He says landlords need to be viewed as small-to-medium-sized businesses and should be supported as they develop their portfolios.
Heron says: “For years housing policy has failed to address the fact that if we want a larger private rented sector, private landlords have to be motivated to expand supply.
“If we look abroad to countries around the world with larger private rented markets you find housing and fiscal policies considerably more supportive of private landlords, with tax breaks for depreciation and capital losses a routine element of the mix used to motivate landlords.
“Such an approach in the UK would make investment less cyclical and more long-term, to the benefit of landlords, tenants and ultimately the UK plc.”
The private rented sector he says makes a great contribution to the UK economy – it facilitates labour mobility and flexibility, provides an income to thousands of small businesses, supports a number of associated industries, such as letting agents and maintenance companies, oils the wheels of the housing market and makes a great contribution to the public purse.
He adds: “Buy-to-let has played a major role in this, providing the vital finance needed to fund the improvement in choice and standards. Buy-to-let is not just about a balance sheet – it has had a clear and tangible beneficial impact on the lives of millions of renters.”