A trade body says the country faces a net loss of 133,000 homes for private rent over the next year - and only a radical rethink on lettings taxation can avoid it.
That’s the view of the Residential Landlords Association’s research wing, PEARL, which says that government figures themselves show a loss of 46,000 private rented properties in England alone between March 2016 and March 2017.
The RLA says that based on questioning over 2,600 landlords, no fewer than 84 per cent have seen tenant demand increasing or at least remaining stable - and this is despite some years of policies which, the association claims, have been geared to increasing owner occupation.
It says much of the reason for the fall in supply has been down to the start of the phased elimination of mortgage interest tax relief for buy to let investors, and the introduction of the three per cent stamp duty surcharge on additional homes.
The association says the much-vaunted Build To Rent sector contributes just two per cent of all private rented households in the UK.
To boost the supply of homes to rent the RLA now wants the government to scrap the stamp duty surcharge when landlords or investors aim to convert empty offices and shops into rental residential units, or turn large homes into small self-contained properties or bring one of the over 605,000 empty dwellings across England back into residential use.
“The demand for private rental homes shows no signs of slowing up, despite efforts to encourage home ownership. The government was always mistaken to place homes to own and to rent in opposition to each other rather than seeking to supply more homes in all tenures” explains RLA policy director David Smith.
“The vast majority of landlords are individuals and small businesses, providing good housing to their tenants and supporting local economies. We need to support and encourage them to provide the long term homes to rent needed.
“The government should use taxation more positively and not penalise landlords who are contributing to badly needed homes to rent.”