View from Westminster by Ed Jacobs

In a leaked letter sent to David Cameron and Nick Clegg by Vince Cable, the Business, Innovation and Skills Secretary declared: “We should have the same level of commitment across Government to getting housing moving as is beginning to happen for infrastructure.”

With the Chancellor’s Budget now imminent, the talk around Westminster remains firmly focused on growth – of which supporting the housing market will be a crucial part.

As highlighted in the most recent English Housing Survey, the private rented sector is now virtually equal in size to the social sector, having grown by 60% over the last ten years.

With demand for private rental properties far outstripping supply, the RLA’s central message is that reform – both to the regulation and taxation of the sector – is needed to unlock its potential to provide much-needed new housing.

It is against this background that the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Private Rented Sector will be considering the issue of access to shared housing for under-35s at its meeting on Wednesday, March 14.

With guest speakers from Oxford City Council (which has imposed an Article Four Direction), the National Union of Students and the Chartered Institute of Housing, members of the Group will be able to consider the apparent conflict between the imposition by many local authorities of Article 4 Directions on the one hand and changes made to the shared accommodation allowance, which mean that many more under-35s on housing benefits will need to access shared housing.

Sir Adrian Montague, meanwhile, has now formally called for evidence as part of his review for the Government on institutional investment in the private rented sector.

The RLA will be making a formal submission, but it would be useful for members to make representations directly to the Review about what more could be done to support and encourage investment, and how finance could be more easily obtained to invest in new rental properties.

Submissions are due by March 30 and can be emailed to:


About the author



The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) represents the interests of landlords in the private rented sector (PRS) across England and Wales. With over 23,000 subscribing members, and an additional 16,000 registered guests who engage regularly with the association, we are the leading voice of private landlords. Combined, they manage almost half a million properties.

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