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'Landlords part of solution to housing crisis, not the problem'

David smith landlords

Any new government must continue to encourage private landlords if it is to effectively tackle the housing crisis, according to property lawyer David Smith.

While all the manifestos are likely to put forward proposals about tackling the shortage of affordable housing, most are likely to focus on one or two areas and probably won’t recognise that radical change is needed across all areas.

Writing in City AM, Smith explains that simply pointing to the need for more or fewer social housing, private landlords or new build housing alone is not the solution.

“This means substantial reform of the planning system, more social housing, more new-build housing and, much as it may annoy some, continued encouragement to private sector landlords to keep housing people, at least in the short term,” he says.

“Effective housing provision is not about choosing one type of housing or one provider over another but about bringing together all participants behind a centralised vision.”


The right strategy requires a solution which embraces not just planning, construction or landlord regulation but all of these along with public health, education and transport, believes Smith.

“More housing is important but there is little point in providing new housing unless it is of good quality and comes with necessary local services and connections to places of work, health, and education,” he adds.

“Housing is a part of a wider social need and should not be seen in a silo.”

Rural planning systems are no longer fit for a post-Covid work era, but despite this, the current thinking is all about increasing densification; the only real difference has been around whether new development sites are urban or suburban in nature, says Smith.

“This is a failure to recognise the true issues, which are about enabling people to live and work across the UK, rather than being encouraged, implicitly or explicitly, to gravitate towards cities for jobs, affordable housing, and services.”

Pic credit: JMW Solicitors

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