07 Feb 2017

The Government’s eagerly anticipated housing white paper was expected to herald a shift in housing policy from over-reliance on building of houses for sale and a recognition of the important role of the private rented sector.

On one level the white paper has done just that and recognised the huge potential of “Build To Rent”, however, the paper is low on detail as to how the Government is to support the sector.

The paper acknowledges that more housing is required and that we need to build new homes faster. It is pleasing that the paper specifically highlights the need to “encourage institutional investment in the private rented sector and promote more modular and factory build homes”. However, the only detail provided as to how that will be achieved is:

  • Changing National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to make Build To Rent providers offer affordable private rental homes (instead of other types of affordable tenure) and to encourage local authorities to plan pro-actively for Build To Rent
  • Making “family-friendly” tenancies of three or more years available (under discussion with the British Property Federation and others).

Tom Willows, Managing Associate, said: “The sentiment will be well received by institutional investors involved in Build To Rent but the paper is scant on detail as to the “family-friendly” tenancy or what the changes to the NPPF will look like. It’s also worth noting that the Government has again declined to make an exception for institutional investors in relation to the 3% SDLT surcharge on additional residential properties, a change which would have undoubtedly stimulated institutional investment further."