Government proposes minimum-term tenancies for renters

A new proposal being introduced to parliament will have rental contracts offered with a minimum term of three years, if passed.

Introduced by housing secretary James Brokenshire, the plan is a way to offer tenants greater security in a market where less and less have the ability to buy.

Special concern is being paid to families, who often find greater difficulties as a result of having to move often.

“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,” said Brokenshire.

“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.”

Figures show that in England and Wales, 80% of tenancies are either six or 12 month contracts, although the average period spent in a rental is four years.

The proposal would make it difficult for landlords to force tenants out within the official contracted period, but would allow renters the ability to leave earlier. Landlords will still be able to increase rents once a year to keep pace with market price rises.

Polly Neate, chief executive of the charity Shelter welcomed the action, saying: “This is an important step forward. Losing a tenancy is the main driver of homelessness and also causes huge instability for renting families, so everyone who rents will be very pleased to see a move towards longer tenancies.”

Opposition MPs said it was a step in the right direction, but did not address the whole issue.

“Any fresh help for renters is welcome, but this latest promise is meaningless if landlords can still force tenants out by hiking up the rent,” said shadow housing secretary John Healey.

“Labour’s new rights for renters includes controls on rents as well as an end to no-fault evictions and protection against substandard rented homes.”

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