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Rows erupt over mandatory three-year tenancies and six-month break clauses

Arguments have already started over the government’s proposals to make three year tenancies the norm in the private rental sector.

Letting Agent Today reported over the weekend that the government will today, Monday, announce a formal consultation period on the proposal.

In government briefings to selected journalists over the weekend it was revealed that the three year period would be the most common duration for a tenancy in England with some exceptions, such as for students.

It has now also emerged that the government is likely to demand a six-month break clause.

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire will this morning issue a statement saying: “It is deeply unfair when renters are forced to uproot their lives or find new schools for their children at short notice due to the terms of their rental contract. Being able to call your rental property your home is vital to putting down roots and building stronger communities.”

However, there has already been dissent about the proposal.

Several comments on LAT’s story yesterday suggested that the issue of a tenant not paying rent may be exacerbated by the longer tenancies. One comment said “the government doesn’t have a clue” about how letting agents, landlords, buy to let investors and the broader rental sector operated.

Now Labour’s housing spokesman, John Healey, has also criticised the idea. He says: “Any fresh help for renters is welcome but this latest promise is meaningless if landlords can still force tenants out by hiking up the rent.”

Healey says Labour’s plans include controls on rents, an end to what he describes as “no-fault evictions” and enhanced protection against sub-standard properties.

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