Renters are expected to be favoured in a government Housing White Paper due out tomorrow.
The White Paper aims to give renters a better deal, offering them more security, and to ensure that developers offer more homes at an affordable rent, according to unofficial leaks reportedly seen by The Observer newspaper.
Under the plans, the government is expected to offer incentives to encourage landlords to provide more secure, family-friendly tenancies, with guaranteed three-year tenancies.
The government also reportedly plans to make it easier for developers to plan ‘build to rent’ schemes so that homes can be more affordable.
The Observer quotes communities secretary, Sajid Javid, as saying: “We are determined to make housing more affordable and secure for ordinary working families and have a rental market that offers much more choice.
“We understand people are living longer in private rented accommodation which is why we are fixing this broken housing market so all types of home are more affordable. These measures will help renters have the security they need to be able to plan for the future while we ensure this is a country that works for everyone.”
“The number of households renting has doubled since 2001”
Commenting on the reports, Jeremy Blackburn, head of policy at RICS (the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors), says: “The Private Rented Sector became a scapegoat under the previous Prime Minister, and because of that it suffered. We warned the Housing Minister that unless urgent action was taken there would be a 1.8 million shortfall of rental homes by 2025.
“It seems that now we have a listening government, with a Prime Minister and Cabinet who are willing to heed the advice of industry and take the action needed to solve Britain’s housing crisis.
“With increasingly unaffordable house prices, the majority of British households will be relying on the rental sector in the future. The number of UK households renting property doubled from 2.3 million in 2001 to 5.4 million in 2014. Yet the previous Prime Minister took measures to dampen the demand for buy-to-let investments by making changes to the Stamp Duty threshold. This further reduced supply, arguably making a 2025 rental supply crisis more likely.
“If initial reports are to be believed, the White Paper’s focus on build to rent looks set to overcome the shortfalls of previous administrations and potentially create a housing market that is genuinely affordable for all.
“But a word of caution, we must not forget about the individual landlords who drive the rental market. The government must also look to overturn the punitive stamp duty reforms that turned so many smaller landlords away from a crucial sector for our country.”