That is the objective of part of the government’s Housing Strategy document which was published today. The private rented sector is not the reports only focus but it is the bit that particularly interests me as it could impact upon my clients.
The headline grabbing proposals will probably relate to mortgage proposals for first time buyers and the news for landlords is on balance more bad than good and the main aspects can be summarised as follows:
- The encouragement of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
- A Build to Rent pilot scheme
- Encouraging the use of the existing law better.
REITs are intended to encourage institutional investment into the private rented sector, which is at present dominated by small landlords. If these proposals work to drastically increase supply, that may operate to stabalise or even bring down rents. However, my view is that institutional landlords will generally be interested in large scale commoditised flat developments where repair an maintenance costs can be minimised through economies of scale. The danger is that such developments turn into privatised slums but that threat is addressed elsewhere in the strategy.
The Homes and Communities Agency is also getting in on the Act by piloting new rental homes sites.
However, in terms of new policy initiatives the governments research findings are that most people are happy with the quality of private rented accomodation and so they aren’t going to interfere with the status quo. But watch out, minimum energy standards are coming on 2018 and that could prove expensive for landlords with poorly insulated properties.