The much-awaited Communities and Local Government report, written by Dr Julie Rugg and David Rhodes, has been published today.
The report, known as the Rugg review, will feed a host of recommendations into the forthcoming housing reform green paper that could ease the way for large developers and big investors to enter the market. It is published by the Centre For Housing Policy, which is based at the University Of York.
It outlined its ‘desire to see private renting as a less marginal, poorly-regarded ‘third’ option that sits behind the preferred tenures of owner occupation and social renting.’
It focused on growing the ‘business’ of renting, developing new procurement relationships between local authorities and landlords and devising intelligent tax incentives.
In terms of the private rented sector, it concluded that: ‘High-level co-ordination of policy between government departments is necessary: a Ministerial statement of intent for the sector would help to frame the broader objectives for local authority activity, and specific mention of the private rented sector should be made within guidance around the new National Indicators.
‘However, localised differences in types of rental market need to be respected so that authorities can take a lead in devising appropriate responses.’
The British Property Federation (BPF) welcomed the review maintaining that ‘a professional rented sector, with large-scale rented housing developed and managed in the long term by brands, could be the answer’ to the review's aims.
Ian Fletcher, director of residential policy at the BPF said: 'Overall the review provides more positives than negatives and is something we broadly welcome. Whilst the review does not explicitly support investment from institutions (pension or life funds), Rugg does support the diversity of the sector and we are pleased she recommends tax changes to support greater institutional investment.
'Overall, her recommendations will require support across government for a more business-like sector and we hope that will be secured.
'We are glad that the review has recognised that if you want landlords to act like businesses you have to treat them more like businesses. Addressing those properties which fail the decent homes standard will not be achieved by regulation alone, neither will raising management standards. The incentives being suggested are an important part of package, which will help deliver a better private rented sector.'
David Salusbury, National Landlords Association chair said: 'The Rugg Review offers Government a number of policy options based upon sound and independent evidence. The rhetoric has gone and myths have been dispelled.
“It demonstrates and encourages a commitment to “grow the business of letting” for smaller landlords but also encourages larger-scale investment, where appropriate. This means tax incentives to encourage investment in quality housing across the board.
'The Review is clear about the positive elements within the PRS and also where the sector faces challenges in raising standards and the wider social contributions landlords could make, especially in "equalising the rental choice."'