Half of all housing moves each year are in the private rented sector – underpinning the UK’s flexible and mobile labour market.
The main issues we have been lobbying for is the disaggregation of stamp duty on portfolio purchases, more sympathetic planning treatment and residential REITs.
The private rented sector (PRS) is vital to delivering flexible tenure for a mobile workforce and providing housing where social renting or home ownership is not applicable or affordable.
A strong PRS can also contribute to increased supply and more affordable housing in the UK. The Government’s Rugg review of the PRS started over 18 months ago and was generally welcomed.
The approach of the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to the Rugg Review through its PRS Initiative is helpful in promoting PRS, and we support their efforts in this regard.
Government has done little to encourage the PRS to meet housing demand.
By focusing too much on the regulatory recommendations of the Rugg Review and too little on encouraging investment in the sector, it risks exasperating a supply and demand imbalance that is only likely to get worse in the short-to-medium term. Cherry-picking measures from the review will not deliver a coherent strategy.
We have been promoting the sector every step of the way - increasing its profile, establishing it as a key sub-sector of the housing market and putting forth policy solutions to increase investment in it.
The BPF is in dialogue with CLG and the HCA to promote PRS and change policies to help encourage institutional investors. Our response to the Rugg Review consultation was published in August 2009.
The Government issued a consultation, Investment in the UK private rented sector, in February 2010 to consider the contributions the PRS could make to addressing demand and increasing housing supply, and to look at how any barriers to investment might be tackled. As part of the Property Industry Alliance (PIA), we produced a joint consultation response with the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) and the Association of Real Estate Funds (AREF).