A new report that calls for an increase investment in the rented homes sector has been welcomed by the National Landlords Association.
Sir Adrian Montague, chairman of private equity firm 3i, recommended a series of measures to speed up the building of privately rented homes.
The private rented sector has grown rapidly in recent years and now houses 3.6 million households, compared to some 2 million in the early 1980s.
Sir Adrian recommends that local authorities "should use existing flexibilities in the planning system to plan for and enable developments of privately rented homes, where they can meet local needs".
He said a major housebuilding programme could also boost the stalled construction sector and reduce unemployment.
Richard Lambert, Chief Executive Officer at the National Landlords Association (NLA) welcomed the report's emphasis on increased investment in the private-rented sector.
"At present, we are simply not building enough new homes to meet the demand," he said.
"The genuine interest from institutional investors in building to rent is the fastest way to make a significant impact on the shortage of housing.
"Private renting currently accounts for almost 17% of all households in the UK; this is expected to rise to 27% by 2020.
"If the private-rented sector is to meet this demand, new investment initiatives will be essential, and will bring innovation and new thinking to the provision of rented homes.
"While Montague's focus is on encouraging large scale investment, there will always be a role for the smaller landlord, and we are confident that the measures he proposes will benefit all professional landlords, irrespective of scale.
"We look forward to working with new investors, learning from their business approach and sharing the skills and experiences honed by private landlords over decades of providing good quality homes for millions of private tenants.”
Housing minister Grant Shapps said it was necessary to "attract and encourage new players to the market, while at the same time avoiding the excessive regulation that would force up rents and reduce choice for tenants".