One of the key themes of the previous chapter was that the provision of a wide range of options to rent or buy, or to acquire property on an intermediate basis, would help to broaden access to housing specifically for lower-income groups in the rural areas. Part of this range of options stemmed from the privately rented sector (PRS). From the 1980s onwards, policy makers have recognised the valid contribution that private landlords play in terms of delivering affordable housing solutions. This chapter discusses private renting and the role it plays within the housing system. It determines the extent to which these roles are different or complementary to the social rented sector. It also discusses the implications of the PRS on the particular sub-markets of local housing systems that the sector is operating in. Before focusing on these issues, the chapter first provides a historical overview of the PRS.
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