Two of the largest residential property management and development companies in the UK have joined the BPF as the lobbying group continues to expand its focus on the residential market.

Places for People and Orchard & Shipman joined the BPF today. Places for People manages nearly 60,000 homes across the UK, and provides a diverse range of products and services to more than 150,000 customers.

Orchard & Shipman is a property group which provides residential and commercial sales and lettings and professional services, to private sector leasing. It is the only national provider of temporary and settled housing and it works with local authorities, private landlords and institutions. It is accredited by the Tenants Services Association for the management of temporary housing.

They will join other major residential organisations including Grainger, Unite, Welcome Trust and US group Touchstone.

The BPF says its ‘high profile campaign over introducing a professional rented sector has garnered much praise for the federation’s focus on housing policy’. It has also been pushing for the return of direct payments to private landlords and for measures to help increase the standards of rental accommodation.

Richard Bayley, director of research and planning at Places for People, said: ‘We look forward to working with the BPF to develop new policies and ideas to kick-start and sustain housing production, inject liquidity into the market to meet housing demand, and provide essential related infrastructure works.

'Places for People has long advocated a change in the current housing system, and believe that a new framework should encourage a broad range of providers and investors and create policy levers and tools which allow for increased housing production.’

Orchard & Shipman’s CEO John Taylor, said: ‘To date, the perception has been that large scale residential investment is expensive and difficult to manage. However, with some relatively simple changes by government, not least in terms of tax incentives, many of these barriers can be overcome.

‘The private residential sector, and in particular the social rented sector, offer some great secure investment opportunities for institutions and is already attracting a lot of interest. An emerging trend has seen institutional investors turning to buy-to-let via PSL attracted by guaranteed rental income, with no voids, no agency fees, no service worries and vacant possession at the end of the tenancy.’

Ian Fletcher, BPF’s director of residential policy, said the group is keen for other housing associations to join and help support the BPF’s work to raise standards and increase investment in the sector.