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Government pledges to consult on longer private tenancies

The government has announced that it is to formally consult on proposals for longer tenancies in the private rental sector.

Although there has been much debate about the issue, with government and opposition politicians calling for longer tenancies - with industry bodies often in agreement - there has not until now been a formal position put forward by government.

However, the Housing Secretary, James Brokenshire, has said in the Commons: “We will shortly consult on options to support landlords to offer longer tenancies to those who want them.”

The consultation was first hinted at in last November’s Budget when Chancellor Phillip Hammond said that longer tenancies could be encouraged by tax incentives - but no further details were given at the time. 

The Association of Residential Letting Agents and landlord bodies the RLA and NLA have for some time been saying that evidence suggests tenants stay in the same properties for much longer than was popularly believed to be the case. 

A recent survey of some 3,000 landlords by the Residential Landlords Associstion revealed that 63 per cent would offer a tenancy of 12 months or longer at the request of the tenant. 

However, the association also points out that amongst the downsides there are risks of landlords being out of pocket for longer if a tenant stops paying rent, and RLA research found nearly one in four landlords said their mortgage conditions that restricted the maximum tenancy length.

Another recent survey, by regional lettings agency Morgans, also confirmed that many renters would be happy with 12 month tenancies.  

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    ‘Support landlords’, not a phrase used for a long time. Let’s see ! Support more than likely means penalise the ones who don’t.
    Do hope they factor into the equation the millions of tenants who don’t want a longer tenancy.
    Likely outcome a new one sided longer agreement in favour of tenant so they can leave early. Result - more landlords bashed out the sector who can’t accommodate for genuine reasons, then yet more demand less supply etc etc etc..

  • jeremy clarke

    Why can everyone not just let the market decide? In my experience it is always tenants who want to break contract and leave early, I can recall maybe 1 landlord in past 10 years that has asked the question. Truth is, from a landlord's perspective the longer a tenant remains and fulfils contract the better, no more meddling required!

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    I agree, the longer a good tenant stay the better. In Germany they have system where a 6 year contract is not uncommon, with agreed rent raises at agreed dates. If your a landlord who is not looking to sell up, this is a good idea. Over the last six year period each my properties have had almost a whole year void and the usual expense with agents and a repaint etc. I personally would reduce the rent for a good reliable long term tenant, if this came with a tax break as well.....no brainer.
    My solicitor tells me that at present if you offer more than a two year contract it offers rights to the tenants that do not help the landlord should the tenants not pay their rent, this is the area the government need to be clear on. Of course I doubt letting agents would be too chuffed.

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    If we have longer tenancies then we need to have them both ways. We already have rolling tenancies although agents are not that keen because they loose fees. I never bother with six months tenancies once I know a tenant is"ok".

    Broken tenancies when tenants leave early and have not paid their rent are expensive for landlords.
    If we are going to give longer tenancies there still has to be ways for a landlord to remove problem tenants. I know from experience that tenants will always blame the vile landlord but I have experience to say it is more likely to be the vile tenant who is at fault.

    I am getting old and starting to sell my properties. If I don't sell them there will come a point where my beneficiaries will. New laws are not going to force me and many others to become immortal.

    The only people who will benefit from longer tenancies will be lawyers because of the complicated rigmarole that will have been created. The rest of us are far better off just taking it as it comes.

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    In Scotland we have longer tenancies and the biggest problem with them is tenants giving 28 days notice within a week of moving into a property.

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