Landlords have accused the Government of "breaking the private rented sector" with its relentless regulatory and tax policies.
The comments have been made by the NRLA, which says that while demand for rented homes is rising as home ownership becomes less affordable, the number of properties in the market continues to dwindle.
Successive Conservative governments have set out on a 'deliberate effort to discourage investment in the private rented housing'� for over seven years now, it claims.
This includes measures to restrict mortgage interest relief and imposing a three per cent stamp duty levy on the purchase of homes to rent out, and a looming Capital Gains Tax expected in Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's Autumn Statement tomorrow.
'The Government's strategy for the private rented sector lies in tatters,'� says Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the NRLA.
'The fact that the supply of homes to rent is falling despite an increase in demand is a damning indictment of tax decisions which serve only to increase rents and make home ownership more difficult to achieve.
'Further tax hikes on the sector risk making an already bad situation worse. Ministers need to recognise that a healthy and vibrant private rental market needs to sit alongside, rather than be in competition with, efforts to support homeownership.'�
Official ONS figures show that the number of households in the private rented sector has fallen by over a quarter of a million over the past five years while demand from prospective tenants has soared '� up by 142 per cent now compared to the five-year average, according to Zoopla.
And the demand for rental housing is set to grow further as mortgages become more expensive, the NRLA is warning that further tax hikes will serve only to 'exacerbate the crisis facing many tenants trying to find housing'�.