The think-tank warned that one in three millennials could still be renting by the time they collect their pensions and up to half may be renting, privately or socially, in their 40s.
Spending longer in rental accommodation has implications for families, the foundation argued, and said that with more children now being brought up in private rented sector, policy must catch up with the demographic changes in renters.
In its paper, Home Improvements, the foundation claimed that while some steps have been taken to support housebuilding, housing policy is not addressing the current problems faced by renters which range from insecure tenancies to poor-quality housing.
In 2003, the number of children in owner-occupied housing outnumbered those in the PRS by eight to one. That ratio has now fallen to two to one as a record 1.8 million families with children rent privately, up from just 600,000 15 years ago.
Lindsay Judge, senior policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “If we want to tackle Britain’s ‘here and now’ housing crisis we have to improve conditions for the millions of families living in private rented accommodation. That means raising standards and reducing the risks associated with renting through tenancy reform and light touch rent stabilisation.
“For any housing strategy to be relevant and effective for people of all ages, it must include this combination of support for renters, first-time buyers and ultimately a level of housebuilding that matches what the country needs.”
To improve the housing offer for renters, the Foundation is calling for:
Milne said households who want to establish families and put down roots in their communities have little choice in the private rented sector to find a home they feel secure and happy in.