Reappraising the place for private rental housing in the UK market: Why an unbalanced economy is at risk


There appears to be a current policy fascination with what rental provision from the private housing sector could offer to the UK’s housing market and to national and local economies. A plethora of reports from Parliamentary Committees, independent think-tanks, academic and professional bodies have promoted the benefits of new private rental supplies, but there seems little critical evaluation of whether this could make economic matters worse rather than better, nor of the potential negative impact upon local places. This Viewpoint tables a number of concerns on the nature of private rental supply and its problems. It notes the manner in which the rise in private renting is impacting upon other parts of the housing market, not least its growing influence on wider assessments of housing performance by the establishment of benchmarks that are based upon ‘open market’ conditions. Particular criticism is levelled at how private rental provision is increasing ‘social’ and economic divisions between those having settled and secure accommodation and those seeing their income lost to short-hold and limited residences. A critique is levelled against the promotion of the sector as some kind of a ‘value-neutral’ investment, since current rental and investment mechanisms represent an ideological framework to consolidate ever more resources with investors and property-owners that exclude increasing numbers of households from the potential benefits of their own owner-occupation. It is also argued that the ideological values underpinning a transfer of UK home ownership to the investment sector are going unreported, and that expansion of the private rental sector represents a real threat to future ‘affordable housing provision’. The piece concludes with some views for putting other frameworks and financial systems for a fairer basis of housing delivery

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Field2014ReappraisingTP, title={Reappraising the place for private rental housing in the UK market: Why an unbalanced economy is at risk}, author={Martin Field}, year={2014} }