The British Property Federation (BPF) has backed a pledge by the UK's incoming prime minister, Gordon Brown, to plug Britain's housing crisis by getting behind the private rented sector.
Promising to expand council and other rented accommodation, and to help people buy their first homes, Gordon Brown has reiterated his promise of environmentally friendly 'eco-towns', saying: "We need to build homes not just to own but to rent. We can make affordable housing for all one of the great causes of our time".
The BPF says it has long believed that encouraging more property companies to develop and invest in the private rented sector would boost supply, improve service and provide quality professionally run accommodation for those unable to get on the private housing ladder, and who don't qualify for social housing.
Ian Fletcher, BPF director of residential policy, said: "We hope Gordon Brown's pledge marks the beginning of a change in government housing policy - one that we desperately need if the country is to solve its housing crisis.
"People should have the right to buy, but they should also have the option to rent, and have a decent range of accommodation to choose from. The government must act to encourage the creation of a vibrant private rental sector - something that is commonplace and successful in our European neighbours - where large companies provide high quality accommodation, avoiding the pitfalls of renting from inexperienced, amateur landlords.
"The government must take steps to encourage more institutional investment. Only then will the housing promises really come to fruition."
The BPF's paper Letting in the Future sets out the industry's vision of how private rental for 'intermediate residents' (those caught between social housing and the first rungs of the property ladder) should work.
Download the paper on: www.bpf.org.uk/topics/document/19161/letting-in-the-future
Source: British Property Federation (BPF)