Three year minimum tenancies

By Alex Timperley, 04 July 2018

The government’s latest attempt to reform the UK rental market is the proposed introduction of minimum three-year-long tenancies for housing rentals in a bid to provide more stability for renters.

The three year tenancy was proposed by James Brokenshire, the Secretary of State for Communities, announced the proposals which will include a six month break clause this week. He said: “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. That’s why I am determined to act, bringing in longer tenancies which will bring benefits to tenants and landlords alike.”

Whilst there will be an exemption considered for student accommodation, the general idea to give tenants more security if they want to stay in a property in the long term seems admirable. At present the life of a renter can feel precarious, and if renting is set to be the dominant form for living for huge sections of society then it seems only fair to make the reality a bit more pleasant for the millions of tenants in the UK.

On the other hand, the reaction from landlords was, perhaps predictably, less favourable.

The main point of dispute from the National Landlords Association (NLA) centres around the idea that many tenants do not actually want longer tenancies as standard. Indeed, many younger tenants in particular actively prefer shorter tenancies as they allow for a greater degree of freedom and the ability to move around the country to discover new experiences.

So why does the NLA think this measure is being considered? The chief executive of the (NLA), Richard Lambert, argues: “This is a policy which the Conservatives derided when it was put forward by their opponents in the past two general election campaigns. It’s hard not to see this as more of a political move aimed at the renter vote than a genuine effort to improve how the rented market works for all those involved.”

Whether you agree with that or not, it seems that government has decided to at least begin looking at ways to improve the life of renters. There will be always be people who are not happy with any changes, but this seems like a potentially positive measure and it will be interesting to see how it turns out.

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