A new national taskforce of companies and organisations involved in the housing market has said private landlords should not be blamed for the current lack of affordable homes available for lower-income tenants to rent.

The report highlights what landlords have been saying since successive Conservative administrations have attempted to wash their hands of social housing while at the same time, ironically, reducing private landlords’ tax breaks and increasing regulation of the sector.

Instead, the Nationwide-led coalition 51 big-name organisations says, the UK should return to providing these renters with decent quality, affordable council-run rented accommodation.

The group includes the National Residential Landlord Association as well as key housing charities, the UK’s largest estate agency Connells, Rightmove, big house builders and several large insurance firms including Legal & General.

Research by Ipsos-Mori on the group’s behalf shows that 71% of renters consider the housing market to be ‘in crisis’.

Social housing

“Renting privately is not the best way to house large numbers of lower income earners,” says Affordable Housing Commission Chair, Lord Best. “We need social housing to do that.”

The report blames Margaret Thatcher’s ‘right to buy’ reforms introduced during the 1980s which, the report says, drastically reduced the supply of council houses, forcing many lower owners into the private rental market.

But many landlords are now actively avoiding this kind of tenant, a trend intensified by the complexities and frustrations of dealing with the Universal Credit system.

Sara Bennison (main pic), Chief Product and Marketing Officer at Nationwide Building Society, says: “Our research and cross-industry conversations show that the pandemic has served to exacerbate long-standing issues in the housing market.”

The report also includes the controversial claims by Lord Best that policy incentives could ‘encourage sales to homeowners and social landlords, rather than to investors’.

The Future of Home report also looks at many aspects of the housing market including housing availability, the UK’s ageing housing stock and to make our homes more sustainable.

Read more about renting initiatives backed by Nationwide.


  1. Seems so obvious to me. The “right to buy” legislation needs to stop right now. AFAIK it’s still in place. Who ever thought it was good idea to literally give away the affordable housing (Ok, sell off at a huge discount amounts to giving a large proportion away.)

    Figures I’ve read are that there were 6.5 million council houses in the early ’80s & now it’s only close to 2 million.
    Population in then was 56 million & now it’s 67 million (that they know of).
    That is why back then there were all the reforms regarding ASTs to make it attractive to the PRS to fill in this massive shortfall of council housing.
    Now the government want to take us back to that era & make the PRS unviable once more but they no longer have their own housing stock to replace the PRS – they gave it away.
    At the current building rate it’d take 134 years to rebuild their housing stock.
    Not going to happen is it?

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