Study will look at how social housing tenants could make more use of private rented accommodation

A review of the private rented sector was announced by government this week as part of a package of measures designed to improve housing conditions for people on low incomes.

Housing minister Yvette Cooper told an invited audience of social housing professionals that she would commission a review of the private rented sector in the new year, to see how social housing tenants could make “more use of private rented accommodation.”

The announcement was immediately welcomed by the British Property Federation, which has long campaigned for the government to do more to establish a professional private rented sector backed by institutional investors. Ian Fletcher, director for residential policy for the BPF, said he wanted a “cross-departmental strategy for the sector… encompassing planning, tax and, benefit policy and not just how the sector is regulated.”

The review was part of a package of measures announced in response to the review of social housing conducted by London School of Economics academic Professor John Hills earlier this year.

In it Cooper said she wanted to see more redevelopment of the worst housing estates in order to break up mono-tenure social housing estates with private home owners. The communities department is also to investigate the working of the social housing finance system, in a move which could make it easier for councils and arms length council housing management companies (Almos) to develop new homes.

In addition she said the government was about to announce details of social housing funding for the next three years which would see big increases in every region.