Tom Copley AM response to MHCLG consultation on longer tenancies for private tenants

August 28th, 2018

Tenancy Agreement

I have responded to the Government’s consultation on proposals to introduce longer tenancies in the Private Rented Sector.

I am pleased that there is an acknowledgement that the current system in England is not fit for purpose in the twenty-first century, given the way that household tenure has changed since the Housing Act 1988 introduced Assured Shorthold Tenancies.

In 1990, only 11% of households in London were in the private rented sector – in 2017, this had risen to 27.4%, now a greater proportion than live in the social rented sector.

Where historically, the perception of private renters is of being mostly students and individuals in their 20s, there are now significant numbers of families and older people living in private rented homes, and our model of tenancy should be updated to provide stability and security to these groups.

While I welcome the Government’s proposal to introduce a three year tenancy as standard as an important step forward, I believe they should go further. I am calling for:

  • Open-ended tenancies as standard.
  • Rents may rise once per year with any increase capped at CPI.
  • No probationary period, as it could be used by landlords as a loophole to evict tenants before they achieve security of tenure.
  • An end to no fault (“Section 21”) eviction. Landlords will still be able to evict tenants on existing Section 8 eviction grounds including: if they wish to live in the property as their principle home, if the tenant has 8 weeks or more rent arrears, if the tenancy agreement is breached, if the tenant is damaging the property and in cases where a tenant is causing anti-social behaviour.
  • Tenants may terminate the tenancy by giving two months’ notice to the landlord.

This would bring England’s private rented sector into line with countries like Scotland and Germany.

You can find my full response to the consultation questions here.