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Posted on June 17th 2015 by admin-movingin

House of Commons issues new lettings sector briefing

The House of Commons library has issued a 30 page guide on the private rental sector, covering everything from the current state of the lettings industry to Build To Rent, Buy To Let and social rental initiatives.

Although not expressly for new MPs, all elected members are being notified of the document which can also be seen by the public on the Commons website. The Letting Agent Today team has read the document and is impressed with its scope – its summary of the sector as it is now is particularly useful.

The Commons Library has also created a summary of the document, which looks at the current government’s policies and proposals from those within the sector to increase the supply of privately rented properties in England.

Here is the summary of the briefing:

This briefing paper sets out measures taken by the Government, and policy proposals from those within the private rented sector, to increase the supply of privately rented properties in England.

Since 2012-13 private rental has been the second largest housing tenure in England behind owner occupation, overtaking social housing. In the context of this growth over the last 20 years, and in the context of a national shortage of housing stock, successive Governments have increasingly looked to the private rented sector (PRS) to play a greater role in providing more new build housing.

Increasing institutional investment – The 2010 Government emphasised the importance of increasing institutional investment into the PRS to fund large-scale, professionally managed developments. In August 2012 the Montague review, Review of the barriers to institutional investment in private rented homes, was published. The Government accepted a number of its recommendations, which were announced in its Housing Stimulus Package in September 2012. These included a £200m Build to Rent fund (later increased to £1bn), a £3.5bn PRS housing guarantee and the establishment of a PRS taskforce to attract investment and share information on best practice. Institutional PRS investors have called for additional measures to increase the attractiveness of investing in the sector. These range from reducing the requirements to provide affordable housing requirements in planning obligations, improving access to and affordability of land and a stable regulatory framework within which to operate.

Buy-to-let landlords – Despite the Government’s focus on institutional investment, the majority of PRS properties in England are currently built, acquired and managed by individual, buy-to-let landlords. This note sets out the Government’s response to policy proposals from smaller landlords to help them boost the national supply of private rented housing, such as reform of Capital Gains Tax and Value Added Tax.

Social landlords – Housing associations and local authorities have also increasingly been looking to the private rented sector as a means of tackling local housing shortages and cross-subsidising reductions in central Government grant funding. This paper also provides information on how these social landlords are looking to enter the private rented sector market.