5 Dec

DM & Co Property Column: Are longer tenancies the answer?

DM & Co Property Column: Are longer tenancies the answer?

The average tenancy in Britain is 20 months, and the trend shows that tenancies are tending to last longer (up from 18 months just 3 years ago). The government have for a while been advocating and promoting longer tenure as part of their wider housing strategy.

Three year (or longer) assured shorthold tenancies are already enabled by legislation. Of course, tenants seek suitable and well kept living spaces, and for some these longer tenancies might offer increased stability and affordability.

Sajid Javid, Communities Secretary, has been vocal about the issue; “All landlords should be offering tenancies of at least 12 months for those who want them…. That’s why, at the autumn Budget, we will bring forward new incentives for landlords who are doing the right thing.” The Residential Landlords Association found in a recent survey that 63% of landlords would offer a tenancy of 12 months or longer if the tenant were to request it.

Mortgage conditions are currently a barrier for one in four members of the Residential Landlords Associaton, as in current agreements a maximum restriction on tenancy length can be present.

Of course, for some tenants, a shorter tenancy agreement might be preferred. Longer tenancies might reduce flexibility in the employment arena, particularly for single individuals who might need to move around relatively regularly for work reasons. One other example would be couples who are renting before purchasing a home; longer tenancies might get in the way if the right property does come up. Will the push for longer tenancy agreements mean that it is no longer possible to negotiate a shorter rental period?

Further details on the government policy should be arriving soon, with the forthcoming budget imminent. It will be interesting to see if any incentive scheme does come to fruition, but also we hope that an even-handed approach is taken so that tenants with the requirement for a shorter rental period do not lose out.

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