The new Housing Minister Mark Prisk says that housing associations should help to meet the increasing demand from private clients wanting to rent a home. He is suggesting that the housing associations should bid for a share of the government’s £10 billion debt guarantee scheme announced in August. He thinks that as well as catering for social tenants the associations should provide their services to private tenants as well.

Landlord insurance clients may find that they have a new group of competitors if the housing associations move into the private rented sector. Mr Prisk recently said: “Housing Associations already provide excellent services to their tenants, but have the potential to offer homes to a much wider group of people. By making the most of the new and positive measures we’re taking, social landlords can branch out and provide the spark to get Britain building”.

The government is seeking to increase the supply of new affordable homes and as well as the £10 billion debt guarantee scheme it has launched a £300 million capital fund aimed at delivering up to 15,000 new affordable homes and returning 5,000 empty ones into use.

An independent review was recently published by Sir Adrian Montague who had been asked by the government to look into the reasons why institutional investors were reluctant to invest in private rental property. One of the recommendations was that the requirement for developments to have a certain percentage of affordable housing could be waived in cases where institutions were funding private rental developments. The buy to let business has traditionally been characterised by small private landlords who start off with one property and build up their portfolios from there. This may change if the large institutions move in.