Shadow Housing Minister Calls for Tenancies of Indefinite Length

By 2 min read • March 21, 2019
A magnifying glass next to some keys

If a Labour government gets into power, the private rental sector could change dramatically. Labour wants to force landlords to switch to tenancy agreements of indefinite length, as is the case in the German rental market. The Shadow Housing Minister says this would give tenants greater security and prevent landlords from evicting tenants for no reason.

Back in 2017, one of Labour’s election pledges was to enforce three-year tenancy agreements, so this is a step up. In addition, Labour wants to reduce rent increases, effectively capping them, so tenants are protected by steep rent rises in some areas. They say many landlords use a change of tenant as an excuse to put the rent up.

Tenants Living in Fear

“People shouldn’t be living in fear of losing their homes,” says John Healy, Shadow Minister for Housing.  “The insecurity of renting is a power imbalance at the heart of our broken housing market, where tenants are afraid to report problems in case they are evicted, and families with children are forced to move at short notice.”

The system in Germany is very different from ours. German tenants typically stay in a rental property for around 11 years, which is far longer than the average tenancy of four years in the UK. German tenants can only be evicted if they cause damage/commit an offence in a property or fail to pay the rent.

The German Model

John Healy believes that switching to the German system would make it a lot better for tenants, in particular, the 1.6 million renters with children. Research has indicated that nearly 20% of tenancies end because a landlord or agent gives notice. Labour says this makes it very difficult for families with children at school, as it creates an unstable home life.

Shelter Campaigns for Tenants’ Rights

Not surprisingly, housing charity Shelter has welcomed the announcement. Shelter has been campaigning for longer tenancies, as it says too many tenants are losing their homes because of no-fault evictions.

“Private rents are already expensive, so when you add short-term contracts into the mix, the situation for renters is pretty tough. Right now, a family can be turfed out for no reason at any time, and saddled with not only the cost of moving but the huge burden of uprooting their lives.”

Shelter wants the government to introduce longer tenancies so tenants can enjoy greater stability and security.

Was this post useful?
Thanks so much for your feedback!
Got it!
Thanks for your feedback.
Share with friends:
Popular articles

Get the best of Landlord Insider
delivered to your inbox fortnightly

Sign up and we’ll send you our latest posts, tax tips, legal tips, software tips and compliance deadlines, everything you need to know every two weeks. Unsubscribe any time.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.