Rent It Like Boris: PM one of 115 MPs topping up salary via the PRS

MPs are more likely to be earning money from being a landlord than any other second income – and the PM is among them. 

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As the Conservative party conference gets into full swing, Michael Gove will use his speech to hint at plans to offer greater protections for private sector tenants, despite nearly 20% of MPs across all parties – including the Prime Minister – declaring that they top up their Westminster salary with rental income.  

His Speech at the conference could include asking landlords to join an Ombudsman Redress Scheme, which would give tenants more power to challenge dodgy landlords, rip-off fees and poor treatment.

Whilst this change is arguably a positive one, it comes after years of flux and change for landlords, and it’s not just the landlords of Westminster who may be concerned about yet more impending legislation. However, as the corridors of power bustle with talk of new laws and yet more changes, how fair is it that these rules are being set by people with so much skin in the game?  

A call put into Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, revealed that she wasn’t at all happy about the situation. She said:

Earning money as a landlord was a “clear conflict of interest for MPs.”

She pointed to rules that mean a similar situation wouldn’t be acceptable in local government.

Today’s analysis by openDemocracy has revealed that 90 Tory MPs, and 25 from other parties, boost their income by at least £10,000 a year thanks to rental properties. 

MP landlords in the Conservative party include Boris Johnson, who started renting out his Grade II-listed cottage in Oxfordshire last month, having reportedly advertised it at £4,250 a month.

The Prime Minister also part-owns houses in London and Somerset, which he also rents out. 

Whether the PM is planning to handle his own gas safety certification, Right to Rent checks and post-tenancy cleans is yet to be confirmed… although regardless of his day-to-day management, he certainly has a vested interest in what Mr Gove has to say.

The party itself also has many donors from the property developing world. A freedom of information request put in by Mashroom revealed that Sir Tony Gallagher donated £1.5 million through his company Countywide Developments. Gallagher was knighted in 2020 for his contributions to property development.  The Party has collected donations from 154 contributors with property interests.

Last week, Labour delegate Lucy Phillips, from Warwick – a single mum, working full time, revealed that she is six weeks away from eviction. She said:

We need to cap private rent in properties and take back control from property developers.

She added:

We deserve better than being turfed out onto the streets because greedy landlords want more money.

It’s not just the Conservative Party conference that’s piling on the pressure though. Last week’s Labour conference nodded towards twisting the screws on the PRS, with bold plans to address the ‘broken housing market.’

The conference noted concerns that there have been huge cuts to investment in new affordable homes to rent and buy, adding that it welcomes Labour’s strong commitment to tackling the systemic problems in the private rented sector including a cap on rents and an end to ‘no-fault evictions’.

As for the Westminster landlord contingent, as the Budget fast approaches, no doubt tax is the talk of the staff canteen. We’ll be sure to save you 115 places on the second in our free  Mashroom Landlord Tax webinar series – which is looking at how to maximise your savings, and scrape as much back as you can (just don’t tell Rishi)!

You can register for free here: Mashroom Landlord Tax Webinar

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