28 June 2014

The National Landlords Association (NLA) has warned against calls for an institution-driven, branded UK rental market that mirrors that of the United States.

The association, which represents private residential landlords, said there were few similarities between the two housing markets and that the focus should stay on developing the UK market to reflect its own needs.

David Salisbury, chairman of the NLA, said, "We should be wary of calls to mirror the US housing market here in the UK, especially since there are few similarities and the US housing market is suffering considerably. We need to focus on developing the UK rental market around its own specific needs and circumstances.

"Encouraging a diverse UK rental market, including encouraging professional private landlords, will enable choice that will benefit consumers. Where is the evidence that large corporate investors are concerned about developing housing for the more vulnerable groups in society? Or will the focus only be on the high-profit areas of the market, as their shareholders might expect?"

Its opinion sparked a response from the British Property Federation (BPF), which campaigns on behalf of institutional investors.

Ian Fletcher, director for residential policy at the BPF, said, "The BPF supports professional landlords whether they are small, medium and large and indeed has all in its membership. Whether a consumer chooses a small, medium or large landlord should ultimately be their decision and not dictated by the NLA or any other person or organisation.

"Continuing to promote professionalism in the sector at all levels and its expansion should ultimately be good for the whole sector. The BPF will therefore continue to promote an agenda, which logically supports choice, meeting housing need, affordability and expanding opportunities. The NLA on the other hand, seems to want to promote protectionism, which will lead to fewer choices, greater housing need and higher rents."

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