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Longer tenancies - agents have less than two weeks to respond

Agents and others wishing to respond to the official consultation on government proposals for longer tenancies have only until late evening on August 26.

The proposals, unveiled early last month, raised eyebrows for a number of reasons including the fact that the consultation process was happening at the height of summer. 

In the proposals, the government says some 80 per cent of tenants currently have contracts of six or 12 months, and that many want longer tenancies.

"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" says Communities Secretary James Brokenshire in a document accompanying the consultation. 

"That's why I am determined to act” he adds.

Build To Rent operators have welcomed the proposed longer tenancies but there have been concerns raised by organisations representing the far larger Buy To Let sector - although landlord bodies have welcomed hints in the consultation that there could be fiscal incentives for investors offering longer tenancies.

The consultation document explicitly rules out rent caps and rent controls as such but contains some paragraphs that have concerned some agents, notably in paragraphs 72 to 74 of the document. Included in this section is the clause: “The proposed model therefore permits a rent increase but does not cap the amount of increase except that it must be a level that is agreed at the outset of the tenancy agreement with the tenant.” 

It also says: “Rents can only increase once per year at whatever rate the landlord and tenant agree but the landlord must be absolutely clear about how rents will increase when advertising the property. We recognise that landlords may need to increase the rent to respond to market conditions and do not want to unfairly penalise them financially. The proposed model therefore permits a rent increase but does not cap the amount of increase except that it must be a level that is agreed at the outset of the tenancy agreement with the tenant. An alternative option would be to cap the rent increase at the rate of inflation in the Consumer Price Index or other measure.”

You can see the government's full consultation document on longer tenancies, and details of how to respond here.

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