- Available in: Print and PDF
- Published: January 1, 2008
Edited by Peter Bill, Paul Hackett and Catherine Glossop.
Published 2008 (ISBN 1 905370 36 9) Price £9.95
The government’s house-building targets are being driven by two clear policy ambitions: to increase owner-occupation and provide a larger quantity of affordable housing. The role the private rented sector can play, however, has been largely overlooked. This situation is now starting to change, and the policy spotlight is more firmly on what the private rented sector can offer over the medium to long term. The sector has developed rapidly in recent years, but a lack of professionalism and poor standards of management in some segments of the market have prevented it from reaching its full potential. The government has pledged to improve the sector for both landlords and tenants, and is seeking views on how this might be achieved against the backdrop of the credit crunch and an increasingly fragile market. Independent reviews of the private rented sector (and the management and conditions of people living in houses in multiple occupation) are under way, with the final reports due this autumn. This monograph of essays, authored by key experts in the field, is intended to inform the government-initiated review and policy-making process. The focus is on addressing the major challenges facing both small and large landlords, and on what can be done to bring new, affordable private rented properties onto the market. The authors examine the important underlying market trends and take a critical look at the way the sector is funded, including the prospects for emerging subsectors (such as buy-to-let and student housing). Planning, licensing and regulatory issues are considered, and there are some complex issues here to be addressed – not least balancing the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants. Whatever their views on what needs to be done, all authors share a commitment to expanding the private rented sector and raising quality standards across the country. With the Homes & Communities Agency now in set-up mode, and the appointment of Caroline Flint as the new Housing Minister, it is timely to influence this emerging agenda. Recommendations range from the development of investment vehicles to fiscal incentives and tighter regulation. All parties have a role to play – Whitehall, cities, developers and investors. First and foremost, however, a future vision and strategy for the sector must be created. Unless all parties agree on the direction of travel, a stronger private rented sector will be hard to achieve.