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Landlord warning over rented housing supply

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Landlords are warning of a rented housing supply crisis in the UK as a new survey shows more landlords are selling properties than buying whilst demand continues to increase.

According to research by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) based on a survey of over 2,700 landlords, almost 25% have seen the demand for private rented property increase over the last three months, with 41% saying there had been no change. Just 15% said that demand has fallen.

The growth in demand comes as the supply of private rented housing continues to fall. According to the research 31% of landlords plan to sell at least one property over the next 12 months with just 13% saying they plan to buy at least one.

The figures are supported by recent statistics from other organisations. According to Rightmove, a shortage of private rented housing together with strong demand from tenants has led to record asking rents across most parts of Great Britain. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has warned of an acceleration in rent increases over the next five years as a result of the demand for private rented housing outstripping supply.

Over recent years the Government has embarked on a programme designed to cut investment in private rented housing through various tax increases in an attempt to encourage more houses to be available for purchase by owner occupiers.

The latest figures however show that this strategy has been a failure. The RLA is calling on the Government to adopt pro-growth measures including scrapping the stamp duty levy on the purchase of additional properties where landlords add to the net overall supply of homes available, including bringing long term empty homes into use.

‘Those who argue that a smaller private rented sector is good for tenants wanting to buy a home are plain wrong. The Government’s policies are choking off the supply of homes to rent whilst demand remains strong,’ said David Smith, RLA policy director.

‘This is only making life more difficult and potentially more expensive for those looking for somewhere to live. Without an urgent change of course and the introduction of pro-growth policies the situation will only become worse,’ he added.