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Housing minister says he backs longer private rental tenancies

The new housing minister, Gavin Barwell, says he is behind the concept of longer tenancies for renters in the private sector.

In response to a House of Commons question from Conservative Julian Knight - now MP for Solihull and previously a journalist at The Independent - Barwell said he was investigating how to make longer tenancies easier to obtain for renters. 

“My department [the DCLG] has developed a model tenancy agreement for use by landlords and tenants in the private rented sector, which encourages longer-term tenancies for those who want them. We are working with the sector to actively promote the use of this and to identify any barriers. We have also established a working group, focussed on affordability and security in the private rented sector, which will look at what more we can do to help people who require longer tenancies to get them” he told Knight. 

One of Barwell’s predecessors as housing minister announced in October 2013 that the government was to introduce new measures to encourage longer, fixed term, ‘family-friendly’ tenancies in the rental sector. 

This involved providing a model tenancy agreement developed alongside the sector which sets out the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords and “acts as a benchmark for written tenancy agreements.” 

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    'for those who want them' is the key phrase here. Forcing long tenancies on tenants or landlords would not be clever. But the present system would anyway permit longer tenancies 'for those who want them' so what's the point?

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    Aside from getting the banks to agree to this, I'm sure the idea of longer tenancies is only viewed as a one-way street...no doubt if 1-3 year tenancies were commonplace, there'd be a clause to allow the tenant to cut loose. I cannot imagine many renter's whose circumstance has changed, say 8 months into a 3-year agreement, being too happy about being held to the remainder (some 24-months!) and the associated rent.

    "What do we want?" "Long term tenancies?" "When do we want it?" "Now! (Provided we can wriggle out of them if it suits us)..."

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    *28-months, even!

     
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