A leading figure in the property world has called on ministers to stop interfering in the private rented sector.
Dorian Gonsalves, director of commercial and franchising at franchise chain Belvoir, warned that tax onslaughts against private landlords could deter investment in the market.
Gonsalves also said the Government should “dramatically” increase the supply of social housing to take pressure off the private rented sector.
However, if ministers heed his call, that would represent a significant U-turn, with the Housing and Planning Bill now heading towards its third reading in the Commons.
The Bill’s provisions include extending the Right to Buy to social housing tenants. Critics have described the Bill as the death of social housing.
Gonsalves said that private landlords could have “second thoughts about buying properties” in the face of George Osborne’s tax clampdown on finance costs and the 3% Stamp Duty surcharge.
In reference to the Housing and Planning Bill’s emphasis on home ownership, Gonsalves said: “Whipping the public up into a home-buying frenzy is not very sensible, as prices rise when the population feels they need to acquire a ‘must have’ commodity. If the opposite happens and prices stagnate, builders will not build.
“With net immigration currently at over 300,000, over 1.5m people on council waiting lists, population forecasts as high as 85m by 2050 and 10m people already renting, it is clear that much more social housing is required.
“The Government has pledged 400,000 new-builds in the next five years, but it is likely that 200,000 of these will be in and around London and locations won’t be ideal due to lack of building land at sensible prices.
“The remaining 200,000 will be spread across the other 1,000 or so towns and cities across the UK, so there will probably be just 200 new affordable properties in each town or city.”
He said: “The private rental sector has always existed to provide a choice for those people who need flexibility and is a good solution for people who do not wish to commit to purchasing a property.”
He said that the private rented sector should no longer be expected to bridge the “immense gap” between demand for social housing and its low supply.