The figure comes from a poll of more than 1,000 landlords commissioned by housing charity Shelter, which was shared with The Guardian.
The survey found that seven out of ten landlords who own their rental properties outright increased rents on new or extended tenancies in the past 12 months as their average profits rose to more than £800 a month.
According to the newspaper, this practice of “cashing in” has “triggered windfalls for hundreds of thousands of investors at a time when tenants are paying more despite shrinking amounts of space in flats and houses”.
Ben Twomey, chief executive of the campaign group Generation Rent, told The Guardian that “debt-free” landlords were “cashing in simply because they can” and warned that without government intervention, “the cost of renting crisis will continue to uproot families and fuel homelessness”.
However, Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) hit back, telling the newspaper: “Our data shows landlords without mortgages are half as likely to increase rents as those with them and are much more likely to keep rents the same. Data from Savills shows investor profits, including those without a mortgage, at their lowest level for 16 years.”
The story in The Guardian is the latest in its series on ‘Living hell: Britain’s rent crisis’. Earlier this week, Clive Betts, the chair of the levelling up, housing and communities select committee, told the newspaper that rental homes should be confiscated from private landlords who repeatedly break the rules and exploit tenants.
According to Betts, handing courts this power would create a “significant deterrent” to landlords who treated fines for letting out squalid, unsafe and overcrowded homes as simply a cost of doing business.