theresa Wallace, Savills; Heidi Shackell, The Lettings Hub; and Ben Beadle, NRLA.

You can see (and sign) the letter here, with current signatories at the end of the page.

Open letter: Unsustainable pressures on the Private Rented Sector

To: The Minister of State for Housing and Planning (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

We, the undersigned, are business leaders within the Private Rented Sector across the UK.  With inflation hitting levels not seen since October 1981, we believe that current government policy in the rental sector — covering 35% of UK homes — is stoking housing inflation, the largest single component of the cost of living. 

As set out in the recent Renters’ Reform Bill White Paper, current policy objectives include improving the quality of housing and giving tenants greater peace of mind about being evicted. These are worthy objectives which we, and most tenants, support. But tenants – whether professionals or students – also want their housing to be affordable, and current policy appears to ignore this point.

A recent survey of tenants confirms that rising levels of rent are tenants’ biggest single concern, cited by 86% of respondents. By contrast, the condition of rented properties, a priority of the Renters’ Reform Bill, while also a significant concern, is cited by fewer than half as many tenants: 42%. 

Government policies to restrict landlords’ legal rights, raise minimum energy efficiency standards to an EPC band C, extend mandatory local licensing, raise taxes on property income and transactions, enhance compliance obligations for HMOs, and increase maintenance costs are putting undue pressure on landlords — most of whom have only one or two rental properties. Already, we see net negative repercussions on rental supply, with many landlords leaving the sector; property portal data shows that supply is down 46% compared with the five year average. 

At the same time, tenant demand is at an all time high, with portal traffic up 142%. Many surviving landlords are understandably looking to cover their increased costs via higher rents. Goodlord’s Rental Index saw rents on new tenancies in September hit £1,249 pcm, up 13% on the same period in 2021. Rent increases restrict mobility and supply, with tenants frightened to move house for fear of facing even higher rents in a new home. 

By failing to encourage adequate supply, government policy is directly contributing to the sharp increases in rental prices. 

Freezing rents in response, as recently introduced in Scotland and proposed by London’s Mayor, would further damage the sector, restricting supply to a greater extent and fuelling landlords’ withdrawal from the sector. We urge the government instead to consider ways to improve supply – while continuing its aspirations to ensure quality homes for tenants – by ensuring the rental sector remains an attractive place to invest without relying on skyrocketing — and ultimately inflationary — rents.



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  1. MickRoberts

    This is where Govt & Councils completely getting it wrong. Constantly attacking ALL landlords forgetting about the 80% of tenants that haven’t got a problem. Consequently, the good tenants get punished with limited supply & higher rents-They’ve done nothing wrong.

  2. Typhoon

    All totally correct but sadly Michael Gove and co have their own “ emperor’s clothes” view/belief that all they are doing is correct   And that could not be further from the truth. They have the potential to destroy the PRS. Have we the power in the industry, to stop it happening before our very eyes?

  3. Mrlondon52

    Too vague. Should have proposed specific clear punchy policies.

  4. Mark Connelly

    All a bit woolly.

  5. jeremy1960

    A weak and pointless missive, offering no viable alternatives which, if read by anyone in government will just be cast aside.

    The main problem is that nobody really represents landlords and agents, those who profess to certainly do not, most are just looking after themselves and their shareholders.

    If we want government to listen we need to neutralise the likes of shelter, we need to have a viable plan and, it seems, we need to have charitable status to qualify for funds to fight the battle. As it currently stands, this battle is being lost to better funded, more cohesive and united groups who constantly have the ears of government.

  6. Diogenes

    It’s politics. I think the letter needs to be taken in context. There is a huge co-ordinated campaign featuring the Letting Industry Council, ZPG Lettings Advisory Board, NRLA, Propertymark etc. Such letters are advisory and not intended to alienate, if you don’t work with Government, they stop listening as perfectly illustrated with the tenant fee ban. It’s a fine balance.

    Ben Beadle has hardly been woolly in his submissions.

    These organisations know what parts could be influenced and those already set in stone. Often these letters are requested to address specific issues following Chatham House style conversations. My own local MP specifically requested a letter regarding the PRS student debacle.

    I respectfully suggest you ask yourself what you are doing to make a difference.

  7. Woodentop

    Instead of whining that things are wrong, how about telling them what they need to do, as Government clearly hasn’t a clue.


    1. Drop the tax regime and return to net relevant earnings model.

    2. DO NOT scrap Section 21.

    3. Provide funding to landlords rented accommodation to help with home improvement. You know those that pay taxes so that those that don’t get everything!

    4. Criminalise tenants who refuse to pay rent, lawfully due  or cause extreme damage and run off with two fingers and laughing.

    5. Get your act together with the lethargic courts system.

    6. Ban local authorities giving advice to tenants to stay put.

    7. Stop listening to Generation Rent and Shelter who have been implicit in the demise of PRS.

    8. Try and build your own homes for SHS and try to impose your SHS will on PRS.

    9. Get out of your ivory tower and see for yourself how bad “Tenant lifestyle” can before you and TPO say no such things exists.


    Readers are welcome to add to the list ……..


    1. Woodentop

      Drop the idea of EPC band C. Is this to protect the environment? If so, you got that so very wrong. An EPC ‘A band’ for pre 2000 still only achieves a ‘C Band’ for Carbon emissions. An EPC ‘C Band’ will be down in the ‘E ratings’ for Carbon emissions.
      Have you noticed how the new EPC’s hide the carbon emissions table, that was so obvious before.

  8. Will2

    Woodentop, totally agree with your list 100%  The real problem of course is Gove might have some wonderful education but alas he appears to have no common sense and only an ability to climb the greasy pole of politics; why do they follw advice from suspect charties, do such people fund the conservative party or are they just ill-advised? Are they really so stupid to not understand and realise the damage they are doing to renters as well as investors? or is it all an old mates’ club?  Only once there has been a total collapse will they understand they are getting it wrong. All the comments have been being made for years now so none of this is new news.

    1. Woodentop

      Youngest won’t know this but I cannot but help keep going back in time to “Yes Prime Minister”. It was a wind up of actually what happened then and one could have a laugh, but now ……… who’s laughing?

  9. KByfield04

    As Diogenes has stated, a lot of work has and continues to be put in by The Lettings Industry Council, Zoopla Lettings Advisory Board, Propertymark and the NRLA. Frankly, I think the work Ben Beadle has put in on behalf of the NRLA (which now represents over 100k Landlords & 500k rental properties) has been nothing short of incredible. Not only has he been talking directly to an array of gov departments (although sadly Gove has not graced him with his presence as yet)- Ben is also winning favour with tenant rights groups.

    Whilst many of us agree with the comments of being more direct/less woolly and suggesting specific legislation- sadly, this approach really does not work. What the government do appear to be open to, however, is being educated about the risks and downsides of some of their proposals.

    What is really important, however, is that as an industry we unite in our actions to address these concerns. This means getting behind any and all attempts to do so- the one thing that the government will listen to is numbers. Recent consultations have received poor submission numbers. If we display apathy to the government, then they will just plough on.

    So, when you see letters like this, when you see consultations- get behind them; get every team in your office to get behind them; get your landlords to get behind them.; hell- why not educate your tenants on the nuances and get them behind it!? We can’t stand on the sidelines complaining whilst doing nothing in direct action and be surprised if we get bulldozed further down the line.

  10. KByfield04

    By the way- you can sign the open letter here:

    It will take you all of about 10 seconds to do!


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