New measures are to be introduced in England to encourage family-friendly tenancies, according to Communities Secretary Eric Pickles. In a speech yesterday, Mr Pickles said that tenants will be able to request longer tenancies that provide stability for their family, avoid hidden fees when renting and demand a fair deal from landlords and letting agents.
Bien Media client, Rentify, the property and technology specialists, commented: ‘With more people both choosing and having to rent for longer, one of the problems with the letting industry has been the tendency towards short tenancies. This gives tenants very little security and can be particularly tricky if you need certainty, perhaps because you are raising children in rented accommodation, for example, and regular chopping and changing doesn’t work with nursery or school places.
‘But actually, landlords tend to prefer long-term tenants because this is far less hassle than settling in a new tenant every six or 12 months and showing them where everything is. The other danger of frequently changing tenants is void periods where the landlord is inbetween tenancies and has to cover the mortgage themselves. This can have a significant impact on profits. Tenants renting via Rentify on average stay in their properties for 20 months.
‘Landlords must be prepared to offer longer contracts of two or three years rather than 12 months, giving tenants the security of tenure many crave. Many landlords assume that a term of a year is standard but this is not the case. Even lenders are changing their tune: many have traditionally insisted that the property is let under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy for six or 12 months but The Mortgage Works (part of Nationwide Building Society) recently changed its rules so that buy-to-let borrowers can offer tenancies of up to three years. This is long overdue and we expect other lenders to follow suit.
‘We have long supported greater transparency on lettings agents’ fees but it is important that the government ensures there is redress for tenants where this is not the case.’