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Labour pledges ‘indefinite tenancies’ for private renters

Labour says it will introduce new ‘indefinite’ tenancies for private tenants, based on rules currently in place in Germany.

It claims German tenancies last, on average, 11 years, compared to around four years in England. 

Labour also says the German system serves as a brake on rent increases, because it believes agents and landlords use the changeover of tenants as an opportunity to hike rents. 


Tenants themselves are still be able to choose to leave the property after a period of notice.

In a statement over the weekend Labour coined that at present tenants “can be evicted without any reason being given, and despite having done nothing wrong.” 

Under the German system, tenancies are effectively open-ended with a tenant only able to be evicted on tightly defined grounds, for example if they don’t pay the rent or commit criminal behaviour in the property.

At the 2017 election, Labour committed to default three year tenancies but it says it will now “consult widely with landlord and tenant groups” on redefining the grounds for termination of a tenancy, ahead of the next general election. 

Labour has already set out broad policies seeking some rent controls too. 

“People shouldn’t be living in fear of losing their homes. The insecurity of renting is a power imbalance at the heart of our broken housing market, where tenants are afraid to report problems in case they are evicted, and families with children are forced to move at short notice” claims John Healey, Labour’s shadow housing secretary.

“Many landlords provide decent homes that tenants are happy with, but the government is allowing rogue landlords to take advantage of good tenants. Renters deserve better” he insists.

  • Fed Up Landlord

    If he thinks the housing market is broken now wait until the full effects of Section 24, additional regulation, and the Tenant Fee Ban kick in where landlords are forced to sell up ( as they are doing now) because their properties are no longer financially viable. Indefinite tenancies with break clauses for tenants and not for landlords will mean more landlords WILL sell. Well done Jeremy Corbyn, Shelter and Generation Rent. Look forward to less and less choice and higher rents.


    Well done also to the tories for ending austerity, oh wait that still exists...

  • Simon Shinerock

    Germany has big corporate landlords, much of the rental stock was built specifically to let. What Labour is suggesting would end the PRS as we know it and result in misery for millions, tenants and Landlords alike. If they gain power and this policy is on the agenda there will be a stampede of landlords heading for the exit, it will be a bloodbath

  • Emma Hamilton

    Whatever next???

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    Right - so they've banned fees to tenants to reduce costs etc but I see they've conevniently completely ignored the fact that in Germany tenants are required to provide their own kitchen - rather a greater barrier on moving and associated costs don't you think?!

    S l
    • S l
    • 11 March 2019 14:11 PM

    the governing party are picking and choosing what nots to add pressure to the prs just because it is private. i recently found out that the council would pressurise and impose higher council tax on owners who are found to have rented properties in the same area and charge their own tax to the max eg no single person exemption and put onus of proof on owner themselves, what a joke. they obviously knew it should be on them , not the occupier to prove . secondly they would impose 150 percent council tax on empty property which are not empty and refused to allow normal 100 percent council tax or student exemptions despite having students trying to register as we landlords are on direct debit to pay the council tax

  • James B

    More Desperate vote campaigning stuff
    Labour must think this will win some votes as they got currently zero chance of winning an election, clueless
    Sadly it’s a downward spiral for landlords as the Tories will read this and know they need to do something similar to keep generation rent votes


    I think the conservative's incompetence and lack of understanding of the real world is what will win labour votes rather than this.

  • icon

    What a chinless wonder this Healey is...It's the same old stuff - 'rogue' landlords and 'good tenants.

    He wants to get out there and find out how many good landlords and rogue tenants there are.

    Oblivious to the facts - just wants the votes! Are there any honest and true politicians anywhere that we could admire and respect?

    James B


  • Kristjan Byfield

    As always- governments continued failings at social housing blamed on landlords and agents to distract from that. Intent on breaking a system that does work just fine.

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    Spoke to local Labour MP recently, she is on the select committee for housing. Hadn't a clue about the property market at all. She mentioned the German system of rent but didn't know how it worked. I enlightened her rent capping in Berlin (10% increase per year in 2 out of 3 years), properties being totally unfurnished, kitchen, bathrooms, carpets curtains etc, security deposits are much higher than in the UK. A great system but tenants have to commit alot financially to get the benefits of the longer tenancies. Clueless Labour.

    James B

    They too busy trying to tell tenants what they want to hear for the votes, rather than learn or try understand the market and what will improve it


    Having rented privately in Germany 35+ years ago there was good and bad in their system. Amongst the restrictions imposed on tenants, apart from always having to fit out your own kitchen and sometimes having to fit out the bathrooms common demands on tenants included the requirement to redecorate the property every few years (and have it inspected). Sometimes the tenant was responsible for repairs to major equipment such as the central heating system. The leases were strange, I needed a place for a year, the agent offered me the option of taking over an 8 year lease from the current tenant who had been there for 3 years and needed to go. Even with my poor German I could see that I was being asked to sign up for 5 years but I did explain I wanted 12 months. Agent said don't worry we will advertise after 10 months and someone else will take over the last 4 years ..... well it didn't work out like that! Their system, good as it is, is far from perfect and my experience of breaking an 8 year lease into smaller chunks like this makes a nonsense of long leases too.

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    The days are numbered for BTL

  • icon

    Very frustrating for the small landlord with 1-2 homes who saw this system as more reliable than investing in a pension


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