Housing minister Yvette Cooper is today expected to announce a review of the private rented sector by an academic at York University.

Sources say that the review would be similar to the Hills Review of social housing, published earlier in the year.

Housing, particularly affordable housing, is a key issue for the Government which proposes to develop three million new homes by 2020 through the creation of the Homes and Communities Agency.

Barriers to growth

The British Property Federation, lobby group for the property industry, said it wanted government to remove barriers to the growth of commercial investment in the professional rented sector, while increasing the flexibility of affordable housing policy and standardising regulation.

It said that a professional rented sector similar to those in Germany or the USA could supply issues and ensure stability in the market.

Housing crisis

The news comes as the Citizens Advice Bureau reveals the scale of home owners saddled with mortgages they cannot afford, while the Ministry of Defence has admitted spending £11m renting army homes from private landlords because of a lack of supply.

Ian Fletcher, director for residential policy, said: ‘We are very supportive of this welcome move by the government, which raises the profile of the professional rented sector and we hope reflects recognition of its important contribution to housing provision. A really helpful outcome would be a cross-departmental strategy for the sector, which promotes its professionalisation. Such a strategy must encompass planning, tax and, benefit policy and not just how the sector is regulated.’