The government has been urged to work more closely with private buy to let landlords in order to boost housing supply during the current housing crisis.
The number of households in the private rental sector is continuing to expand, and thus more rental properties are needed to meet this rising demand. Alan Ward, chairman of the Residential Landlords Association, has called for the government to work more closely with private landlords in order to boost housing supply and continue to offer more options for tenants in the private rental sector.
In an interview with City AM, Ward spoke regarding the role that buy to let landlords have in providing vital homes to rent ahead of the general election. He addressed what he sees as a key issue for the next government – how to provide enough rental homes to meet the burgeoning housing demand. For Ward, the private rental sector is key to this problem.
He explained: ‘Politicians owe it to tenants to move on from the discredited and unimaginative policies of the past such as rent controls and more burdensome regulation. Instead of demonising the sector, government should work with the majority of good landlords to provide the significant increase in homes needed to offer tenants genuine choice and to keep rents affordable. That means a shift away from punitive tax hikes.’
To Ward, landlords have been used as an easy target for political point scoring, levelling further restrictions on buy to let investors. However, he argues that they play a crucial role in the economy, contributing around £15.9 billion per year in pre tax portfolio spending. Therefore, trying to tackle the housing crisis by raising punitive taxes aimed at landlords is unlikely to be effective in the long term, instead serving to drive property investors from the market and therefore reducing the amount of rental properties available.