The number of middle-age renters has doubled as more people are struggling to meet the demands of a large deposit in order to secure a mortgage.
Figures currently show that 80% of tenants have contracts of only six or twelve months which means they have the added worry of whether they will be allowed to stay in their current property.
Longer tenancies have been proposed by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary, James Brokenshire, which he believes would put an end to the practice of landlords forcing tenants out at short notice and would be an important step forward for tenants.
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.”
However, the Labour party argues that the plans are not enough and rent rises should be capped across England. The National Landlords Association (NLA) describes the proposals as a ‘political vote-grabbing move’ and claim that only four out of ten tenants actually want longer contracts.
Polly Neate, Chief Executive of the housing charity, Shelter, described loss of tenancy as ‘the main driver of homelessness’. She has called for the government to extend the minimum tenancy contract to beyond three years.
If the plan goes ahead, tenants would still be able to leave the tenancy earlier. Landlords would also have more financial security, although some are not happy that they would have to agree to a minimum of three year contracts. as the assured shorthold tenancy is the bedrock of the buy to let industry.
This debate is likely to rumble on until the end of August but there could be some exemptions for those in student accommodation.
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