More than two-thirds of mortgage-free landlords have increased the cost of new rental agreements, despite no rise in interest rates, according to a poll of more than 1,000 landlords commissioned by the housing charity Shelter. This practice has resulted in windfalls for investors, while tenants are paying more for smaller spaces. Middle-aged people have been hit hardest by the squeeze on space, losing the equivalent of a master bedroom and a bathroom between 2000 and 2020. The double squeeze on private renters comes as demand exceeds supply. Rent increases by debt-free landlords show they are "cashing in on the housing emergency because they know people are in desperate situations," warns Polly Neate, CEO of Shelter. Rental affordability is at its worst in a decade across the UK. Landlords attribute the rent increases to advice from letting agents and market trends.