Better Renting for Britain says that Build to Rent initiatives could result in 250,000 extra new homes being available to rent by 2020…

In an open letter sent to the government, the Better Renting for Britain campaign, which is backed by housing associations, developers and pension funds, say its three-point action plan could help the government deliver its promise to build a million new homes by 2020.

The letter, signed by 11 companies, says that Build to Rent, where corporate organisations build new homes specifically for the rental market, could ease the burden on traditional housebuilders who, they claim, are at full capacity. In addition, they say that new measures could bring around £50bn of new money into the private rental sector.

Better Renting for Britain was set up to support as well as promote the rental market in Britain. The first specific action they ask for from the government is that an agreed proportion of public land be set aside solely for Build to Rent development. They claim this would result in public landowners as well as councils generating long-term rental income from land or buildings which would, in turn, mean they could fund public services that are currently under pressure.

The campaign group also asks the chancellor to allow Build to Rent developments to be exempt from the 3% extra in stamp duty currently charged on buy-to-rent properties. They claim this additional charge deters investors from building new homes as well as delaying further investment that could fund the extra 250,000 new homes.

The third measure of Better Renting for Britain’s three-point plan is for Discount Market Rent properties to be recognised as a form of social housing. Doing this would mean developers could create subsidised rental properties as part of housing developments.

Signatories of the letter include LaSalle Investment management, Hermes Investment Management and leading residential property business Grainger plc.

The chief executive at Grainger plc, Helen Gordon, says her company wants to invest hundreds of millions of pounds into properties specifically built for the rental market. She says: “We would manage these properties directly, long into the future. It’s important that our company, and other companies like us, are allowed to build new homes by the government.”

Chris Taylor, head of private markets at Hermes Investment Management, says: “The potential for a vibrant Build to Rent market has already been demonstrated by similar projects in Holland, Germany and the US. Identifying and designating suitable public land sites for Build to Rent will greatly help to generate new supply.”

Andrew Stanford, the residential fund manager of LaSalle Investment Management for the UK agrees, adding: “Everyone supports the need for a political imperative to encourage massive investment into British business and infrastructure from across the world. To harness a significant percentage of this potential investment to fund housing built exclusively for renting is, right now, a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Another signatory of the campaign letter was commercial law firm Mishcon de Reya. Susan Freeman, a partner at the London firm adds: “Further investment to develop Build to Rent should be something the government is actively encouraging. It will help increase the number of new homes available specifically for rent, which could play an important part in easing the housing crisis.”

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