Opinion: Action is needed as demand for rental homes soars

rent online concept, woman using internet website for rental apartments, houses and flats

Data from NRLA reveals that 43% of landlords in the East of England have seen demand increase in the last quarter - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Demand for rental homes is growing across the East of England as Covid restrictions are lifted and the country begins to adjust to the new normal.

Data from the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) shows 43% of landlords in the region have seen demand increase in the last quarter with demand for private rented housing at a five-year high.

Despite this huge surge in demand, it would seem private landlords are not clamouring to invest in new homes.

In fact, the evidence shows landlords in the region are reluctant to add to their portfolios, with many, around 23%, looking to sell in the next year, with 16% already selling off properties over the last 12 months.

Real estate agent sitting at the desk by the window and passing keys to his client in the office

Despite high demand, around 23% of landlords in the East of England are looking to sell in the next year - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

This is bad news for tenants in the area looking for homes to let, particularly those with limited means.

While our figures show that 80% of landlords in the East of England did not increase rents in the last year, there is a disconnect between supply and demand that needs to be tackled if rents are to remain at these levels.

Now, with the Government’s spending review just round the corner, the NRLA is calling on the Chancellor to implement pro-growth policies that will give landlords the courage to continue to invest to meet this increasing demand for rental homes.

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These include calls for a tax system that recognises landlords’ expenses as legitimate business costs and allows appropriate deductions – as well as a comprehensive financial package to support those with tenants who have fallen into Covid-related arrears.

3D illustration with ecology icons on brown wooden background to convey the idea of sustainable living and green eco homes.

NRLA is calling on the Chancellor to implement pro-growth policies to encourage more landlords to invest and to be able to access funding to make energy efficiency improvements - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

We also want ringfenced funding to allow landlords to make energy efficiency improvements, allowing more homes to hit ambitious new Government targets, while cutting tenants’ bills.

Boosting the supply of private rented homes is good for landlords, renters, and the local economy, and we are committed to working with officials at a local and national level to create a private rented sector that works for all.

Chris Norris is policy director at NRLA, a not-for-profit trade association, set up by landlords, for landlords, offering support, advice, training and representation. For more information and to join visit www.nrla.org.uk

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