New 3 Year Tenancy Proposal could see London tenants losing out
You may have heard in the news last week that the government is proposing an increase to the length of minimum lettings agreements. If the change in regulation comes into effect, tenants will be able to secure a minimum 3-year tenancy term, with a 6-month break clause for tenants and landlords.
The change has been proposed by the Secretary of State for Communities, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP in a bid to provide people who rent in the private sector more stability whilst also providing landlords more financial security.
Government data suggests that tenants stay in their rented homes an average of nearly 4 years, however over 80% of rental contracts are shorthold with a minimum fixed term of 6 or 12 months. The government report states that “this can lead to tenants feeling insecure, unable to challenge poor property standards for fear of tenancies being terminated, and unable to plan for their future or contribute to their wider community.” However, from our experience with London renters, we don't think this change will suit our tenants, who actually prefer shorter tenancy terms.
Jonathan Werth, Managing Director here at LiFE (pictured below), offered his comments:
“This change could be great for landlords, but if it’s made compulsory for standard AST tenancies then tenants may lose out. London tenants are far more transient and on the most part will want the ability to leave after a year or so; at LiFE the average tenancy length of our clients is 19 months. As agents, the shortest term we offer is 6 months, but we do receive enquiries of people looking for 3 month tenancies. Equally, we’d be happy to secure longer tenancies and indeed can do it now if both parties want.”
As well as more financial stability for landlords, longer terms may help reduce vacant periods whilst searching for new tenants whilst simultaneously the break-clause can offer them the flexibility to regain their properties, should their circumstances change. However, if the legislation goes ahead there would need to be consideration into scenarios involving students and multiple occupancy properties.
The plan has been published under an 8 week consultation period, specifically looking at overcoming the barriers to landlords offering longer tenancies until August 26. It will be interesting to monitor the reaction of this suggestion and the impact it will have on the rentals market.