Private landlords urged to embrace ‘life-time tenancies’ by leading London council
Brent Council’s decision to overhaul its tenancy strategy reflects reality that banning Section 21 notice evictions will, in effect, introduced open-ended tenancies through the back door, as has happened in Scotland.
Brent Council hopes to inspire private landlords to follow its lead by giving tenants more security by introducing life-time tenancies.
The London borough has overhauled its tenancy strategy and will be working closely with all private and social housing landlords to encourage them to review the way they manage their own tenancies.
It wants to incentivise them to encourage longer tenancies and rent at local housing allowance levels and to promote community-led housing in the private rented sector and deposit guarantee schemes.
A council spokeswoman tells LandlordZONE: “Our hope is that landlords will work with us so the private rented sector is an affordable and accessible housing option for Brent renters.”
Brent has replaced its fixed-term tenancies with life-time tenancies and has also introduced ‘demoted’ tenancies to tackle anti-social behaviour (a form of tenancy that reduces a tenant’s security of tenure and rights).
It says that while the majority work well, when things break down and a council tenant has been involved in antisocial behaviour or uses their home unlawfully, officers can now serve a four-week notice of intention to demote the tenancy for 12 months.
The council’s updated tenancy management policy pledges to support residents so they can stay in their homes “for as long as is suitable for them” and it has promised to work actively to prevent homelessness. Brent is now offering joint tenancies to cohabiting couples so that both people are protected.
Councillor Eleanor Southwood, cabinet member for housing and welfare reform, says the Covid-19 pandemic is a reminder of how important it is to have a safe and secure place to call home.
She adds: “I want everyone who moves into a council home to feel settled and part of their local community so that they can start building happy memories, without worrying.
“A secure tenancy for as long as someone needs – and providing accessible and clear information about what to expect – are a core part of our promise. I very much hope that all landlords across the borough will adopt these changes”.
“Tenancies without an end date will become the norm once Section 21 notice evictions are banned, as is already the case in Scotland,” says Tim Frome, Legal Director of Landlord Action.