Extending the length of Notice to Quit periods in the private rented sector in Northern Ireland to up to six months could deter the offering of long-term tenancies, according to Propertymark.
The trade body says allowing the amount of notice landlords must give tenants of more than 12 months to increase to up to 26 weeks will be counterproductive to the Northern Ireland Assembly’s efforts to provide greater security of tenure for tenants.
In its response to the Assembly’s official consultation on the subject, Propertymark says a more appropriate and balanced approach for tenancies of more than 12 months is to maintain the current 12 weeks’ notice which has been in place throughout the pandemic.
It also outlines the need for appropriate exemptions for which the period can be reduced. These include in instances of anti-social or criminal behaviour, property damage and abandonment.
Under the proposals that form part of the Private Tenancies Bill, the Notice to Quit period for a tenancy of less than 12 months will be set at four weeks.
Propertymark is also urging the Northern Ireland Executive to ensure the Notice to Quit wording around the length of tenure used in the Private Tenancies Bill and in other documentation is consistent to provide clarity for letting agents and to avoid potential misinterpretation.
“While we agree Notice to Quit periods should be commensurate with tenancy duration, we do have concerns that significantly differing lengths for tenancies could have unintended, distortionary effects on security of tenure within the private rented sector” explains Daryl McIntosh, Propertymark’s policy and campaigns manager for the Devolved Nations.
“We caution against extending Notice to Quit periods on tenancies of more than 12 months’ duration too far, primarily due to the increased risks involved in a landlord recovering their property, should they need to, but also because it could disincentivise them from offering longer-term tenancies, particularly if appropriate exemptions are not put in place.
“There is a need to provide greater security of tenure but that must be carefully balanced between tenants’ and landlords’ needs, while creating a market that encourages existing landlords to remain and is attractive to new investors.
“This will help to maintain the housing supply required in the private rented sector which will have a positive impact on affordability.”