The Government must urgently deliver 1.8m new rental homes for UK families, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has said.
It says that there has been a sharp drop in the number of available properties.
According to the RICS, purchases of buy-to-let properties have dropped sharply since Stamp Duty changes kicked in on April 1, and 86% of landlords have no plans to increase their rental portfolios.
The RICS says the private rented sector is “ailing” and that 1.8m new rental homes are needed by 2025 just to keep up with current demand.
The problem of insufficient rental supply is expected to be exacerbated next year when landlords’ right to deduct their mortgage interest from their income tax bill is removed.
The RICS is urging the prime minister to abandon David Cameron’s previous home ownership focus and reverse April’s Stamp Duty measures.
It is also calling for a stronger ‘build to rent’ sector.
Jeremy Blackburn, RICS head of policy, said: “It’s time for Theresa May to get out her hard hat. We are facing a critical rental shortage and need to get Britain building in a way that benefits a cross section of society, not just the fortunate few.
“Our latest figures show that there has been a 15% decline in house sales to first-time buyers over recent months.
“The private rented sector became a scapegoat under the previous prime minister. Yet with increasingly unaffordable house prices, the majority of British households will be relying on the rental sector in the future.
“We must ensure that it is fit for purpose, and the Government must put in place the measures that will allow the rental sector to thrive. Any restrictions on supply will push up rents, marginalising those members of society who are already struggling.”