The government intends to hold a consultation on tenancy agreement lengths, with the proposal setting out the shortest term being three years with a six-month break clause.
As it stands around 80% of tenancies in England and Wales are either six or twelve month assured short hold agreements, any changes would be significant and have a huge impact on both the tenant and the landlord.
Not everyone wants a three year tenancy
The proposal brings into question the flexibility that may need to be given to tenants who don’t want or need a three-year tenancy agreement, not everyone has lifestyles that suit such commitment. For example, students or those who may find their family expanding and need more space, or who may experience a relationship breakdown.
Not every person renting wants a long-term agreement, research has found that 40% do, but 40% don’t with 50% being happy with the current situation.
Families in rental accommodation
The reason for the consultation is the governments growing concern with the number of families facing short term rental accommodation. Housing Secretary James Brokenshire commented “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.”
We feel the problems are exacerbated by the lack of social housing, something that Brokenshire has shied away from tackling as a long-term solution to the issues he raises. The crux of the matter is that he is making the landlords responsible for the stability of families.
Outsourcing this key issue to become the responsibility of landlords is unfair and unjust. Home ownership levels have fallen to 63%, with social housing stock set to fall 370,000 by 2020, this is detailed hereIn 1979 42% of British people lived in council housing and by 2016 that figure had fallen to just under 8%.
The consultation can be viewed here and we urge you to put forward your views.
David is an authorised High Court Enforcement Officer and our Director of Corporate Governance