The government consultation process which fuelled its decision to axe Section 21 eviction powers and move towards longer tenancies received only 129 responses from letting agents.
This constituted just 5.0 per cent of the total number of responses: 62 per cent of responses were from landlords, 19 per cent from tenants, and 15 per cent from other organisations or individuals.
A total of 2,668 responses were received, along with a survey organised by campaigning charity Shelter which provided 6,038 responses.
The consultation - launched on July 2 last year and running until August 28 - has formed part of the grounds for the proposal to scrap S21, amend S8 and the broad pledge to make the court system faster for landlords seeking repossession.
“The consultation showed a number of people renting from private landlords have been left feeling insecure by short fixed-term tenancies, unable to plan for the future or call where they live a home” according to the government response.
However “the consultation also showed there was no consensus around mandating a certain tenancy length. Tenants favoured different lengths of tenancy depending on their circumstances and landlords preferred the status quo” it continues.
The government’s response document is a hefty 55 pages but makes for fascinating reading: Some highlights from the responses show:
- “Most tenants (79%) who responded to the consultation had not been offered longer tenancies by their landlords, but 81% would accept one if it was. Tenants recognised the benefits that longer tenancies could bring, identifying improved security as the biggest benefit – a view that was also acknowledged by landlords. Tenants added that longer tenancies would improve their general wellbeing and welfare, and would help them to feel part of their local communities”;
- “Three-quarters of landlords told us that they had not offered longer tenancies. Landlords said that tenants either preferred the flexibility of shorter tenancies or that tenants had not asked for them”;
- “Only 12% of all respondents to our survey choose the three years we proposed as their preferred tenancy length. Tenants favoured a longer period (41% of tenants preferred either three or five-year terms), and just under a quarter preferred unlimited tenancies. More tenants preferred ‘5 years’ or ‘no limit set’ than a three-year tenancy. In contrast, over two thirds of landlords supported the current regime of shorter 6-12 months tenancies”;
- “It is clear that a ‘one size’ approach to tenancy length will not meet the needs of the range of households and different types of landlord operating in the market today”;
- “Landlords told us that the main barrier to offering longer tenancies was the difficulty in gaining possession of a property through the court system (74%). 47% said they had experienced difficulties. It should be noted, however, that just over half of the landlords who responded to our survey said they had experienced no difficulties repossessing a property through the courts”;
- “Removing no-fault evictions is a significant step. This announcement is the start of a longer process to introduce these reforms. We want to build a consensus on a package of reforms to improve security for tenants while providing landlords with the confidence that they have the tools they need”;
- “We will launch a consultation on the details of a better system that will work for landlords and tenants. The Government will collaborate with and listen to landlords, tenants and others in the private rented sector to develop a new deal for renting. Ministers will also work with other types of housing providers outside of the private rented sector who use these powers and use the consultation to make sure the new system works effectively.”
You can see the entire document here.