Housing Minister Gavin Barwell has backtracked on a government pledge to make buy to let landlords offer renters longer tenancy agreements.
In a new Housing White Paper supported by media interviews, tenants were promised longer tenancy agreements to give them more security in their homes.
The detail of the policy was not specific, so Barwell was asked for clarification.
He turned statements by colleagues and his Department of Communities and Local Government on their head by explaining the policy change would apply to social housing groups and institutional investors taking part in the Build to Rent scheme.
But the new rules will not apply to buy to let, he said.
“My hope is that when you get those players coming in, that will disrupt the market and will think history is very clear about what happened when you have rent controls – I don’t think that would be a good idea,” said Barwell after the publication of the White Paper.
Figures suggest around 4.3 million private tenants rent a buy to let home.
The White Paper laid out a policy to encourage longer rental agreements and more affordable rents to take the place of building affordable homes on their developments.
Commenting on the paper, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn urged more investment in social housing and regulation of the buy to let market.
The policy document did give some clues about the new direction of the government’s housing initiative.
The aim is to attract more private investment in Build to Rent projects that offer tenants the goal of owning their home at the expense of millions of private landlords owning a few rental properties.
The buy to let tax crackdown starting in April together with recent increases in stamp duty and capital gains tax on investment properties appears to be a policy to discourage private landlords while Build to Rent switches the tax breaks to larger investors willing to fund large developments.