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UK rental demand will only increase as population rises, says expert

A leading industry body has set out its three top priorities for the housing market for the next government, with the UK rental market set to play a key role.

Millions of people in the UK rely on the private rented sector, whether it be providing a relatively short-term place to live while saving for a deposit, or to live in long-term. The sector has been particularly crucial as rising mortgage rates have delayed many first-time buyers’ plans to get onto the property ladder.

As such, property investors and buy-to-let landlords have reported swelling demand in the UK rental space in the majority of regions across the country. There has also been a rise in the number of tenants staying put for longer rather than entering the competitive race for a new rental home, creating more stability in the sector.

With political parties now ploughing ahead with their pre-election campaigns, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), which has been a key figure in campaigning for more support for the UK rental market from the government, is now calling for three “key asks” of the winner of the general election.

UK rental reform

In order to protect and grow a “thriving” private rented sector, the proposition of UK rental reform has been widely discussed to the point of a new law being very nearly put in place before parliament was dissolved. It is hoped the Renters Reform Bill will still go ahead regardless of who gains power after the general election.

At the top of its wish list for the government, the NRLA hones in on removing Section 21 eviction rules, which is something “the Conservatives and Labour have called for, for a number of years now”.

“We have been clear from the outset that this can only happen if there are workable possession grounds and a suitable timeframe for implementation,” the NRLA adds. “These also needs to be clarity about housing standards that work across all tenures, and that are implemented consistently across England and Wales.”

Housing strategy

Each political party has set out its own housing strategy and vision for the market if it gains power, from housebuilding targets to planning reform and more.

However, more specifically, the NRLA is asking for the development of  a”10-year housing strategy with clear achievable outcomes to support the creation of homes of all tenures to cope with increasing demand”.

Regarding the UK rental market, it states: “This strategy would also encourage robust enforcement by local authorities to improve standards, using existing powers. It would also include proposals for a properly funded court services to ensure landlords and tenants are properly supported.”

Provision of homes

According to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the UK population, which was an estimated 67 million in mid-2021, is projected to rise by 6.6 million to 73.7 million by mid-2036, which is a 9.9% increase.

This is why the provision of the homes that people need, where they need them, is another key campaigning point for the NRLA, as it points out that the UK rental sector is the “first point of call” for new households due to the sheer range of people who rely on it at various times in their lives.

Not only that, says the NRLA, but UK rental homes are “vital when it comes to labour mobility”. As the jobs market changes, with more and more big companies opening up offices away from the capital in places like Manchester and Birmingham, demand for rental homes will continue to climb in these areas.

It adds: “With the population predicted to grow by 10% over the next decade, it is clear demand for rental homes is only going to go up – particularly in towns and cities with robust job markets.

“For the sector to keep up with this demand it will need significant investment, which is why we will be calling on the government to remove stamp duty on additional homes and reintroduce mortgage interest relief to stimulate this growth.”

Workable solutions for the UK rental market

NRLA Policy Director Chris Norris said: “What we are proposing is considered, workable solutions that can give landlords the confidence to stay in the sector and continue to invest.

“We are already experiencing a supply and demand crisis, which is only set to get worse going forwards. We need to future-proof the PRS now to ensure that we can provide tenants with safe, warm and secure homes in the places they want to live.”

If you’re a property investor looking to capitalise on the UK’s strong rental market, get in touch with BuyAssociation today to find out about our current and upcoming opportunities

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