Nigel Terrington, chief executive of Paragon, said: “We always welcome discussion about the role of the PRS. Mr Darling is right to focus on the need to improve supply in the housing market and it is clear that the PRS will have to play a greater role.
“However, it was disappointing that he failed to acknowledge the improvements that have occurred in the PRS in recent years, many of which have been driven by buy-to-let.”
Terrington said the private rented sector has made huge progress in the past 20 years and the most recent English Housing Survey reveals that 85% of those living in the sector are satisfied with the quality of the property they live in compared with 81% of those living in the social sector.
And he added: “The buy-to-let market and the private landlord continue to make a huge contribution to the housing market which is often not recognised. With renting increasingly seen as an affordable, flexible option, we need to move away from the old politics of pushing homeownership.
“It is important to remember that with regards to the housing market a ‘one size fits all’ approach is completely unattainable. This is why the private rented sector, with its huge variety of homes and flexibility, will be instrumental in growing the housing market in the UK.”
Speaking at the Building Societies Association conference in Manchester earlier this week Darling said: “If we are going to buy houses later on in life then we have to address that we have an inadequate rented sector in this country.
“It is very unsatisfactory. It is something not a lot of people will want to do in this country. The sector is not great.”