Labour’s proposal to introduce indefinite tenancies along the lines in a bid to emulate the German model reveals the party’s “fundamental misunderstanding” of the rental sector, says a leading trade body.
Earlier this week we reported that Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey wanted to commit the party to “revolutionise” the private rental sector with indefinite tenancies which he said would offer more security for tenants and deter rent increases.
However the National Landlords Association has mocked the proposal, saying there are regulations in place to provide renters with secure tenancies.
"Labour's proposal of adopting a German-style approach to private renting shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the market” explains Meera Chindooroy, policy and public affairs manager of the NLA.
“Not only have rents increased dramatically across Germany over the past 10 years, the nature of renting is wholly different. Almost all properties are let unfurnished and tenants are usually responsible for installing basic amenities, such as kitchens, meaning a much longer term investment of their own money” she adds.
"We agree that the process for landlords to regain possession where there is a fault of the tenant is in urgent need of reform.
“However, the English Housing Survey 2018 shows that 90 percent of renters who have moved in the past three years have chosen to do so.
“Removing flexibility from the private rented sector would have a detrimental impact on the economy as tenants are no longer able to seek out opportunities where they arise."
Healey, in a Guardian article last weekend, contended that most renters in Germany were offered indefinite tenancies with landlords able to reclaim possession only under specific circumstances, such as rent arrears of three months or more, antisocial behaviour, or if the landlord wants to use the property for themselves or a relative to live in.
He said rent increases were also controlled within the tenancy with German renters given three months’ notice if they had to leave.
“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” said Healey.
“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.”