Longer standard tenancies
The government says it will shortly respond to over 8,700 responses it received about its suggestions for longer standard tenancies in the private rental sector.
In a statement over the holiday season, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “Our consultation on Overcoming the barriers to longer standard tenancies in the private rented sector closed at the end of August. Over 8,700 responses were received, which are being analysed and discussed with ministers. We expect to publish a response in the New Year and will consider the findings in parallel with the responses from our call for evidence on the case for a Housing Court.”
The consultation which formally closed in late August invited views and comments on the benefits and barriers of landlords offering longer tenancies in England.
In the consultation the government claimed some 80 per cent of tenants currently had contracts of six or 12 months – and that many wanted longer standard tenancies.
Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said at the time: “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, much of the lettings industry was concerned at the proposals which were considered to be weighted against the rental sector and did not offer sufficient incentives to landlords willing to risk longer tenancies.
The response from ARLA was typical of many revealed at the time.
It argued that the idea of a three-year tenancy with a six-month break clause – as proposed by government – was unworkable for three reasons.
“Firstly, they will reduce flexibility and control for tenants. Secondly, the proposals will not provide parity for both tenants and landlords. Thirdly, automatic rent increases will likely cost tenants more money” said ARLA.
“The main barrier to landlords offering longer-term tenancies is that demand for this type of tenancy is low. The other main barriers are the time taken to gain possession of property, and mortgage conditions. In addition, letting agents want well-maintained tenancies as void periods and renewals reduce agent’s fees.”