Belvoir is calling on the government to reverse its punitive tax policies against buy to let and introduce incentives to make the sector more attractive to investors.
Dorian Gonsalves, Belvoir’s managing director, says it is clear from analysis of his own group’s 300-plus branches and a string of rental sector indices that the lettings industry is under pressure.
Tenant demand is high, especially for the family market where the Belvoir network is reporting a particular shortage of two and three bedroom properties, he says.
“Recent, and in my opinion, disastrous anti-landlord tax policies, which were introduced by George Osborne at the last budget, are likely to continue deterring landlords from further investment in the rental market. As we predicted, this is restricting the supply of available rental properties and resulting in rental increases” warns Gonsalves.
“In some areas of the country our franchise owners report that prospective tenants are, without being prompted, submitting bids to landlords of increased rental offers in order to secure the property of their choice. This is purely down to a shortage of accommodation and the problem is unlikely to be resolved without government intervention” he adds.
The agency says a recent report by campaigning charity Shelter claims one in three families in England would be unable to pay their rent or mortgage for more than a month if they lost their jobs – increasing rents will only worsen the situation, it says.
Now Gonsalves is urging Gavin Barwell, the new housing minister, to take swift action and “unpick the disastrous tax policies that were introduced by George Osborne.”
He says Barwell “has an opportunity reverse the situation and create an environment where there is an over-supply of rental properties. This can only be achieved by incentivising landlords and making the rental market more affordable for tenants.”